A strong immune system is critical for good health. It is your best defense against infections and illnesses. Your immune system works to stop germs and remove viruses, bacteria, and toxins that do not belong in your body. We need to make sure our lifestyle choices support our immune system. Living a healthy lifestyle is the first step to having a strong immune system.
There are habits you can incorporate into your lifestyle that will boost your immune system. These habits will also offer health benefits in other areas. First, get enough sleep. I know some people like to think they can function on little sleep. They talk about drinking Red Bull or some other energy drink to keep going; however, this is not healthy. Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each day. Lack of sleep will make you susceptible to viruses or germs. Without enough sleep your body has a difficult time producing antibodies that help protect against illness. Also, during sleep your body releases certain proteins called cytokines that help the immune system. According to the American Cancer Society, “cytokines are small proteins that are crucial in controlling the growth and activity of other immune system cells and blood cells. When released, they signal the immune system to do its job. Cytokines affect the growth of all blood cells and other cells that help the body’s immune and inflammation responses. They also help to boost anti-cancer activity by sending signals that can help make abnormal cells die and normal cells live longer.”
Nutrition also plays an important role in enhancing your immune system. We have heard for years that consuming foods high in vitamin C helps our immune system. This is true; however, consuming foods with vitamin C is not the only way to boost your immune system. Consuming green vegetables helps the immune system because they provide important nutrients that support the immune function. You should aim for five to nine servings of vegetables and fruit each day. Avoid overindulging in sugar. Studies show that consuming a lot of sugar can hinder the immune system. Studies also show that consuming excess salt can hinder the immune system. Make sure you consume enough fiber. The recommended amount is 25 grams per day for women and 38 grams for men. Fiber is important for good digestive health which in turn helps your immune system.
Include regular exercise in your health routine to help support your immune system. According to an article in Medline Plus, “exercise causes change in antibodies and white blood cells (WBC). WBCs are the body’s immune system cells that fight disease.”
You can make healthy choices to help your immune system operate at an optimal level. Create a plan that works for you.
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