The human immune system is not a static and fixed system. The immune system is something that can be either compromised or increased depending on how we live. Lifestyle choices, exercise, and nutrition all influence the immune system in direct ways. This leads us to explore how to boost the immune system.
How to boost the immune system becomes, in many ways, a question of how to feed the body. Where the immune system is concerned, we are what we eat. But how to boost the immune system does not need to be left to just nutrition and lifestyle. There are a range of dietary supplements that are known to boost the immune system.
Many of us already know to do things like increase our vitamin C during cold and flu seasons to boost the immune system. This is one of the most common ways to boost the immune system. But there are many ways to address the issue of how to boost the immune system, and some are not as obvious as vitamin C.
What is the immune system? How does the immune system work? How do you support the immune system? And how can you boost your own immune system? This guide will explore ways you can boost your immune system.
What is the Immune System And How Does It Work?
The immune system is a network of organs, white blood cells, specialized proteins called antibodies, and other chemicals that work together to protect your body from foreign bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. It stops these biological agents from proliferating and causing infection, illness, and disease.
When the immune system is activated, it signals the body to mobilize and attack bacteria, viruses, and other foreign bodies that cause illness and disease. It does this by activating the following physiological mechanisms:
White blood cells
White blood cells are a key feature of the immune system. They work by recognizing foreign bodies, surrounding them, and destroying them. This is the main defense against disease and infection.
The lymphatic system filters and destroys germs to prevent them from spreading to other parts of the body. The lymph nodes can recognize and destroy bacteria and viruses. One of the crucial roles of lymph nodes is that they can replicate white blood cells that recognize specific types of pathogens they have encountered previously. This is one of the main ways we acquire immunity to certain diseases.
The spleen stores white blood cells for defense. It is also a filter that removes pathogens and old damaged red blood cells.
Tonsils and adenoids
These are located in the throat and play a specific role in identifying and destroying pathogens that typically cause throat and lung infections.
Located in the upper chest, behind the breastbone, the thymus helps make a certain type of white blood cell that can recognize previous pathogens. This is also part of the acquired immune system.
Bone marrow is the spongy center of your bones. It helps synthesize red blood cells and other types of immune cells. This is the source of red blood cells in your bloodstream.
Skin and mucous membranes
These form the external layer of protection for the body. Mucous membranes line the respiratory tract, the digestive and urinary tracts, and the reproductive tract. Enzymes in sweat, saliva, tears, and mucus can destroy some types of pathogens.
Stomach and bowel
Stomach acid will destroy many pathogens. Bacteria in the gut will also kill some harmful bacteria.
How to support your Immune System
The immune system actually exists in two forms. There is the innate immune system, which consists of those physiological features you are born with like white blood cells, the organ systems that make up the immune system. The innate immune system is already in place from birth to protect you from disease and infection. There is also the acquired immune system. These are features of the immune system that build over the course of your life. White blood cells formed in the lymph nodes are often replicated based on pathogens your body has already encountered. This is how you build immunity to certain diseases. This is also how things like inoculations work.
Both the innate and the acquired immune systems can be supported and strengthened. You can take some simple steps to support your immune system.
5 ways How to boost your Immune System
Many of the ways we can boost our immune system are quite simple. There are further steps you can take to boost your immune system which we will discuss below. 5 ways you can boost your immune system include:
Studies have shown that moderate exercise can boost the function of your immune system. These studies have demonstrated that moderate exercise can be as effective as a vaccine for increasing your immune response.
Moderate exercise can also reduce inflammation, and this helps your immune cells to regenerate regularly.
Moderate exercise would include things like walking, cycling, jogging, swimming, and light hiking. Keeping these activities up for about two hours at least three times a week works best for building up your immune system.
Keep in mind that the studies cited here state that moderate exercise is what boosts your immune system. Extreme exercise and high-intensity exercise can lower your immune response.
Managing your stress levels is another great way to boost your immune system. The effects of long-term stress can lead to inflammation which interrupts the function of immune cells. Sustained periods of stress can actually suppress the immune system.
Activities like yoga, exercise, meditation, journaling, and mindfulness practices can reduce stress and help keep your immune system functioning properly. If you are having trouble managing your stress levels, you should seek the help of a licensed counselor or therapist.
Sleep has a profound impact on the immune system. Lack of sleep, or poor-quality sleep, can make you much more susceptible to illness. One important study found that people who get less than 6 hours of sleep each night were much more likely to contract the common cold.
