The following is a guest post from Jonathon Harrelson.
If you speak to any doctor, they will tell you that the concept of ‘boosting your immune system’ is misleading and makes little to no sense. ‘Boosting’ the amount of immune cells in our body would actually be dangerous and little is known about the optimum formulation of the number and type of cells which make up our immune system.
However, looking after yourself and living a healthy lifestyle is without doubt the best way to ensure that your body is in optimum working order; immune system included. There are some things you should definitely be doing (and avoiding doing) in order to prevent the development of certain diseases, stave off illness and lead the healthiest life you can. By following these healthy guidelines you may find yourself becoming ill less often and bouncing back faster when you do!
Maintain A Healthy Weight: It is well documented that being either under or overweight can lead to health problems.
Having too little body fat can puts strain on your heart, can cause osteoporosis and may mean that you’re deficient in certain nutrients you need to grow and be healthy. Having too much body fat can lead to diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. Both under and overweight people are more likely to catch colds and other infections, and it will take longer to shake them off. Studies have shown that immune system response is reduced in obese and overweight mice; who produced fewer antibodies after being vaccinated than those of a healthy weight.
Regular Exercise: You should be aiming to be as active as you can be, not just by jogging once a week, but by minimizing the amount of time you spend sedentary and by regularly engaging in both leisurely exercise and more intense exercise. Regularly elevating your heart rate and getting a bit of a sweat on can help to combat depression, improve cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure and ensure that you maintain a weight which is healthy for you. It has also been argued that the good circulation which exercise promotes, helps cells, including immune system cells, to move through the body more efficiently. Exercise contributes to overall well-being and health and therefore lowers the risk of disease and illness.
A Healthy Diet: It is a well-known fact that diet plays a major role in how the body fights infection. A diet which consists of too many processed foods, unhealthy fats and sugars leads to poor health, simple as that. Being deficient in the minerals and vitamins found in fruits and vegetables, will reduce your body’s ability to repair, grow and defend itself which can lead to feelings of lethargy and mood swings. High intake of green vegetables is of crucial importance, and there are few of us who get enough. To improve your health, eat more kale, spinach and broccoli and increase your intake of antioxidant rich "super foods" such as; blueberries, chia seeds and goji berries.
Consider Supplements: If you’re not sure that you are getting all of the vitamins and minerals you need from your diet, taking a daily multivitamin is a good way to ensure that you are not deficient in anything. Taking vitamin C when you notice a cold coming on can help to stave off the illness or shorten the time you have the cold. Remember, although incorporating vitamins into your daily diet is a great idea, taking more than the recommended amount can be very bad for you, so be sure to read all instructions.
Quit smoking: The thousands of toxins present in cigarette smoke are damaging to cells in the body when inhaled and antibodies are depleted in regular smokers. To be able to fight off disease and illness more effectively, ditch the cigarettes.
Get enough sleep: Everybody has different needs when it comes to a good night’s sleep. Some seem to be able to survive perfectly well on five hours, while others need 8-9 to get through the day. Most people should aim to get between 7-9 hours per night, no more, no less. Anything outside of these boundaries, whether you are sleeping for four hours or ten, can really damage your health. One study found that antibody production after being vaccinated was reduced by half when participants were limited to four hours sleep per night for six nights meaning, you are more susceptible to illness when you are sleep deprived.
Limit stress: There is a close connection between the mind and body. Emotional feelings of stress, upset and anxiety can manifest in physical symptoms. Some studies have suggested that prolonged feeling of stress, which increases levels of cortisol in the body, can lower immune system response. Be aware of the importance of your emotional state and de-stress however you can, be it through exercise, meditation or music.
About The Author
Jonathon Harrelson works at Nature’s Best, he is a fitness and nutrition expert and he enjoys writing about good nutrition and using a healthy lifestyle to be healthier. He of course eats his greens and uses the odd supplement (like these) to keep things running smoothly!