Ways to Protect the Immune System
Many people have heard that boosting your immune system will help you stay healthy and fight illnesses. However, how do you boost your immune system? First, it is important to remember that your immune system is not just one part of your body. It is a system with many cells that work together to keep your body functioning. Here are some ways to protect the immune system.
A well-balanced diet
One of the most important things your body needs is vitamins and minerals. Your body gets many of these vitamins and minerals from your food and drinks. Most people with a healthy diet can get all the nutrients their body needs just fine. This includes getting plenty of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, protein, water, and other essential foods each day. While a proper diet is highly encouraged, not everyone eats like this each day. Lacking in these essential nutrients can take a toll on your health and immune system. Luckily, dietary supplements like a multivitamin can help. It is important to remember that dietary supplements are not there to replace a well-balanced diet, but to supplement your diet.
Another essential activity your body needs is exercise. The recommended amount you should get each week is around 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise. Exercise has many health benefits. It can help with your cardiovascular health, lower your blood pressure, and lower your body weight. It can help with all of these, while also improving your immune system. Read our article, “Tips for Staying Motivated to Exercise”, to help you make healthier habits.
Do NOT smoke
Most likely the worst thing you can do for your immune system is smoke. Smoking may lead to many health hazards including heart disease, many different cancers, respiratory infections, and more. These hazards are a threat to both heavy and light smokers. Secondhand smoke can also affect the health of those around you, including your family, friends, and even neighbors. Secondhand smoke has even been known to cause inflammation in skin conditions like eczema. While you may not be concerned about the effects smoking has on your health, it is important to remember how it can hurt those around you. Try to be courteous and keep your distance from others while smoking. If you live in close quarters like an apartment complex, be aware that smoke can seep through walls, vents, and outdoor windows.
Drink alcohol only in moderation or not at all
Studies have shown that even alcohol can have negative impacts on the immune system. While moderate amounts of alcohol have not been proven to have many health hazards, excessive alcohol can be dangerous and detrimental to your health. What many people may not realize is that even as little as 8-15 drinks a week is considered excessive.
Many people may not consider the effects of mental health on the immune system. However, stress can be especially damaging. Stress can weaken the immune system, leaving you more prone to illness.
More time in the sun
One of the best ways to protect the immune system is with vitamin D. It is no secret that spending time outdoors in the sunshine for a few hours each can brighten your mood. Time in the sun can also have a positive impact on your physical health. This is because our bodies absorb vitamin D from the sun. Dietary supplements are also available if you are unable to spend enough time outdoors or even if you have a difficult time absorbing vitamin D from the sun.
Wash your hands
According to the CDC, washing your hands regularly can help you avoid getting sick while also limiting the spread of germs to others. This is another one of the ways to protect your immune system. Your hands should be washed for at least 20-30 seconds. Always wash your hands after using the restroom, handling raw meat, touching doorknobs and handrails, going to the grocery store, and even after touching your face. Doing so can help protect your health and the health of those around you. You should especially be careful around young children. The top killers for young children are diarrheal diseases and pneumonia, which could largely be avoided with proper handwashing.
Get enough sleep
The amount of sleep we get each night can have a big impact on our health. Our bodies need proper amounts of sleep in order to function properly. Check out our article, "Nothing Beats a Goodnight's Sleep", for more information on the importance of sleep.