How To Maintain A Strong Immune System
Replacing bad health habits with good ones can help you maintain a strong immune system so that you can fight off viruses and illnesses.
Last week I wrote a post which was all about some of the healthiest foods that you should try to eat, which help boost our immune systems.
This week we will have a look at some other factors that influence the functionality of our immune systems.
Table of contents
In this post, we will be taking a look at a couple of things that will help make sure you have a strong immune system.
We will discuss the following factors:
Useful Tips To Ensure A Strong Immune System:
Good nutrition is essential to a strong immune system, which may offer protection from seasonal illness and other health problems.
No one food or supplement can prevent illness but you may help support your immune system by including these nutrients in your overall eating plan on a regular basis.
Protein plays a role in the body’s immune system, especially for healing and recovery. Eat a variety of vegan-friendly protein foods including beans and peas, soy products and unsalted nuts and seeds.
Vitamin A helps regulate the immune system and protect against infections by keeping skin and tissues in the mouth, stomach, intestines and respiratory system healthy. Get this vitamin from foods such as sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, spinach, red bell peppers, apricots, or foods labeled “vitamin A fortified,” such as some cereals.
Vitamin C supports the immune system by stimulating the formation of antibodies. Include more sources of this healthy vitamin by choosing citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit and tangerines, or red bell pepper, papaya, strawberries, tomato juice or foods fortified with vitamin C, such as some cereals.
See this post that I did on the best sources of Vitamin C for vegans.
Vitamin E works as an antioxidant and may support immune function. Include vitamin E in your diet with fortified cereals, sunflower seeds, almonds, vegetable oils (such as sunflower or safflower oil), hazelnuts and peanut butter
Zinc helps the immune system work properly and may help wounds heal. Zinc can be found in whole grain products, beans, seeds and nuts.
See this post that I did where I discussed the best sources of Zinc for people following the vegan lifestyle.
Other nutrients, including vitamin B6, B12, copper, folate, selenium and iron also may support immune response and play a role in a healthful eating style.
Sleep is essential to our health. It strongly influences our capacity to recover both mentally and physically, allows us to store memories, influences our mood, and promotes “the growing” in children.
It basically impacts every aspect of our life by affecting the way we think, learn, behave, feel, and interact with others… therefore it directly influences whether or not we have a strong immune system.
Studies show that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as a common cold virus.
Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.
During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep.
Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation, or when you’re under stress. Sleep deprivation may decrease the production of these protective cytokines.
In addition, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don’t get enough sleep.
So, your body needs sleep to fight infectious diseases. Long-term lack of sleep also increases your risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease.
The optimal amount of sleep for most adults is seven to eight hours of good sleep each night.
Teenagers need nine to 10 hours of sleep. School-aged children may need 10 or more hours of sleep.
Activities that will help you to sleep well:
- Hot baths
- Avoid watching TV or working on your laptop when it is almost sleep time
- Move your electronics away from your body. EMP’s (electro magnetic pulses) from our electrical devices are believed to negatively impact our sleep
- Avoid eating before bedtime. It is believed that we sleep much better when our stomachs are relatively empty
- Listen to calming music before turning the lights off
- Exercise during the day
- Try to avoid getting too hot or too cold during the night
- Reduce noise to as little as possible
- Try to achieve absolute darkness- or as close to dark as possible
3) Exercise Promotes A Strong Immune System
Exercise doesn’t just help you live longer, it helps you live better — and the benefits extend further than you might think. A new piece of research published in Aging Cell looked at cyclists ranging from 55–79 years old and assessed their immune function.
Dr. Janet Lord, the Director of the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing at the University of Birmingham, has been focusing on exercise and its impacts on immunity for years and says the best thing we can do to stay healthy longer is exercise.
Studies show that if you exercise as you get older, your muscles will stay strong and intact longer, while your blood pressure may avoid the uptick often associated with aging.
But even more, your immune system receives a serious boost from regular exercise, making your ability to fight infection and disease at the age of 80 the same as someone half, or even a quarter, of your age.
During the corona virus lockdown, you can do many different exercises in the comfort of your own home without any equipment.
These exercises include:
- Push-ups: Perfect form is essential when doing a push-up. Start with a variation you can complete with good technique. Progress to the next level when you can do 10 to 12 reps without dropping you back, stopping short, or shaking unsteadily.
