Who doesn’t want a strong immune system? Raise your hand. No one? Well, one thing that the pandemic has made us realize is that health is the true wealth. Perhaps you’re one of the frontline healthcare workers. Or maybe you’re working from home while simultaneously managing your family and kids. No matter how hectic your schedule is, you need to keep your health in check.
Unfortunately, there’s no magic pill that can take your immunity superpowers up a notch overnight. And with a wave of new diseases emerging at a quickening pace, an apple a day is not enough to keep the doctor away. So, how to reinforce your body’s defenses against harmful pathogens? Here are five simple stay-healthy strategies that can help you bolster your immunity system.
Keep Your Gut Healthy and Happy
Good gut health is essential for a strong immune function. After all, nearly 80% of your immunity resides in your gut. So, focus on promoting your gut health by feeding it with foods with probiotics and prebiotics like curd, yogurt, plantains, and asparagus. This helps your digestive system to stay balanced and function normally. Besides this, vitamin C is also well known for boosting immunity. So, include vitamin C-rich food like citrus fruits, red bell peppers, and broccoli in your diet to strengthen your immune system. Excessive stress can also weaken your immunity. Hence, opt for antioxidant-rich food such as berries, carrots, and spinach which can lessen your oxidative stress and help you improve overall gut health.
Though many of us may not realize, sleep and immunity are closely associated. Quality sleep is essential to give your immune system the best chance to fight off infection and illness. In fact, studies have shown that those who don’t get enough quality sleep are more likely to get sick than those who sleep well. So, adults should try to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep while teens need 8-10 hours and younger children around 14 hours of sleep each night to develop a strong immune system.
Spend At Least 30 Minutes on Your Fitness
Yes, regular exercise is the best way to stimulate your immune system. But, that doesn’t mean you have to be too hard-core. Remember, prolonged intense exercise can actually weaken the immune system and leave you vulnerable to viruses or flu. So, go for simple or moderate exercises such as brisk walking, yoga, swimming, or bicycling. This will not only help you get in shape and keep your bone strong but will also decrease your chances of developing certain diseases, like heart disease and fatty liver disease.
Keep Your Body Well-Hydrated
Though it may sound like a no-brainer, one can never emphasize enough the significance of staying hydrated for a healthy immune system. Your immune system relies heavily on the nutrients in your bloodstream which mostly includes water. Also, staying hydrated is essential to flush out toxins, ward off illness and reset your system. So, aim to drink 8-10 glasses of water regularly over the course of the day.
Keep a Positive Mindset
Your mental state really does impact your physical health. Research shows that a positive mindset reduces stress and increases resilience to infection while negative thoughts can weaken immune response and makes you more susceptible to illness. Dealing with constant stress that continues day in and out causes the body to produce too much stress hormone called cortisol.
This reduces your body’s ability to fight off infections and further contributes to poor sleep and high blood pressure. So, to prevent this, begin your day with a positive mindset. Not sure how to do that? Five minutes of meditation per day can make a difference. You can also practice yoga or deep breathing or spend some time in nature to reduce your anxiety and stress.
Today, there’s no shortage of supplements that claim to boost your immune system. But, be wary of those promises. There is no evidence that such supplements actually improve your chances of fighting off an infection or ailment. So, don’t rely on claims on a label. Rather, consider keeping up with the dietary and lifestyle habits above to stay healthy all year long. Remember, adopting a few healthy habits can do wonders for your immune system.