Most of us probably know at least one person who rarely gets sick. You’ll hear them feeling under the weather once in a while, but overall, they’re as healthy as a horse. What sets them apart from us mere mortals? Two words: immune system. But hey—good thing there are easy steps we can take to give our own immunity a boost. And while there are a ton of ways to do that, we’ve narrowed today’s list down to four basic things that will give you the best headstart there is!
1.Get enough quality sleep.
According to studies, sleep and immunity are correlated and affect one another—consistent and quality sleep can help strengthen the immune system by allowing effective and balanced function. In short, proper sleep provides the immune system with the support it needs so that it can do its job: defending the body from infection and disease.
Did you know that chronic inflammation can affect the immune system by slowing it down? Thankfully, regular exercise reduces inflammation, according to a study, which can ultimately help the immune system function better. Exercise is also linked to the following: a reduction in stress hormones (with chronic stress having a significant effect on immunity by manifesting as an illness), and stronger antibodies that aid in fighting off infection.
- Eat right.
According to Harvard, there are no specific foods that can “prepare the body for microbial attacks and excess inflammation”,—but certain ‘dietary patterns’ may better prepare the body’s immune response to illnesses. And because our immune system relies on different micronutrients to function properly, it’s important to eat healthy and nutritious meals based on our individual needs. Some examples of nutrients that were found to be critical for both the growth and function of immune cells include the following: vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, selenium, iron, and protein.
- Minimize stress.
The stress hormone, called corticosteroid, can lower the number of lymphocytes in our body—that is, one of the main types of immune cells that help protect us from illnesses. This can make our immune system less effective, reducing our ability to fight off antigens and making us more prone to infections. Therefore, it’s important to find ways to manage stress. It can be through meditation, deep breathing, exercise (yes! Exercise again), and even counselling if it’s needed.
It’s worth noting that having a strong immune system can’t be achieved overnight. It’s all about dedication and consistency and a willingness to make the lifestyle change needed to become a better, healthier you. You can start slowly, taking small steps as you go, but the important thing here is to begin. Get into these good habits now and experience less instances of sickness for yourself!