Ways to boost your immune system
Boosting your immune system is a great way to maintain overall health and prepare your body to fight off infections.
Here are a few ways to boost your immune system with a few lifestyle changes:
Food & Vitamins
Taking in a good variety of vitamins is essential for overall good health and improved immunity, here are a few essential elements to include in your diet:
Vitamin C – A powerful antioxidant which promoted the growth and activity of immune cells that can attack bad bacteria. Add some of these foods to your diet to absorb vitamin C: kiwi, oranges, strawberries, sweet potato, grapefruit, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, red peppers and tomatoes.
Zinc – Encourages the growth of cells which allow your immune system to adapt. Eat some nuts and seed, beef, pork, beans, chickpeas and lentils to reap the benefits of zinc.
Vitamin A – Helps your body keep your immune system balanced. Can be found in food such as broccoli, sweet potato, carrots and red peppers.
Protein – Aids in the repair and growth of bodily tissues which includes those that support the immune system. Enjoy lean meat, milk, eggs, chickpeas, beans and lentils to increase your protein intake.
Prebiotics and probiotics – Probiotics contain live microorganisms considered good bacteria that grow in your gut which in turn can prevent bad bacteria growing. You can consume probiotics through fermented foods such as yoghurt, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha and tempeh.
Prebiotics help good bacteria grow, this can be eaten through bananas, asparagus, onions, leeks and garlic.
Water – When the body is fighting off an infection it uses more water than usual. Drinking plenty of water can aid your body in flushing out bad bacteria.
Cortisol is produced when stress levels are high and too much of this hormone can be harmful to the immune system. Managing stress levels and not turning to unhealthy habits such as poor diet, alcohol and a lack of sleep is key in keep your immune system in good shape. Turn to exercise, yoga, meditation, hobbies and talking to others during stressful periods.
Exercise increases the depth and rate of breathing which can help flush harmful bacteria from your lungs. It also aids in stress relief which prevents the harm stress can do to the immune system. A simple daily walk can help reap these benefits.
Sleep creates a protein called cytokines which help fight off infection and inflammation. Try to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night to support the production of these proteins.