- Lunges: Start by doing a set of simple back lunges, which help build your buttocks and thighs. Use a wall or chair for balance if needed. When you are able to do 10 to 12 lunges on each leg without support, try the front lunge or another variation.
- Squats: The squat works the major muscles in your lower body and helps to shape firm buttocks and thighs. Always perform a squat with your feet hip-distance apart. Your hips should sink behind you as if you are sitting in a chair.
- Planks: A plank exercise strengthens the abdominal muscles and those that support your back. Begin by holding the plank position for 15 seconds. As you get stronger, progress to 30 seconds and eventually 90 seconds.
“Mind over matter” is not simply a catchphrase. It is a truth based on what we know to be fact: that the brain, given the right set of directions, the right environment, and the proper stimuli, will always choose healing over disease.
The ability to fend off illness and disease depends on several factors, some of which are beyond our control, but the way we react to stress and the general health of our immune system are things we can influence.
If we’re not able to change our response to stressors, we’ll find ourselves in a constant hormonal battle that will lead to serious health issues like hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease.
The brain and the immune system are in constant communication in this delicate balance that can be disrupted by any kind of physical or emotional stress.
Ongoing stress makes us susceptible to illness and disease because the brain sends defense signals to the endocrine system, which then releases an array of hormones that not only gets us ready for emergency situations but severely depresses our immunity at the same time.
Some experts claim that stress is responsible for as much as 90% of all illnesses and diseases, including cancer and heart disease.
The way it does this is by triggering chemical reactions and flooding the body with cortisol that, among other things, decreases inflammation, decreases white blood cells and NK cells (special cells that kill cancer), increases tumor development and growth, and increases the rate of infection and tissue damage.
How To Combat Stress:
I’m pretty certain that no matter what TV channel you watch at the moment, you will be exposed to some sort of “corona news”.
If you turn on the radio you’ll most certainly hear what the latest figures are for the virus and how many deaths have occurred worldwide.
Open up Facebook or Twitter and once again, you’ll be bombarded by news and posts on this damn corona virus.
This constant stress and fear towards the virus are going to have a massive effect on our immune systems.
Here are a few things you can do to combat your stress levels so that you can make sure you have a strong immune system:
- Keep a positive attitude. There is plenty of chaos in the world at the moment, but if you and your family are healthy and safe, then that is the topic that you should be focusing your energy and thoughts on. Be grateful that you are safely in your home and all your loved ones are also safe in their homes.
- Spend as little time as possible on social media platforms and if you feel the need to visit your favourite social platform, then skip straight past any post that has anything to do with the corona virus.
- Learn and practice relaxation techniques; try meditation, yoga, or tai-chi for stress management.
- Exercise regularly. Your body can fight stress better when it is fit.
- Eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
- Try do productive things at home during the 21-day lockdown… this is the perfect time to work on your garden, paint that wall that you have been neglecting for the last few years, sort out the mess in your garage, clean your car, sort out your tax, plan your next holiday. All these activities will help in releasing the happy hormone “endorphins” which will assist in combatting stress.
- Make time for hobbies, interests, and relaxation.
- Get enough rest and sleep. Your body needs time to recover from stressful events.
- Don’t rely on alcohol, drugs, or compulsive behaviors to reduce stress.
- Seek out social support. Spend enough time with those you enjoy.
- Listen to music on Youtube which helps relieve stress.
- Take long baths, burn a few candles and just relax.
Take a look at how social media affects your stress levels:
5) A few other tips:
* Using harmful hand-sanitizers throughout your day is actually NOT healthy. If you want to read a bit more information on this, please follow this link.
Our entire body, as well as our hands are covered with billions of various bacterias, of which some are ESSENTIAL for us when it comes to fighting off unwanted viruses and bacteria. When we use a hand-sanitizer, we destroy both the good and bad bacteria.
So, when you have a choice between using a hand-sanitizer or soap, always choose soap!
Sunlight can also help build up a strong immune system.
Read this post for more information.
LIVE UPDATE OF THE CORONA VIRUS FIGURES WORLDWIDE.
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Check this post out to learn the healthiest foods that you should eat to boost your immune system.
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