Can Healthy Habits Boost Your Immunity? Here's How!

Can Healthy Habits Boost Your Immunity? Here's How!

Can Healthy Habits Boost Your Immunity? Here's How!

No one can deny the rising interest in immune health over the past few years. Are you among the numerous folks curious about steps they can take to bolster their immune system? Good news! There are various healthy lifestyle habits you can incorporate into your daily routine that support both your immune system and overall health.

How does your immune system work, you might ask? Well, it has four major responsibilities to protect you from pathogens and alien substances:

  1. Physical barriers (like your skin and mucous membranes) prevent pathogens from infiltrating your body
  2. The immune system identifies foreign bodies that manage to bypass this barrier
  3. It then works to eradicate these unwelcome pathogens
  4. Finally, it creates 'memories' that recognize these new pathogens for future encounters

Our innate immune system comprises the physical barrier, while the adaptive immune system hosts specialized cells defending your body.

So, how can you fortify your immune system? By incorporating simple, healthy practices that enhance your overall wellbeing daily. Here are eight ways to do just that.

  1. Prioritize quality sleep

Ever wonder how important sleep is for your immune system? It's crucial! Sleeping aids your body in fighting off illnesses more effectively. It's also during sleep that your body carries out essential maintenance and repairs.

  1. Incorporate more plants into your diet

Plant-based foods are packed with crucial antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that aren't found in other food groups. How about adding some of the world's healthiest foods to your meals – think kale, spinach, moringa, blueberries, garlic, walnuts, ginger, and more!

Antioxidants in plant-based foods help eliminate free radicals in your body, which stem from pollution, other foods, medication, and other exposures.

  1. Use probiotic supplements

Did you know that an estimated 70% of the immune system resides in the gut? To maintain a healthy gut, a balance of gut bacteria is essential. Balanced gut bacteria can inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria and fortify the gut barrier function.

Not sure how to support gut bacteria?

Consider eating probiotic-rich foods like kefir, yogurt, miso, sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, and kombucha. Avoid antibiotics that kill beneficial gut bacteria – only take these under a doctor's direction. Incorporate prebiotic-rich foods that feed gut bacteria into your diet, such as apples, bananas, leafy greens, onions, garlic, and artichokes. Avoid highly-processed, fried foods. Consider taking a probiotic supplement for daily support.

Probiotic supplements work best when taken with a meal, but you can use them at any time of the day. They provide 20 million colony forming units in each serving to help maintain digestive balance.

  1. Engage in regular physical activity

Did you know that exercise boosts the circulation of your immune cells? This enhancement allows your immune system to respond more rapidly and effectively to potential pathogens. A weekly total of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise can help bolster immune health. Just remember, it's essential not to overdo it. Find an activity you love and get moving!

  1. Keep stress levels in check

Excess stress can take a toll on your immune health and function. When you're stressed, your immune system's capacity to ward off pathogens diminishes. According to the American Psychological Association, stress can decrease the number of natural killer cells or lymphocytes in the body. Stress also increases the production of cortisol, the "stress hormone," which can negatively impact the body's immune response. That's why it's crucial to manage stress consistently.

  1. Spend quality time outdoors

According to studies - spending time outdoors can actually enhance your immune health. Sun exposure helps your body produce Vitamin D, a nutrient that aids in supporting the immune system and maintaining bone health. Moreover, being in nature reduces stress.

Did you know that when you're outside, you're exposed to and breathe in phytoncides? These are plant chemicals that help fight disease. For humans, they boost NK cells in the immune system. This benefit is one reason why forest bathing has grown in popularity recently.

  1. Regularly wash your hands

This may seem like a no-brainer, but frequent and proper hand washing aids your immune system by keeping germs at bay. Hand washing eliminates germs from your hands, preventing them from entering your body when you touch your face, mouth, eyes, or nose. In essence, washing your hands aids your immune system in ways you might not even realize!

  1. Stay hydrated

Hydration is vital for the optimal functioning of your immune system. When dehydrated, the movement of lymph, a fluid that transports immune cells throughout the body, can slow down. Even if you're not exercising, you're constantly losing water throughout the day, which needs to be replaced. Not everyone enjoys drinking water, but it's essential for both the immune system and several other bodily functions.

When it comes to supporting your immune system, there's no magic pill or quick-fix. Maintaining a robust immune system requires a consistent routine of many healthy lifestyle habits. It's equally important not to overdo it and over-stimulate your body - the key is balance.

Looking for more ways to improve your lifestyle habits? Don't miss our daily health tips and recipes on Instagram and on our blog. We're here to help you every step of the way!