If you've ever been sick, you know that it's not a pleasant experience. You feel like you're coming down with the flu or flu symptoms, you ache all over, and you can't sleep. If you're unlucky, you'll miss school, work, or other commitments. Although you can't avoid getting sick, there are things you can do to minimize the damage and recover faster. What the COVID-19 pandemic taught us was to take better care of our health. The first thing is to make sure you have a strong immune system. The stronger your immune system, the better it is at resisting infection.
How your immune system works
The immune system is a complex network of cells, tissues, and organs that defends the body against disease. The immune system is made up of: Antibodies, Phagocytes, Interferon, Natural Killer Cells, T-cells, Lymphocytes, and B-cells that work together to protect your body from harmful bacteria, viruses, and other invaders. When you eat, breathe, or even get a little cut, your immune system goes into action to ward off infection and disease. But, it doesn’t activate on its own; you can help it by getting at least 8 hours of sleep (make sure it's quality sleep), eating a balanced diet, and avoiding cigarettes, and consuming alcohol in moderation or avoiding it altogether.
How to Keep Your Immune System Healthy?
Did you know that the immune system can be strengthened by eating healthy foods that naturally stimulate it? Eating foods that contain vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients can increase the number of natural killer (NK) cells in your body as well as having other health benefits. NK cells help you fight infections by attacking cells that are infected with viruses or cancer.
Research has shown that people who have diets rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains have stronger immune systems than those who eat fewer servings of these foods.
Lots of people think that the best way to avoid colds and the flu is to take prescriptive antibiotics or to load up on vitamins and minerals.
While these strategies might be helpful, there are lots of other ways to build a stronger immune system. The best way is to follow a healthy lifestyle by eating lots of foods that naturally stimulate the immune system.
Another contributing factor to strengthening our immune systems is regular exercise and physical activity since it has been shown to alleviate stress. Stress has been shown to impact immune function which in turn can increase the risk of infection from viruses and bacteria.
How to boost your immune system?
Whether you skipped your annual flu shot or you contracted a nasty seasonal strain, there are several natural things you can do to make your immune system stronger, including eating well, exercising moderately, and sleeping enough.
The trick is to make small changes to your day-to-day routine since it can seem overwhelming to completely overhaul your lifestyle.
Most people don’t know about the foods that can prevent colds and other infections from occurring.
Of course, the first step in preventing illness is to establish a good diet and exercise regime to keep the immune system strong. However, there are certain foods such as green vegetables and leafy vegetables that can help to boost the immune system so that if you do come down with a cold or other infection you can recover more quickly.
How to grocery shop to boost your immunity?
For most people, colds and other infections are an inevitable part of winter that you just have to trudge through. But while you can’t avoid the cold and flu altogether, you can help yourself by stocking your refrigerator with the foods that are known to fight their effects.
There are so many foods out there that are said to help prevent colds, it can be hard to figure out what's true and what's just an old wives tale. But scientists have done a lot of studies and research to learn which foods are best for fighting off infections such as colds.
Research has shown that people who consume fresh fruit such as citrus fruits regularly have a lower risk of developing colds and other respiratory tract infections. In addition, regular consumption of citrus fruits has also been shown to help prevent cancer. You can find many varieties of citrus fruits at the grocery store, but some varieties are more helpful than others when it comes to the prevention of colds.
Vitamin C is a top food for fighting colds, since it helps your immune system ward off illness. Foods that are high in vitamin C include citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons and tangerines, broccoli, red bell peppers, and strawberries.
Garlic is a must-have for health since it contains a heavy concentration of the sulfur-containing compound allicin, which is said to have immune-boosting properties. A lot of people don't like the taste of garlic or how it makes their breath smell. In this case, we recommend garlic supplements. You can find some here: Odourless Garlic
Ginger helps to decrease inflammation caused by a sore throat. Among other things, it showed help alleviate nausea and help to decrease chronic pain.
Spinach contains numerous antioxidants and beta carotene but is also rich in vitamin C. A word of caution: Don't overcook your spinach. Nutritional benefits are best utilized by only lightly cooking it.
Yogurts with live and active cultures are the best for aiding gut health. Opt for plain yogurts such as Greek or Bulgarian yogurt and then flavour it with fruits that are high in antioxidants such as berries and honey.
Almonds are packed with healthy fats and vitamin E which helps to strengthen the immune system. Only a small amount of almonds are needed to achieve the recommended daily intake. About half a cup should suffice.
Turmeric, a bright yellow spice with a bitter flavour is most commonly used in curries. It has been used as an anti-inflammatory in treating oesteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The curcumin that gives turmeric its distinctive yellow colour has also shown to decrease exercise-induced muscle damage.
Is vitamin D important for the immune system?
It is an essential nutrient that helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus, and it helps support bone health. However, recent research also suggests that vitamin D is involved in the immune system’s response to viral infections, or even autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis. So the next time you are in the pharmacy, don’t forget to ask your pharmacist about the importance of vitamin D.
One of the best methods to get vitamin D is to get moderate sun exposure 3x per week on 50% of your body between 10 am and 3 pm. If you work indoors all day and want to supplement with Vitamin D, you can get it here: Vitamin D Supplement
Can dietary supplements help your immunity?
Vitamins and minerals are organic substances that we have to eat in small amounts to be healthy. There are 13 essential vitamins and minerals that we need in order to live, such as calcium, iron, and iodine. We also require a number of other substances to help our bodies function properly, including antioxidants, amino acids, essential fatty acids, and trace elements. Some of these substances are obtained by eating foods, however, many people do not get all the nutrients that they need from their diet.
The average adult has about one cold each year, but certain people are at greater risk for catching multiple colds. Elderly people have more frequent and more severe infections, as do people with weakened immune systems. If you are one of those people who develop colds easily, you might consider taking an over-the-counter (OTC) supplement to boost your immune system.
There are two types of supplements you can take. Antiviral and antibacterial supplements help prevent and treat infections. Immune system boosters help your body fight infections when they occur.
Even with advances in modern medicine, there’s no getting around it: illness will strike at some point in your life. And while some illnesses are short-term, others can have long-term, permanent impacts on your well-being.
For example, if your hearing is damaged by a bout of meningitis, you may end up with hearing loss that can’t be reversed. A strong immune system can protect you against the severity of symptoms that some infections present.
In order to get your life back to normal as soon as possible, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough rest and adequate sleep, eating healthy meals (making sure you eat nutritious foods/ fortified foods from whole food sources), avoid excessive alcohol, and following your doctor’s instructions.
The best long-term solution to staying healthy is to take care of yourself and implement as many things discussed in this article as possible to ensure that your immune system is strong enough to counter most infections.
As the saying goes: "Prevention is better than the cure." Stay safe and healthy.