Your immunity system does an extraordinary task of protecting you against disease-killing micro-organisms and germs. But when you fall sick, catch flu or other virus, it means that your immune system has failed. So how does one make their immune system function effectively? Is it possible to boost up your immune system by following a healthy routine and a balanced diet? Is it possible to improve your immunity in just 14 days? The answer is yes!
- Make the Following Changes in Your Diet:
- 1. Include Protein in Your Daily Meal
- 2. Fruits and Vegetables
- 3. Maintain Your Vitamin D Level
- 4. Include Olive and Canola Oils in Your Diet
- 5. Curb Your Alcohol Intake
- Exert Yourself (in Moderation)
Boosting your immunity requires only a few changes in your daily routine. You can boost up your immunity by altering your dietary habits, exercising regularly and following these simple tips:
Make the Following Changes in Your Diet:
Like any combating power, the immune system strives on its stomach. Immune system soldiers require good, regular and daily nourishment. Research studies have shown that people who are malnourished are more susceptible to infectious illnesses.
So what can you do? If you suspect your diet is not fulfilling all your micronutrient then taking a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement brings health benefits of many types. However, taking large doses of a single vitamin does not improve the immune system. A balanced diet rich in all nutrients is the answer.
Nutrition in your diet is one of the most important keys to having a solid immune system. Essentially, what you feed your body will conclude how healthy it eventually is. By eating processed or fast foods, you are not getting the nutrients that your body requires. Look towards fresh fruits, vegetables, small portions of meat, and whole grains. These foods are high in vitamins and antioxidants that strengthen your immune system.
When eating fresh fruits and vegetables, you need to make sure that you eat a wide range from all the different colors available. Don’t stick to just green or red or orange colors. The adverse colors in fruits and vegetables indicate the different compounds that they are made up of. For example, an ideal immune system strengthening diet will contain five servings of fruits, vegetables, seeds, garlic, protein-rich foods and grains.
Many people also take a multivitamin that helps what they are lacking in their everyday diet. A balance of vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin D, folic acid, magnesium, and selenium make up for a perfect nutrition system. Iron, zinc, chromium, and copper are also important components.
1. Include Protein in Your Daily Meal
Proteins protect the human body from a range of bacteria, viruses, and germs. This is because the antibodies that help fight disease are made of protein. Moreover, many foods high in protein also contain other immune-boosting nutrients.
Lean cuts of cottage cheese, beef, pork, beans, soy, tofu, split peas and seafood (especially oysters and crab); contain zinc that helps up the manufacture of white blood cells which help fight infection. Zinc is a basic element necessary for cells of the immune system, and zinc deficiency has an effect on the capacity of T cells and other immune cells to function as they should. It should be noted that while it’s important to have sufficient zinc in your diet i.e. an average of 15–25 mg per day, a high portion of zinc can slow down the function of the immune system. Even mild zinc deficit can increase your susceptibility to infections.
Nuts (almonds and cashews), and seeds like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and flax seeds are also good sources of protein and magnesium, both of which help maintain a healthy immune system.
2. Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamins A, C and E are good for the immune system. If you are looking to improve your immune system in just 14 days, you have to include 5 cups of fruits and vegetables everyday in your meal. Vitamin A which is available in sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy vegetables help white blood cells fight off infections. It also controls the immune system.
Vitamin C tops the list of immune boosters for a catena of reasons. Vitamin C supplements are cheap to produce, and they are available naturally in many fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C increases the production of white blood cells and antibodies that help fight infection. Vitamin C also gives rise to levels of interferon, the antibody that coats cell surfaces which help prevent the entry of viruses. Vitamin C reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by raising levels of HDL cholesterol (a type of cholesterol that is good for the body) while lowering blood pressure. It also curbs the process by which fat is transformed to plaque in the arteries.
Vitamin C also lowers the rates of diseases of colon, prostrate and breast cancer. Citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, and grapefruit are rich in Vitamin C. Food products like papayas; broccoli, etc improve the absorption of iron from plant-based foods and helps the immune system fight against diseases.
You don’t have to take in enormous amount of vitamin C to boost your immune system. Around 200 milligrams a day seems to be a generally agreed upon amount and one that can be routinely gained by eating at least five cups of fruits and vegetables a day.
Research has shown that it is better to take Vitamin C in small portions during the day as big doses may end up being excreted in urine.
Vitamin E also helps fight flu and respiratory problems. It stimulates the creation of natural killer cells; those that help find and destroy germs and cancer cells. Vitamin E improves the production of B-cells, the immune cells that create antibodies that wipe out bacteria. Vitamin E also helps in fighting the signs of ageing and also helps lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks.
