The Best Defense is a Good Offense
It is often said that one of the most effective ways to prevent illness and disease is to improve the immune system. But for many, enhancing the immune system may seem a complicated or daunting task. The truth is, there are dozens of simple things you’re already doing every day that, if you choose, can be adapted to help optimize conditions for your immune system. In this article, I will introduce just 5 basic tips you can use to give your immune system the environment it needs in order to thrive.
#1 Get Sufficient Sleep
When you sleep, you offer your body a chance to recharge and recover from fatigue, but what you might not know is that this is also the time that the your immune system becomes the most active. During the day, when you’re active and awake, your sympathetic nervous system is working its hardest, but when you finally shut down and go to sleep, your parasympathetic nervous system takes over. When this happens, your body begins to produce leukocytes, which are the cells responsible for protecting your body from harm. Leukocytes are produced inside your bone marrow, which is located in the center of large bones, and studies have shown that the production of these cells is highest when your body is lying down, rather than standing up. It is highly recommended that you get sufficient sleep at night in order to promote your body’s resilience.
#2 Exercise Regularly
Exercise plays an important role in immune system enhancement. Among other benefits, regular exercise increases strength, promotes metabolism through blood circulation, and improves your overall physical condition. While intense exercise can actually have the opposite effect, putting too much strain on the body, regular mild to moderate exercise, such as stretching or deep breathing, can be an effective way to boost your immunity.
In addition, studies have shown that NK cells can be activated by moderate exercise. Natural killer (NK) cells, are a type of leukocyte responsible for fighting pathogens that enter the body. Besides, exercises not only enhance your strength. There are natural killer (NK) cells, one of the cells which will fight against pathogens coming inside of your bod. NK cells are also a type of leukocytes and it is shown that NK cells can be activated by moderate exercises. Naturally, activated NK cells will become stronger to fight against pathogens. In addition, it is known that just laughing can also activate NK cells.
#3 Keep your body warm
A decrease in body temperature, even just by 1.8 degrees, may reduce your immunity by as much as 30-35%. In contrast, an increase in body temperature can promote blood circulation, which stimulates metabolism and promotes production of leukocytes. The more leukocytes you produce, the easier it is for your body to attack pathogens and prevent diseases. It’s important to understand that when pathogens enter the body, they begin to replicate and colonize. When the body fails to halt this process, it can result in illness or disease. Keeping your body warm is essential to the production of leukocytes, which can help eliminate pathogens early before they have time to replicate.
#4 Limit your use of antibiotics
While antibiotics have proven to be an effective weapon against bacterial infections, one small downside is that they can also deteriorate your immune system. Prolonged use of antibiotics will not only eliminate harmful bacteria, but also the good bacteria which play an important role in the health of your immune system. Good bacteria work to help metabolize vitamins and nutrients, prevent bad bacteria from taking hold, and modulate immune response. So a decrease in good bacteria can result in lowered immunity. Thus, it is important to only take antibiotics when they have been deemed necessary by your physician, and to always follow your physician’s instructions in regards to the dosage and duration for treatment.
#5 Eat foods rich in vitamins and nutrients
We all know that eating a well-balanced diet is important. But if you want to optimize your immunity, it’s also important to eat foods that have the right nutrients to give your immune system a boost. Apples, for example, are rich in vitamins, minerals, and water content. But more specifically, apples contains polyphenol, which plays an important role in the activation of leukocytes. Similarly the enzymes found in apples are thought to help mitigate inflammation. There are hundreds of other foods that contain nutrients specifically integral to the immune system, and it’s easy to incorporate these into your snack and mealtimes.