If there’s any time to focus on your health, especially in giving a boost to your immune system, it would be NOW. The pandemic is far from being behind us and we must have louder conversations around bettering and boosting our first line of defense. No, it is not the vaccine, but rather our immune system. A quick refresher on anatomical knowledge… The immune system is a complex network of cells and proteins that not only defends the body against infection but also fights disease-causing germs like bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi, and eventually removes them from our bodies.
An important note: We are not saying that all you need to be Covid-free is a strong immune system nor would it cure you if you’ve contracted the virus. However, having a strong immune system gives your body a better chance of fighting off the virus.
Boosting your immunity is easier said than done, and it’s something that cannot be achieved overnight, long-term and proper dietary and lifestyle changes would do wonders. On that note, here are 5 ways to naturally strengthen and boost your immune system:
1. Stay Hydrated
We’ll start by saying water isn’t medicine. Hydration doesn’t necessarily protect you from viruses, but staying hydrated has shown a tonne of benefits to your overall health. When our bodies lack water, we are more prone to getting headaches, it affects our mood, focus and digestion, as well as our heart and kidneys. Add all of these up these and your body has a higher susceptibility to illness.
Preventing dehydration is as simple as drinking enough fluids daily, and you’ll know you’re drinking enough if your urine turns to a pale shade of yellow. While many drinks can keep you hydrated, like tea and fruit juices, we recommend sticking with water for the obvious reason that it is free of calories, sugar, and additives.
2. Manage and Maintain Your Stress Levels
There’s no denying the negative effects of stress and anxiety on our bodies. Anxiety and a stressful life affect us mentally, emotionally, even physiologically. Studies show that long-term stress promotes inflammation, as well as imbalances in immune cell function. Keeping our stress levels in check is beneficial to our immune health.
Stress management could vary for some people considering the causes of it vary from person to person too. However, there are some common ways to destress like regular exercise, meditation, journaling, and other mindfulness practices. Another idea worth entertaining, and hopefully the stigma around it would continue to diminish in the days to come, is therapy. Seeing a professional/licensed counselor or therapist could assist in dealing with some of the internal turmoil, which could, in turn, alleviate anxiety and stress.
3. Be Kind To Your Liver
The body part that comes to mind when the immune system is up for discussion is usually the brain, so how is the liver a part of this equation? In terms of immunity health, it is a very important part in fact. Among other things, our liver serves as a filter for our bodies as it helps in flushing out toxins from our bodies. Suffice to say an unhealthy liver wouldn’t function as well as healthy one, and this could take a toll on our immune system.
To keep our liver healthy, avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption is the best first step. Drinking lemon water, especially in the morning, would help too.
4. Get A Good Sleep
Is it a shock to anybody that sleep and immunity are closely tied? Probably not. Time and time again, we’ve heard the great wonders ample and a good night’s sleep could have on us.
Lack of sleep, which usually means sleeping fewer than six hours each night, increases our chances of catching a cold. On top of that, lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick. In a Covid-stricken world, colds are a big no-no, so say yes to sleep!
It’s important to note that in this case, quality (of sleep) is as important as quantity (number of hours spent sleeping). If you’re having trouble sleeping, try these Five Wellness Tips To Getting Better ZZZZZ’s.
5. Enjoy A Healthy Diet
We wanna punctuate the fact that eating healthy could be a pleasure and not a chore. Whoever said ditching junk foods and saying goodbye to takeaways are the only ways to eat healthily is completely mistaken. Everything in moderation, right?
Immunity-boosting items that could be added to your diet are lots of greens and whole plant foods like fruits, nuts, seeds, and legumes that are rich in nutrients and antioxidants. There are proven benefits too to eating foods that are rich in healthy fats, like those found in olive oil and salmon. Finally, eating fermented foods that are rich in probiotics, as these good bacteria live in our gut, which is practically 90% of our immune system. Probiotic-rich foods include yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, miso, and kombucha to name a few.