The immune system plays such a pivotal role in our day to day health - helping to fight off bacteria and viruses to keep us feeling our best. Though sometimes, it just needs a bit of a helping hand. Luckily for us, there are plenty of ways to strengthen the immune system, ranging from the essential immune-boosting foods to the power of a good night’s sleep
Are you wondering how to improve your immune system? Here are 5 simple ways you can boost your immunity - but first, let’s figure out how this system actually works.
How does the Immune System work?
When it comes to fighting off viruses and infections, your immune system is forever on the front-line.
The immune system is made up of a complex range of proteins, organs, and cells that swiftly jump into action when a virus or bacteria makes a breach. The proteins stop these unfamiliar substances that don’t belong to defend our bodies from harm.
The white blood cells keep track of every germ it’s ever encountered - allowing our body to quickly respond with an attack if they reappear again. When a virus is detected, antibodies are produced, binding with the intruders to summon T cells and an assortment of other proteins to destroy them.
How To Improve Your Immune System
Foods are packed with an impressive assortment of virus-busting nutrients that can help kick our immunity up a notch - you just need to know which foods can help out.
When we think of ways to improve our immune system, visions of citrus fruits and vitamin C tend to come to mind. It’s because the nutrient can encourage the production of antibodies and the function of white blood cells. Basically, it helps keep our immune system working the way it should.
So, which foods can you get your natural supply of vitamin C from? As we previously mentioned, you can’t go wrong with citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and kiwi fruit. Otherwise, broccoli, berries, spinach, bell peppers, kale, and tomatoes are all fantastic sources of vitamin C.
The immune system doesn’t only rely on vitamin C, with other essential nutrients like iron, zinc, selenium, vitamin D, and vitamin E all playing an important role.
If you’re looking for easy ways to add more immune-boosting foods into your diet, this Immunity Punch is great. The blend is loaded with vitamin C and contains orange, lemon, ginger, turmeric, chilli, oregano oil.
Get Plenty Of Rest
A good night’s sleep can do wonders for your wellbeing in more ways than one, extending from mental health to heart health - and your immune system is no exception.
By getting regular, quality sleep, we enhance our immune system’s T cells - which are responsible for combating viruses in the body. As a result, we can improve our body’s ability to fight off disease.
Aim for around 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night and take advantage of the platter of health benefits associated.
Stress can wreak havoc on the body, triggering headaches, skin conditions, heart issues, and more - though did you know it can also have an impact on our immune system?
When we’re feeling frazzled, our body releases the stress hormone, cortisol - which can poorly impact our immune function. As a result, our immunity is weakened and we become more prone to viruses and infection.
Taking the time to relax and unwind can be wonderful for our wellbeing. If you’re looking for ways to reduce stress, try drinking less coffee, getting more sleep, or going for a run.
Wash Your Hands
Do your immune system a favour by stopping bacteria before it even enters the body.
Before eating, after going to the bathroom, or after patting the pups, be sure to properly wash your hands to avoid spreading germs.
Use soap and running water and lather the hands all over - including the palms, under the nails, between your fingers, and the back of your hand. Don’t rush through the process with a quick rinse - take at least 20 seconds to do the job right. Afterward, cleanse your hands under the water and dry them on a clean towel.
When you don’t have access to soap and water, try using hand sanitiser. It’s a convenient, on the go option.
*This article can be applied to those with no healthcare issues. Before making any significant adjustments to your lifestyle or diet, speak with your healthcare professional.
Words - Nicholas Hastie
Nicolas is a digital content creator based in Brisbane, having completed his Bachelor of Health Science at the University of Queensland - majoring in nutrition.