Boosting your immune system has never been more important. Your immune system is your main line of defense against infections. As soon as an invading germ or virus is detected, your body goes to work to neutralize and banish the unwelcome guest. How does your immune system accomplish this?
Your immune system uses a range of chemical actions and physical reactions to fight for your good health. These include increasing white blood cells or other chemicals to destroy these threats. Sneezing, coughing, and tearing up are just a few ways your body boots viruses, germs, or bacteria from your body.
But, it is a system, and as such, you will need to take a systematic approach if you want to boost your immune system and stay healthy throughout the fall and winter.
Here are some lifestyle changes, nutritional recommendations, and immune-boosting supplements that can help you do just that!
Boost Your Immune System by Looking at Your Habits
This includes those things you do and those that you have a habit of not doing. If you want to help your immune system, then:
- Don’t smoke tobacco products.
- Reduce stressful situations or emotional upheavals.
- Get enough sleep each night for your age and level of activity.
- Maintain healthy baseline numbers for cholesterol, blood pressure, and sugar.
These behaviors will give your body a fighting chance while also keeping your blood flowing at optimum levels, so your white blood cells can destroy unwelcome guests.
Cardio Exercises and Immune System Benefits
As things cool down, many people tend to slow down and do less in the winter months. Cardio workouts can be extremely beneficial to staying healthy. It is believed that physical activity helps your immune system directly and indirectly, including:
- Cardio workouts flush bacteria from the lungs and airways, which can reduce your chances of getting a cold, flu, or other illness.
- Exercise causes a change in white blood cells (WBC) and the antibodies that fight disease so that they circulate more rapidly.
- The increase in body temperature while exercising may prevent bacteria growth and may help the body fight infection better.
- Exercise reduces the release of stress hormones, which may also protect against getting ill or how long it takes to recover from illness.
Exercise increases the flow of blood, lymph fluids, and increases the flow of those cells associated with the immune system. This increased flow happens as your muscles contract and your heart beats faster and harder. Therefore, as you exercise, your natural cells that are meant to fight off disease and infection are recruited at a greater rate.
Immune Boosting Supplements and Nutrition
There are certain foods, vitamins, and minerals that directly support and strengthen the immune system. Take vitamin C in the form of supplements. Or consume a lot of fresh foods such as spinach, kale, bell peppers, oranges, grapefruit, garlic, and almonds. Since the body doesn’t produce or store vitamin C, you must replenish it every day. Other vitamins to consider include vitamins E and B6, which also have antioxidant properties.
One of the best minerals for boosting the immune system is zinc. Zinc not only fights off viruses and bacteria, but it is also essential for cell, protein, and DNA formation. Foods with an abundance of zinc include oysters, beans, nuts, and red meat. Also, make sure it is included in your daily multivitamin as most people do not get enough zinc from the foods they eat.
As we head into flu season and continue to protect ourselves from COVID-19, it’s important to do everything we can to help our bodies stay healthy. Regular fitness, including at-home exercise routines can boost your immune system. So sign up for Sworkit, and start living your healthiest lifestyle.