It’s a no-brainer- the things you indulge in can bolster- or break, your immune system. Everyone knows that the immune system is the “thing” that protects you from disease, but what exactly is the immune system?
In a nutshell, it comprises of your tonsils, adenoids, bone marrow, spleen, and lymphatic system. Together, they forge necessary responses to antigens floating around our environment, waiting for you to trip up.
So, with that in mind, don’t you think it’s important to beef up your body’s security system? Everyone should, but besides the obvious “eat good foods,” here are some other beneficial lifestyle changes you can make to power up your immunity and keep it at its best so it can protect your body.
Sleep Like A Log
The benefits of sleep are undeniable- you feel energized, recover after a hard day, and improve your health. So, it should go without saying that it is likewise able to promote regeneration of the cells involved in mediating an immune response. It is believed that cortisol and growth hormone released during sleep also helps to exert a protective effect on the organs of the immune system.
At a minimum, aim for six hours of sleep nightly. If your schedule permits, go for up to 9 hours.
This change may shock you, and help you make a few friends along the way. Research has shown that people who are more outgoing, and interact with others more frequently are less likely to develop the common cold, or other infections. The reason is interesting; as we go about our normal daily activities, we come across some amount of infection causing bacteria or viruses. Since the immune system detects the presence of the pathogen, it produces necessary antibodies to prevent infection in the event we come into close contact with someone offering a high load of the infection to us (no thanks!)
Engage In Regular Exercise
The benefits of exercise extend far beyond your physical health, as research has demonstrated that exercise can actually decreases the likelihood of you picking up infections, especially those involving the respiratory tract. In fact, it is even advised to exercise when all you have is a “head cold” or symptoms that present above the shoulders. You are likely to recover faster when you do.
Opt For Lots Of Brightly Colored Fruits And Vegetables
Did you listen when your mama told you to eat your broccoli? No? Neither did many of us! However, it’s not too late to start now. Brightly colored veggies and fruits are likely to have the highest antioxidant density, essential for scooping up free radicals floating around the body. Since part of the immune system’s function is to neutralize the effect of these free radicals, you can help by eating antioxidant rich foods. This is one of the primary reasons that people who eat large portions of fruit and vegetables experience fewer infections in general.
Maintain A Positive Outlook
Does depression and illness go hand in hand? Apparently, yes, since researchers were able to determine that people with an overall pessimistic view of life and the world are more likely to pick up infections, as opposed to people who are positive and take the world by the horns. Laugher is still the best (or one of) medicine after all.
Use Antibiotics Only When Absolutely Necessary
Did you know that over 25% of prescriptions for antibiotics written in the United States were unnecessary? Yes, this worrying trend is as a result of doctors prescribing powerful drugs, based on “empirical” date (or an educated hunch). While it is a good way to save time (and patients money in many cases), sometimes infections resemble each other so much, that the wrong medication inadvertently gets prescribed. The result? Frequent yo-yo of the immune system; suppression of the good, beneficial bacteria our bodies need, and worse of all- bacterial resistance developing.
In the end, it just leaves our immune system vulnerable and unable to efficiently defend us from invasion.