Generally 100-400 milligrams of Vitamin E is ideal per day, depending on one’s lifestyle. People who don’t exercise, smoke, and consume high amounts of alcoholic beverages will require a higher dosage. Those with a more modest lifestyle can get by with lower levels of supplementation. 30 to 60 milligrams of Vitamin E every day can be made available from a diet rich in seeds, vegetable oils, and grains. But it may be difficult to get the required amount of vitamin C through diet alone, vitamin e supplements may be necessary in order to improve your immune system. Vitamin E is available from food products like nuts, vegetable oils, seeds, breakfast cereal, turnip greens, etc.
By including a variety of green vegetables as part of a balanced diet, you’ll get all the major nutrients you need to help fight infections. After a prescription from your doctor, taking a multi vitamin or mineral supplement may also help improve your immunity. But ensure that you have a dosage prescribed, as sometimes too-high doses of certain minerals can cause imbalances and ultimately curb your immunity.
3. Maintain Your Vitamin D Level
For many years doctors have shown studies and experiments that people affected with tuberculosis react well to sunlight. An explanation is now at hand. Researchers have found that vitamin D, which is formed by the skin when exposed to sunlight, indicates an antimicrobial reaction to the bacterium accountable for tuberculosis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Whether vitamin D has similar ability to fight off other diseases and whether taking vitamin D in supplement form is beneficial are questions that need to be resolved with further study. But, preliminary research suggests vitamin D could improve immune retort, and a decrease in levels may be associated to a rise in infections, cold and flu. Get yourself checked by the doctor to ascertain your level of Vitamin D. Many of us are deficient in vitamin D, which is available from the sun in the morning and a very few food products. If required, ask your doctor to prescribe a supplement to boost your level of vitamin D.
4. Include Olive and Canola Oils in Your Diet
Olive and canola oils contain healthy fats. They, in turn, act as a lubricant for cells. This lubricant improves elasticity and transmission between the cells, which boosts immune function. However, just be careful not to consume too many omega-6 fats in the meantime as they contain the risk for inflammation and immune system problems.
5. Curb Your Alcohol Intake
Excessive intake of alcohol could slow down your immune system. Research studies suggest that excessive alcohol consumption is equivalent to poison and causes harm to immune system cells called dendritic cells, which play an important role in destroying invading microbes. This could lead to serious and even life-threatening infections.
Exert Yourself (in Moderation)
Only a balanced diet won’t solve all your problems. A moderate amount of physical activity is a must.
4. De-Stress Yourself
Indulge in activities that allow you to de stress yourself like listening to music, joining dance or yoga classes, playing with your pets, etc. It is a universally acknowledged fact that sparing a few hours per day for such activities can work well for your immune system.
A wide variety of problems, including stomach upset, hives, heart diseases, obesity, etc. are connected to the effects of stress. Stress is hard to define and even more hard to detect. Stress levels differ from person to person. When people are exposed to conditions they regard as stressful, it is hard for them to compute how much stress they feel, and even tricky for the scientists and doctors to know if a person’s personal impression of the amount of stress is accurate. The scientist can only determine things that may reflect stress, such as the number of times the heart beats each minute, but such measures also may reflect other factors.
One of the most researched studies is currently under debate whether ongoing stress takes a toll on the immune system. Despite these inevitable difficulties in measuring the relationship of stress to immunity, scientists who repeat the same experiment many times with many different animals or human beings, and who get the same result most of the time, hope that they can draw reasonable conclusions.
5. Walk for 20-30 Minutes A Day
20 to 30 minutes of daily physical activity can boost up the functioning of the immune system. Exercise helps antibodies and white blood cells move through the body faster, as a result they are able to detect illnesses sooner; plus, an increase in circulation may also give rise to the release of hormones that inform immune cells of intruding pathogens. Moderate physical exercise is recommended by most doctors, whereas high-intensity activity, such as a marathon running or intense gym training, could decrease the amount of white blood cells circulating through the body and increase your risk of illness.
6. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise is one of the essentials of healthy living. It improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and protects against a variety of diseases. But does it help maintain a healthy immune system? Just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system. It may contribute even more directly by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently.
7. Last But Not the Least! Sleep!
Deep sleep kindles and triggers the immune system, while sleep deprivation has a reverse effect. According to published research works noteworthy harmful effects on immune performance can be seen after a few days of total sleep deprivation or even several days of just semi sleep deprivation. An average adult needs between 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night, although sleep levels vary from person to person. Few people may need 5 hours or as many as 10 hours. To make sure you are getting enough quality sleep, avoid caffeinated drinks and other stimulants. Decongestants, tobacco and alcohol also affect sleep levels. Alcohol can help falling into a light sleep, but it interferes with the deeper stages of sleep which are restorative.