Scientists have been conducting research on immunity for years. Since the immune system is made up of so many parts, it has been difficult to pinpoint exactly how certain lifestyle changes can impact such a complex system. Regardless, evidence has given us some clues as to how we can maintain a healthy immune system. After all, a healthy body is a healthy immune system. Here are some ways you can help your body’s fight against illness and infection:
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
When your body is healthy, your risk for preventable illness and infectious disease decreases. A healthy diet and regular exercise are the two main essentials for boosting and maintaining a strong immune system. Keep your plate colorful and load up on plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are jam-packed with vitamins C and E, and consider adding garlic to your grocery list, which may help kill bacteria and fight viruses. On top of eating healthy, make sure you get at least thirty minutes of exercise per day. This could mean a short walk or jog in the mornings, or joining that yoga class you’ve had your eye on for a while.
Get some Sleep
Getting a good night’s rest is one of the best things you can do for your overall health. It can increase mood, reduce stress, improve judgment and memory, and—you guessed it—it can keep your immune system in tip top shape. Your body needs rest to repair itself at night, and research has shown that a healthy sleep schedule can help prevent illness. Doctors recommend 7-9 hours of sleep for adults to keep the body strong and healthy.
Wash your Hands
If you’re looking to avoid illness, wash your hands regularly. Antibacterial soap kills germs, which prevents infection. Germs can enter the body through any orifice, especially on the face. You might not be conscious of it, but chances are you’re going to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth at some point during the day. Washing your hands is especially vital in avoiding diarrhea or respiratory diseases. Not to mention, washing your hands will prevent the spread of germs to anyone who might have a weaker immune system than you, including children and the elderly.
Emotional stress can manifest itself as physical illness in a number of ways: hives, upset stomach, heart disease. While the effects of long-term stress on immunity are still being assessed, researchers have found that stressful situations can reduce aspects of cellular immune response, so one can imagine what a stressful lifestyle might contribute to one’s general immunity. Stress can be hard to manage, but getting your stress under control may improve your ability to fight illnesses like the common cold, or even more serious diseases. Try unwinding with a good book on your down time, drinking herbal tea, or meditating. If you suffer from chronic stress, or even generalized anxiety disorder, seek the help of a counselor.
Make Healthy Connections
Connecting with other people and building healthy relationships can reduce stress, and thus lead to a stronger immune system. Research has shown that isolation can lead to a weaker immune response to viruses. Not to mention, “laughter is the best medicine”. Just the act of laughing itself may boost your immune system. It relaxes the body and releases endorphins, which promote a sense of well-being and can even work to treat pain.
Maintaining your immunity is essential for a life of longevity and physical well-being. Following these simple steps will help you achieve that.