- Ways To Boost The Immune System
- What Weakens The Immune System?
- Final Thoughts
We’ve covered quite a few ways to boost the immune system. However, it would be more helpful also to know the things, habits, and lifestyles that can weaken the immune system.
Knowing both sides can help maintain an excellent immune system. Perhaps many people are now aware of what the immune system is, especially in line with the current pandemic.
Having and maintaining a good immune system is the last defense against any infection. The human body is complex, but we don’t have to complicate things to achieve better health and an excellent immune system.
Some experts compare the immune system to the military or defense force of a nation. It may not be appropriate to say such a comparison, but one thing is clear, we need a good immune system.
Ways To Boost The Immune System
It may be appropriate to summarize the natural ways to boost the body’s immune system.
If there is one immune system-weakening habit we’ve covered in the past, that’s avoiding a high amount of sugars in the diet. On the other hand, developing healthy habits and lifestyles can boost the immune system naturally and effectively.
What Weakens The Immune System?
Now, let us quickly go over a few of the known things, habits, and lifestyles that can weaken the body’s immunity. It is essential to know these as many may not be aware they are harming their immunity.
1. Not Getting Enough Amount of Sleep
Ignoring to emphasize getting the right amount of sleep can lead to many unhealthy consequences. Sleep deprivation has been known to cause many illnesses; some effects have immediate manifestation while some can take time.
Indeed, one thing is clear; sleep deprivation can weaken the immune system over time, mainly if it is not addressed soon. In other words, consistent or chronic sleep deprivation is toxic to health.
It makes a person vulnerable to diseases and highly likely to catch harmful bacteria and viruses. Unfortunately, once illness strikes, it could take longer to bet better as the body’s immune system cannot quickly neutralize the cause of the disease.
So, get enough sleep regularly. As to the recommendation of the number of hours, experts recommend 6 to 8 hours. However, it depends on person-to-person. Some people feel great with just 4 to 5 hours of sleep nightly, while others need 8 to 10 hours.
Hence, listen to your body of what makes you feel better. Make sure you when you wake up, you feel good and refresh.
2. Lack of Exercise
It means, the more you exercise along with proper nutrition, the healthier the body is. Exercise also releases chemicals essential to maintain a well-functioning immune system.
A recent study says that exercise helps maintain a healthy immune system, especially in times of isolation, just like what is currently happening.
In the short term, exercise can help the immune system find and deal with pathogens, and in the long term, regular exercise slows down changes that happen to the immune system with ageing, therefore reducing the risk of infections.
3. Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D health benefits are not only limited to stronger bones and healthy blood cells but involve many health processes in the body, including a healthy immune system.
Regular sun exposure is an excellent source of vitamin D. However, if you’re living in a region with limited sunlight, opting for bright light therapy is a good alternative.
And there are good quality vitamin D supplements to take making sure to maintain a proper level of vitamin D in the body.
4. Certain Medications
Some medications are notorious for their side-effects. So, make sure you ask your doctor about any potential side-effects of the medicines you’re prescribed.
If you’re taking any prescription drugs, make sure to ask your doctor about its side-effects, or does it suppress the immune system. And, ask what can be done in order to counter the side-effects.
After all, you’re taking medications to improve the conditions and eventually cure the illness. It just makes sense to be aware of the potential side-effects.
Of course, let’s not forget, drug abuse and addiction also weaken the body’s immune system.
5. Low Fruits and Vegetable Intake
Plant-based foods, preferably organic, are healthy and excellent in supporting the body to fight infections. Hence, make sure you increase your intake of fruits and vegetables.
Also, make nuts and seeds as part of your diet, as well. These foods are high in vitamins A, C, E, beta-carotene, and the mineral zinc.
Of course, when you increase your fruits and vegetable intake, your body enjoys a wide range of nutrients, including dietary fiber, which helps eliminate fat, and along with zinc and other nutrients, it supports and strengthens the immune system.
6. Diet High In Unhealthy Fats
Fats have many health benefits, but not all fats are equal. There are healthy fats that keep the body’s health optimal, while bad fats make the body unhealthy.
Olive oil and coconut oils are among the healthy fats. Fats from avocado and fatty fishes are also healthy. To learn more about healthy fats, check out the ketogenic diet.
