Your immune system is, arguably, one of the most important parts of your body with one of the most important functions in your body. To keep it short, your immune system is basically like your body’s defense team. It will recognize all the cells that make up your body, and when it detects something unfamiliar, it will instantly attack it. Your immune system will attack and destroy any germ, bacteria, or virus that tries to enter your system. If your immune system is healthy and strong, it means your body will be attacking anything foreign that could be a potential threat more efficiently.
A strong immune system means you’ll be getting sick less. When you do get sick, a healthy immune system will have the capacity to kill the virus, or whatever is causing the illness, in the shortest amount of time possible. A weak immune system, however, will do the exact opposite. Because it is weak, fragile, and generally unhealthy, it won’t have the capacity to be able to recognize anything foreign that is entering your body as quickly. Therefore, it will be able to enter your system and you would end up sick in bed because of it. When you are sick, your weak immune system would struggle a lot with killing the virus, bacteria, or whatever entered your body. This means you would be sick in bed for a longer time, and your body would feel much worse.
Luckily, there are several ways to make your immune system stronger and healthier, so you can decrease the amount of times you get sick each year and decrease the length of days that you are sick.
GET RID OF SELF-DESTRUCTIVE HABITS
Are you a smoker? Do you pull all-nighters every week, practice little to no hygienic activities, and have poor dietary habits? If you said yes to any of these, don’t be mad about all the times you’ve caught a cold this year, or if you’ve been stuck at home with the flu for a week too long. Cigarette smoke contains a severely high level of tar as well as other destructive chemicals. These chemicals will negatively affect your immune system by weakening it. Your weak immune system will mean you are now more susceptible to autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
When you’re asleep, your immune system starts to release special proteins called cytokines. These special cytokines actually promote healthy sleeping habits. When you have any type of infection, inflammation, or are even under stress, these cytokines need to be able to increase. When you deprive yourself of sleep by pulling all-nighters or staying up late when you have to be up, your immune system doesn’t have the time to produce and release these cytokines, meaning your system won’t be receiving the benefits.
By the end of the day, millions of germs, bacteria, and more end up on our bodies trying to get into our system. This is very overwhelming for your immune system, and even the healthiest immune system can’t fight back all of those germs, bacterias, viruses, and more. By practicing personal hygiene more often, like brushing your teeth, washing your hands, taking frequent showers, and more, you can help wash away those germs so your immune system can work more efficiently, be less overwhelmed, and have the capability to kill more germs that could affect you.
What foods you decide to feed to your body can have a big effect on what your immune system does, and how quickly or slowly it works. Junk foods like chips, chocolate bars, and other packaged goods cause our guts to be unhealthy and inflammation in our body. This causes our immune system not to function as it should. Eating too many sugary foods will cause the cells of your immune system to physically curb. This will cause somewhat of a delay and difficulty in killing bacteria. The same will happen when you drink beverages with a lot of sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup. However, fruits and vegetables contain a lot of nutrients and vitamins, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and zinc. These nutrients will be very beneficial for your immune system and able it to be more functional.
MAINTAIN A HEALTHY DIET
This was somewhat implied by the last paragraph, but it really is the best way to boost your immune system and help it reach its maximum potential. Eating foods that are rich in vitamins and nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, minerals such as zinc and selenium, and omega 3 fatty acids will be your immune system’s best friend. Several whole grain foods have multiple of these nutrients. A couple examples of the whole grain foods that have these nutrients and vitamins would be legumes, nuts, seeds, fresh vegetables and fresh fruits, and several other superfoods like bee pollen, reishi mushrooms, and more. You should try your best to avoid foods such as french fries and other fried foods, processed meats, soft drinks, processed baked goods, and anything with any type of artificial sweeteners and/or refined sugars.
Vitamin C will always help strengthen our immune system, as well as keep our body healthy. You can get the most vitamin C from eating fresh fruits and vegetables. Examples of foods with vitamin C are berries, oranges (or any foods that contain citrus), bell peppers, kiwis, and vegetables that are dark green.
Most, if not all, herbs and spices contain multiple components that will help boost our immune system. Onions, turmeric, curry, cayenne pepper, garlic, ginger, and black peppercorn will make your food taste great and will give you several more benefits. Drinking water will always be beneficial. Water flushes out close to all the toxins in your body and generally keeps your body cleaner and healthier, making sure everything is functional. Water also helps when producing lymph, which carries white blood cells as well as other cells that contribute to your immune system.