A strong immune system is key to overall wellbeing and longevity. Most people want to improve their defenses against disease and illnesses in the long term. But how do you boost your immune system and is this even possible?
The immune system, as the name suggests, functions as a whole, not a single entity. A balanced immune system works harmoniously and effectively to fight off infections. There are no straightforward links between lifestyle and enhanced immune function but as a general rule, following a healthy lifestyle is beneficial.
Keeping the immune system strong and healthy means protecting it from environmental impact. This can be achieved by eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables and regularly partaking in exercise. Avoiding stress as much as possible is preferable, along with maintaining a healthy weight. Below are some simple tips to help you naturally boost your immunity.
These foods are filled with nutrients and antioxidants that support health. These antioxidants are Vitamin C, E and beta-carotene and they are found in a wide variety of colourful fruits and vegetables. Orange fruits and vegetables such as carrots, pumpkins and apricots contain beta-carotene, a precursor for Vitamin A that may support the immune system. Meanwhile, green leafy vegetables are a good source of Vitamin E and this can help protect cells from damage.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant and is most commonly found in citrus fruits. It is often claimed that it may help to boost the immune system and fight off bacteria. A review of 30 studies in July 2007 into the effects of vitamin C discovered that taking a daily Vitamin C supplement does not tend to reduce the severity of symptoms however it may help reduce the risk of catching a virus for those who are routinely exposed to severe cold or stresses, or if you are deficient in the vitamin.
Exercise may boost the function of the immune system, enabling you to fight off colds and flu more easily. Regular exercise can boost immunity, reducing the aggressiveness and number of natural killer cells. This is a temporary increase that makes the immune system more efficient at destroying cells that cause illnesses like colds.
Research indicates that immune dysfunction is strongly associated with obesity. Increases in infectious illness and infection-related mortality are higher in obese people and the more overweight a person is, the more inflammation they have in their body. Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and regular exercise can benefit the functioning of the immune system.
The effects of tobacco smoking, whether firsthand or secondhand, can make the immune system more susceptible to infections like pneumonia and influenza. It can create more severe and long lasting illnesses, while producing lower levels of antioxidants in the blood. Quitting smoking may help your immune system to function properly, boosting your health and reducing your chances of becoming ill in the long-term.