Nothing is more valuable than your health, so it makes sense to protect it. A strong immune system is the biggest tool for prevention, and there are some steps you can take to increase your immunity.
Sleep is the time when your body repairs cells and produces infection-fighting antibodies that help defend against viruses such as the common cold. When you get less than the recommended eight hours of sleep each night, your body has fewer T-cells that protect against infection. Furthermore, your cytokine protein levels will rise, significantly increasing your risk of becoming sick.
When it comes to sleep, remember that both quantity and quality matter. Your body and it immune system respond best to uninterrupted sleep in a dark room. Light and sleep interruptions can influence the production of melatonin in your body, which has been associated with diminished immunity. To ensure a restful night, keep your bedroom as dark as possible and avoid turning on lights if you wake up during the night.
Stress is the sneaky culprit behind many illnesses, facilitating disease
by weakening the immune system. Though occasional stress is normal, chronic
stress can be detrimental to your health. Not only does it lower the number
of T-cells responsible for regulating your immune system, but it also leads
to secondary behaviors, such as overeating and lack of sleep, that are known
to lower immunity.
Next time you are feeling stress or anxiety, try engaging in an activity that makes you feel good, whether it’s journaling, meditation, reading, or simply spending time with friends. Often, these are the things that take the lowest priority in life, when they should really be activities you engage in on a regular basis.
Exercise – you either love it or hate it. But like it or not, your body
craves it. Regular physical activity can affect your health for the better,
boosting your body’s immunity and T-cells. People who exercise frequently
have lower stress levels and tend to sleep better, not to mention the
increased circulation allows antibodies to pass through the body more
Whether you lead a sedentary lifestyle or you are moderately active, there are ways of increasing your physical activity without ‘over-doing it’. Consider taking brisk walks each evening around your neighborhood or bicycling on the weekends. If you are a member of a gym, make it a habit to go at least 3 or 4 times a week, changing up your routine with an aerobics or strength training class. Don’t just fit it into your schedule – schedule your calendar around exercise.
It’s no secret that a poor diet is the root cause of many illnesses and disease. But in the same way poor eating habits weaken the immune system, healthy eating habits can improve it. A plant-based diet high in antioxidants helps enforce a strong immune system and minimize the effects of free radical damage to the body.
For the most complete nutritional benefits, include a wide variety of fruits and vegetables into your diet rather than sticking to just a few out of a habit. There are different types of antioxidants found in each food, each of which offers different benefits. By including variety in your diet, you empower your immune system to fight damage and disease as easily as possible. Examples of antioxidants in foods include carotenoids found in orange, yellow, red and dark green vegetables and fruits, as well as glutathione found in green foods like avocados and asparagus.
5. Vitamin D
If you continue to get sick despite eating well, exercising, getting
plenty of sleep and minimizing your stress, you may be low in vitamin D.
This vitamin is essential for a strong immune system, as well as bone health
and muscle strength. Fortunately, getting vitamin D costs nothing, as it is
manufactured naturally within the body when you are exposed to sunlight.
Spending just 15 minutes outside each day with some exposed skin can provide
adequate vitamin D levels, though you can also derive it from food sources
like eggs and codliver oil.
For more information, feel free to contact OC Urgent Care.