More than ever before in the history of humankind, people are concerned with how they can boost their immune system thanks to the novel coronavirus spreading so quickly across the globe and killing people in hordes. With the vaccine against the severe viral infection having not been found yet, taking necessary measures to boost our body’s immune system remains the only sensible thing to do. While a robust immune system does not keep the various viruses away from our bodies, it assists in making those infections less severe.
Below are smart ways in which you can enhance your immune system to combat viral infections:
Eating healthy foods
Your nutrition is critical for a healthy immune system since minerals and vitamins form the lifeline on which all the body systems, the immune system included, depend on to function optimally. It is high time you ensured you have plenty of fruits and vegetables as part of your meals. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, if you feed your body with all of the vital nutrients that it needs, it will run well and be ready to fight off and avoid acute and chronic diseases and not succumb to them.
Foods rich in vitamin C, zinc, and other antioxidants have been observed to help reduce inflammation and wage war against infections, so you need to consume more of such foods. These healthy foods include vegetables, fruits, fish, whole grains, healthy fats, and others. Avoid processed foods, especially meats, and fried foods because they are considered more inflammatory.
According to an expert, Mark Moyad, the Director of Preventive and Alternative Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical Center, exercising is a great way to enhance your immune system. This is because workouts cause the body’s white blood cells and antibodies to circulate faster. As such, they will be ready to detect and deal with viruses and other disease-causing microorganisms more quickly, bringing them under control.
It has also emerged from research that the effects of exercise can be very helpful directly in fighting viral infections. A recent study that appeared in the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows this. It involved 1,002 people, and out of that number, those who worked out five days per week had almost half the risk of getting severe colds than those who had a sedentary lifestyle. When they got a cold, they also had less severe symptoms. Sweating as you work out also seems to have some protective effects. Studies show that increasing your body temperature could help kill germs as they make way into your body.
However, it would help if you exercised in moderation since too many workouts can suppress your immune system, as Moyad explains. Therefore, you need to establish your sweet spot, which is the point at which you reap maximum benefits from exercises. The experts suggest that 30 to 60 minutes of vigorous or moderate activities for most of the days is a good idea.
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Do you know that stress can depress the immune system? Well, it impacts negatively on your body’s immunity and makes it not function optimally. This is because the body secretes stress hormones that work against the immune system. You can manage stress by getting enough time to relax and have fun, sleeping adequately, keeping away from noisy environments, and by working out. Meditating can also help to deal with stress. You can also seek professional help if your stress gets to higher levels or you are facing issues that seem impossible. The critical thing is not to let stress overwhelm you.
Getting adequate sleep
Your body’s immune system is akin to a computer and needs a moment of rest to prevent it from overheating, and sleep offers this perfect moment and helps to reboot your system. Staying awake for long hours prompts your body to produce stress hormones such as cortisol. These hormones can suppress your immune system.
A 2019 study shows people who had eight hours of shut-eye had higher T-cell levels compared to those who slept fewer hours. You need to have at least seven hours of sleep every night for a healthy immune system and body. This was supported by a 2015 study that found that people who slept seven or more hours were less likely, in fact four times less likely, to come down with any illness than those who slept less than six hours.
It is not hard to boost your body’s immune system to combat viral infections, as you can see in the discussion above. You need to eat healthily, maintain an active lifestyle, manage your stresses, and get enough sleep. Of course, there are other ways, but those are the main ones. It would help if you also steered away from alcohol and smoking since they lower your immunity.