During a time when our health is taking centre stage, the importance of boosting our immune system has never seemed more relevant. Having a healthy immune system can help defend your body against sickness and disease, and while this can be easier said than done, there are several ways you can bolster your body’s natural defences. Here are 10 ways to help boost your immune system…
1. Eat a healthy, balanced diet
Making changes to your diet is one of the easiest and most effective ways to boost your immune system. We’ve identified three changes that, according to research, are the most helpful for protecting our bodies. Incorporate more whole plant foods into your diet According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the single best thing you can focus on to improve your immune system is incorporating more whole plant foods like fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds into your diet. These foods are rich in antioxidants and can help decrease inflammation in your body. Chronic inflammation can suppress your immune system and is associated with numerous health conditions like heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.
What’s more, whole plant foods contain nutrients that can help ward off harmful pathogens. Fruits and vegetables contain lots of vitamin C, which can help us get over a common cold much faster, and studies suggest that being deficient in vitamin C can actively increase the likelihood of infection. Because our bodies don’t produce vitamin C, we have to get it from our diet. Foods like citrus fruits, kiwis, cauliflower, broccoli, and brussels sprouts are all great sources. To find out more about this important vitamin and how you can incorporate more of it into your diet, why not check out our article; Everything you need to know about vitamin C? If that weren’t enough reason to reach for the fruit bowl, the fibre in plant foods feeds the healthy bacteria that lives in your gut. Having a healthy gut can improve your immunity and lower your susceptibility to illness. Make sure you’re getting enough healthy fats and protein It’s also important to eat enough healthy fats (such as omega-3 fatty acids) and protein. Healthy fats are associated with a decreased risk of diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and can help your body fight off harmful bacteria and viruses.
To make sure you’re getting enough omega-3 fatty acids, try to incorporate foods like salmon or chia seeds into your diet. Protein is also important for healing and recovery, so you should try to include foods like seafood, lean meat, eggs, beans, peas, soy products, and nuts and seeds in your diet. Try eating fermented foods Finally, try eating fermented foods regularly. Fermented foods are packed with probiotics, which improve the health of your digestive tract and can make it easier for your immune cells to distinguish between normal cells and harmful cells. Multiple studies show that people who regularly eat fermented food have a stronger immune response. Therefore, foods like miso, yoghurt, kimchi, kefir, and sauerkraut are always good to add to the shopping list. Miso in particular is very healthy – so much so that one of the world’s premier wellness destinations serves it for breakfast. For more healthy eating tips, you might want to visit the diet and nutrition section of our website.
2. Drink lots of water
Staying hydrated is also one of the easiest and most effective ways you can boost your overall health. While drinking plenty of water doesn’t necessarily ward off germs and viruses, it does help support your immune system.
In our circulatory systems, there’s a fluid called lymph, which is predominantly made from water and transports infection-fighting cells around our bodies. When you’re not sufficiently hydrated, the movement of lymph is hindered, which can lead to a weakened immune system. Not drinking enough water can cause headaches and adversely affect your focus, mood, and digestion, as well as the function of your heart and kidneys, which can increase your susceptibility to illness. Try to limit your intake of sugary fruit juices, soft drinks, and sweet teas, and drink plain water, which is free of additives and sugars. It’s also advisable not to wait until you’re thirsty to drink, but to ensure you’re drinking water regularly throughout the day. As we age, science suggests that the innate desire to drink water declines. We don’t know why this happens exactly, but it’s still beneficial to try to get into the habit of drinking water regularly, even if you’re not thirsty.
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