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4 Ways to Boost Your Immune System | image © starline, Freepik
4 Ways to Boost Your Immune System | image © starline, Freepik

Rainy season means flu season! Since Habagat has begun to bring us heavy rainfall and humid weather, now is the time we should think about how to protect our bodies from seasonal sicknesses more than ever. Let’s look at ways on how we can prepare our immune system to defend us from catching harmful bacteria and viruses.

In this article:

  1.  Learning About Your Immune System

  2.  4 Ways to Boost Your Immune System

    •  Incorporate Physical Activity Each Day
    •  Reach for Nutritious Foods and Stay Hydrated
    •  Get Plenty of Restorative Sleep
    •  Strive for Mental Balance
  3.  Things to Think About…

 

Learning About Your Immune System

Our immune system is called as the body’s first line of defense in maintaining our health. It works hard to protect us from foreign invaders—bacteria, viruses, and anything else that is attacking us from within (Minnesota Department of Health, 2022).

Our immune system is made up of our skin, blood, bone marrow, and organs. For our immune system to effectively defend us from those potentially harmful pathogens like bacteria and viruses, and limit the damage of things like sunburn or cancer, we need every part of our immune system to perform exactly according to plan. To ensure this happens, we can practice the good-for-you behaviors that will support the healthy operation of our immune system (Bedosky, 2023).

 

4 Ways to Boost Your Immune System

The following are the four of the key good-for-you behaviors (ibid.):

  1.  Incorporate Physical Activity Each Day

    Try exercising outdoors regularly for that fresh air! | 4 Ways to Boost Your Immune System | image © prostooleh, Freepik
    Try exercising outdoors regularly for that fresh air! | 4 Ways to Boost Your Immune System | image © prostooleh, Freepik

    Exercising regularly lowers our risk of developing chronic diseases like obesity, Type-2 diabetes, as well as viral and bacterial infections. It also increases the release of “endorphins”, hormones that reduce pain and create feelings of pleasure. These endorphins can help us relax and reduce stress, thus leading to an improved immune response.

    For adults, try getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise spread out through the week. These activities can be walking, jogging, or cycling. For high-intensity aerobic exercises, 75 minutes a week will be plenty enough.

    You can also try your hands at strength training twice a week. Aside from building muscle, it can help fortify your bones, and improve food processing.

  2.  Reach for Nutritious Foods and Stay Hydrated

    Make sure to eat a variety of fruits, veggies, proteins, and grains to get all the nutrients your body needs | 4 Ways to Boost Your Immune System | image © Freepik
    Make sure to eat a variety of fruits, veggies, proteins, and grains to get all the nutrients your body needs | 4 Ways to Boost Your Immune System | image © Freepik

    The food that we eat are essential to keeping our immune system in tip top shape. Since food is mainly where we get vitamins and nutrients, we must be conscious of which types of foods we put in our mouths.

    For a diet that supports good immune health, incorporate more plants and plant-based foods. Eat more fruits and veggies. Add them to stews, smoothies, and salads. Or, eat them as snacks!

    Also, do not forget to hydrate! Choose healthy liquids like water and limit or avoid alcoholic beverages and sugary drinks. Also avoid toxins like tobacco if you can.

  3.  Get Plenty of Restorative Sleep

    7-9 hours of restful sleep every night recharges your immune system! | 4 Ways to Boost Your System | image © ansiia, Freepik
    7-9 hours of restful sleep every night recharges your immune system! | 4 Ways to Boost Your System | image © ansiia, Freepik

    Sleep is when your body heals and regenerates. It is a crucial time for your immune system to prepare for the next day’s tasks ahead. If you do not get enough sleep, your immune system may not be able to defend your body against harmful bacteria and viruses. A well-rested body is more likely to fight off illnesses.

    For adults, it is recommended to get between 7 to 9 hours of restful sleep. To help you achieve this, practice good sleep hygiene. Try turning off electronics at least 2 to 3 hours before sleeping. You can also avoid violent or stressful books and conversations just before you turn in for the night.

  4.  Strive for Mental Balance

    Stress causes our body to initiate a “fight-or-flight” response. This is our natural reaction to immediately dangerous or high pressure situations. However, a body in a constant state of “fight-or-flight” because of constant stressors actually bocks the immune system from kicking into gear to protect the body.

    So, exploring stress reduction techniques can also be a way to boost our immune system. You can use meditation apps, journaling, or any relaxing activity you enjoy to release stress. Read our article on Practicing Mindfulness for Stress Management to know about a few techniques for managing stress.

Things to Think About…

As you can see, there are a lot of moving parts that factor into a healthy immune system. We must be reminded that health needs to be holistic. Therefore, aside from keeping up with our physical body’s needs, we should also consider addressing our mental and emotional health and wellbeing as they equally contribute to the function of our immune system as a whole.

 


References:

Bedosky, Lauren. “8 Ways to Keep Your Immune System Healthy.” Everyday Health, Everyday Health. July 26, 2023. https://www.everydayhealth.com/healthy-living/ways-to-keep-your-immune-system-healthy/

Minnesota Department of Health. “Micronutrients That Support Immunity.” Topic of the Month – WIC Program. December 7, 2022.

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