Adequate sleep can enhance your immune system. When you are sick, adequate sleep will help decrease the amount of time it takes to recover since sleep helps your immune system function at its optimum. Adults should get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Teens require 8-10 hours of sleep, and young children need as much as 14 hours of sleep each night.
Tips for improving the quality of your sleep include limiting screen time before bed, turning off your tv, and staying off the computer well before you go to bed. The blue light from computer screens and televisions is known to disrupt the natural circadian sleep patterns.
The immune system depends on proper hydration to function properly. Proper hydration is in fact important for your health overall.
Dehydration will cause headaches, slow your physical performance, and affect your mood, digestion, heart, and kidneys. All of these things can lead to problems with your immune system and make you susceptible to illness.
The easiest way to prevent dehydration is to drink plenty of water. You should drink 8 8-ounce glasses of water every day, and this needs to be water free of sugars and additives. Plain clean water is the ideal way to prevent dehydration.
Hydrate 2.0 from NF Sports can help you stay hydrated. Hydrate 2.0 contains sustamine which helps maximize the absorption of water to help you maintain your hydration levels. Hydrate 2.0 has zero sugar and it helps facilitate the uptake of water for quick recovery after workouts and exertion.
As with every other feature of your overall health, a healthy diet is crucial to a healthy immune system. Every aspect of the immune system depends upon the continuous flow of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. White blood cells, for example, are made up of proteins, and you need to feed your body the right amount of protein to sustain this dimension of the immune system.
In addition to the above you can support a healthy immune response with this great-tasting formula Immune Defense.
Foods That Strengthen Your Immune System
Since the immune system is fed by sound nutrition, you should not be surprised to learn that there are certain foods that are especially helpful for strengthening your immune system. Some foods that strengthen your immune system include:
Yogurt is a fermented food and contains live and active cultures and vitamin D, all of which are great for boosting your immune system. Make sure you choose yogurt brands that do not contain added sugar. Many are sweetened with things like honey and fresh fruit. You can sweeten yogurt at home using these same ingredients.
Citrus fruits include things like oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes. All of these fruits contain high levels of vitamin C which is known to help boost the immune response and fight infections. Ideally, consume citrus fruits in their raw form. All of these fruits make delicious juices. Lemons and limes can be added to water for hydration and a great vitamin C boost.
Broccoli is full of vitamins A, C, and E, as well as many other antioxidants, broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can put on your plate. It also contains loads of fiber. Broccoli contains high levels of antioxidants which fight free radicals and disease. Recent research has shown that the high concentrations of antioxidants in broccoli can boost the immune response in aging adults. This is especially helpful since the immune system can slow down as we get older.
Oats and Barley
These foods contain high levels of multiple minerals which directly build the immune system and fight disease. Oats and barely contain copper, iron, selenium, zinc, polyphenolics, and proteins (glutamine) which can fight disease.
Chicken soup contains high levels of B vitamins which are essential to your immune system.
Shellfish are some of the best sources of zinc, an essential nutrient for the immune system. Zinc is a vital feature of the immune system, and your immune response cannot function without it. Many people take a zinc supplement when they are getting sick, but including shellfish in your diet can provide you with all the zinc your immune system needs.
Another important nutrient for your immune system is vitamin E, and almonds are an ideal source of vitamin E. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin which means you need a certain amount of fat in your diet for it to be absorbed properly. Almonds also contain natural healthy fats which make vitamin E readily available to your immune system.
Supplement to Boost Your Immune System
The ideal immune supplement is Immune Defense from NF Sports. Designed as a daily immune system booster, Immune Defense combines the amino acid L-Lysine with Vitamin C and Zinc along with Vitamins B2 and B6 for optimal immune response.
We tend to think of our immune system as something that simply works without our knowledge. It is an automatic part of our physiological makeup. But the immune system is like every other part of our bodies. It can be optimized in certain ways by a combination of lifestyle and nutrition.
In the case of the immune system, you really are what you eat. The kinds of foods we eat have everything to do with how well the immune system works. When we feed our bodies healthy and nutritious foods, the immune system works well. When we eat the wrong things, our immune system will not function properly.The keys to boosting the immune system include staying hydrated, getting plenty of good sleep, eating right, and exercising. During times when you need an extra boost to your immune system, you can take a supplement like Immune Defense from NF Sports. This will give you the minerals and other nutrients you need to ward off disease and infection.