7. Spending Less Time Outdoors
Spending more time outdoors feels great. It is one of the best ways to get vitamin D. On the other hand, staying outdoors with nature is one of the natural and effective ways to lower stress.
Stress is not only a predictor of heart disease but also suppresses the immune system. So, allocate more time to staying outdoors. It is also your chance to do grounding, which also offers many health benefits, including a boost in immunity.
Staying outdoors near plants and trees let you breathe in phytoncides, a volatile substance in which the plants are releasing. It is one benefit of forest bathing, which is beneficial for the immune system.
8. Alcohol Consumption
As this review has indicated, alcohol exposure, and particularly chronic alcohol use, has profound effects on all aspects of the body’s immune responses, including both innate and adaptive immunity. These effects can impair the body’s defenses against a wide range of pathogens, including viruses and bacteria, as well as against damaged self and can affect tissues and organs throughout the body.SZABO G, SAHA B. ALCOHOL’S EFFECT ON HOST DEFENSE. ALCOHOL RES. 2015;37(2):159-70. PMID: 26695755; PMCID: PMC4590613.
9. Worry and Stress
Earlier, we’ve mentioned that stress suppresses the immune system. The American Psychological Association says that stress weakens the immune system.
One study on this meta-analysis says;
Stress-related disease emerges, predominantly, out of the fact that we so often activate a physiological system that has evolved for responding to acute physical emergencies, but we turn it on for months on end, worrying about mortgages, relationships, and promotions.
It’s common sense. We don’t even need to consult any studies on whether stress has unhealthy consequences. The way we feel when we’re stressed, does it feel good or bad? Does feeling stress often make us feel happy or sad?
Hence, make an effort to manage stress and keep it minimal that it does not affect your health. Even just having a pet is a great way to relieve stress.
On the other hand, if you’re in control of your stress and only experiences it in the short-term, it can boosts immunity. Unfortunately, there are only a few people who can do that while the majority don’t have full control over their stress and can suffer it in the long-term.
Moreover, worrying can manifest physical side-effects, including a compromised immune system.
10. Grief or Bereavement
Grief affects the immune system. Everyone undergoes grief at some point. Hence, if it feels like you don’t have control over it, seeking professional help is a good idea.
Another study says;
Research to date suggests that bereavement is associated with neuroendocrine activation (cortisol response), altered sleep (electroencephalography changes), immune imbalance (reduced T-lymphocyte proliferation), inflammatory cell mobilization (neutrophils), and prothrombotic response (platelet activation and increased vWF-ag) as well as hemodynamic changes (heart rate and blood pressure), especially in the early months following a loss.BUCKLEY T, SUNARI D, MARSHALL A, BARTROP R, MCKINLEY S, TOFLER G. PHYSIOLOGICAL CORRELATES OF BEREAVEMENT AND THE IMPACT OF BEREAVEMENT INTERVENTIONS. DIALOGUES CLIN NEUROSCI. 2012;14(2):129-139.
Grief is unavoidable. When it comes, and it feels like you don’t have control over it, always seek medical and professional help.
11. Stop Having Sex
In one study, researchers say once a week is optimal. So, how does sex boosts immunity?
A study on college students found that sexual activity increases IgA(Immunoglobulin A), a germ-fighting substance or antibody produced by the immune system.
However, it may not be a good idea to do it more than once a week. Couples who engaged in sex more than twice a week experienced lower IgA levels still better than no sex at all.
Although it may seem we’ve covered a lot here, these are just among the known things that can weaken the immune system. Certainly, many others are not mentioned here.
But, hopefully, this will serve as a good starting point in learning what weakens the immune system, and what can be done to boost it?
One thing is clear, for someone who ignores healthy lifestyle practices, there may be certain things that can compromise the immune system.
Aim to have healthy lifestyle practices from diet to exercise, getting enough sleep to managing stress. When it comes to nutrition, make sure you’re eating foods that can help boosts your mood because happiness is an immune system booster.
Lastly, in addition to proper nutrition and exercise, taking an immune system boosting supplements can be helpful. Even taking vitamin C supplements is a good idea.
Normally, the immune system boosting supplements like Immune Defence contains zinc and other ingredients beneficial for keeping optimal immunity.