Do you feel like your one who gets sicker during winters? Bloodshot eyes and runny nose while your friends and family sail through winters without even a sneeze? Well, maybe your immune system is not as strong as it could be.
It is very common for us to get extra cautious about our health in winters, but we neglect our health during other parts of the year. Turns out, our body is constantly working and fighting off germs and micro invaders all year long.
Our immune system is working 24/7/365 with no breaks or time off. Thanks to our diligent and faithful immune system we for the most part stay alive every day, free from the nasty micro-varmints causing us harm.
The immune system is our internal defense system. It is a network of organs, tissues, and cells that defend our body against any harmful intruders like fungi, bacteria and viruses. Even though you can’t see them with the naked eye, these harmful pathogens are everywhere.
If you have a strong immune system it will protect your by blocking harmful substances from entering the body. If the varmints do enter your body, then our capable system produces its soldiers the called the white blood cells. These army of white blood cells, associated proteins and chemicals go on a seek-and-destroy mission to eliminate invader.
Our immune system has the ability to identify and target nearly all types of antigens or harmful substances. So it can quickly destroy them. If you have an efficiently working immune system, it can keep flu or even cancer at bay.
What happens if the immune system is not strong?
Although our immune system is miraculously strong, it can sometimes lose strength leaving you vulnerable, not strong enough to keep up the fight. Experts suggest that people who do not eat a healthy diet, live an inactive life or don’t get enough sleep are more susceptible to a weakened immune system. When this system is not doing its best, your body gets overwhelmed by the invaders and eventually gets sick.
Tips for a Strong Immune System
There are no shortcuts to strengthening your immune system. No single supplement or pill will boost your immunity. Like any good fighting force, we need to slowly and gradually adopt healthy and mindful lifestyle changes that builds a strong, viable, long-lasting protective immunity.
Here are a few tips that can save you from repeated visits to the doctors due to weak immunity.
- Get adequate quality sleep
You might not realize it, but sleep is critical for a healthy immune system because many essential processes occur in the body while we are sleeping. During sleep our body produces cytokines (a protein that can mediate and regulate inflammation and immunity), T-cells (a type of white blood cells crucial for immune response), and interleukin 12 (a pro-inflammatory cytokine).
Getting 7-hours of sleep per night for adults can be very beneficial. Teenagers need 8-10 hours and children and infants need up to 14 hours of sleep per day. It is recommended to sleep more when you are sick as it will help your body to fight better against sickness.
On the other hand, a poor sleep routine or inadequate sleep may increase illness susceptibility. Moreover, it can raise cortisol levels which is also unhealthy for the immune system. To assure a healthy sleep routine, turn off the electronics 1-2 hours before bed because the light that emits from your TV, phones, etc., may disturb your wake-sleep cycle. Plus, sleep in a completely dark room or use a sleep mask and try to sleep at the same time every night.
You also try a natural sleep aid like a 2:1 formula of CBD/D8 or a CBN blend which relaxes your body and clears your mind long enough to fall asleep.
- Maintain a healthy diet
A healthy diet is the key to strengthening your body’s immune system. Make sure to eat whole plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, and nuts because they are full of antioxidants and nutrients. Antioxidants play a vital role in reducing inflammation (which is linked to many health conditions) by fighting against various unstable compounds that cause inflammation. The fiber in the plants prevents the entry of pathogens from the digestive tract by strengthening the gut’s microbial flora.
Moreover, research has shown that many spices such as cinnamon, clove, etc., possess anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties that are beneficial against infections. Another study reveals that the zinc, iron, folate, copper, and vitamin A, C, E, B12, and B6 we take in our diet are essential for our immune system to work efficiently.
Take sufficient protein because amino acids help build and maintain the immune cells and antibodies of our body. Furthermore, deficiency of vitamin C can increase the chances of infection, so keep proper intake of Vitamin C through citrus fruits (orange, kiwi, etc.). Also, make healthy fats such as olive oil and salmon a part of your diet to make your immune response strong. Omega-3 fatty acids of salmon and chia seeds are highly anti-inflammatory and can prevent many health conditions.
- Using CBD oil
You’ve all probably heard about the incredible health benefits of CBD. But did you know that it can also play a role in boosting your immunity? CBD oil works by acting on the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is considered one of the “gatekeepers” of immunity.
CBD oil can positively influence the body’s immune system by direct and indirect mechanisms. CBD has been shown to act both as an immunosuppressant and an immunomodulator. CBD oil promotes the activity of natural killer cells, a type of white blood cells that respond against virus invasion. Additionally, it also supports the natural killer T-cells that share the traits of T-cells.
In some studies, CBD has also been shown to suppress psychological stress in humans, hence indirectly maintaining your immune functions. Moreover, the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD oil can help relieve the inflammatory response of the immune system. CBD oil suppresses the secretion and activities of cytokines, chemokines, T-helper, and T-cytotoxic cells, which helps in the treatment of various autoimmune diseases.
- Regular Exercise
Exercise isn’t just about building muscles and relieving stress; it is also a means to maintain a healthy immune system. Our body functions well when we are physically active. Exercise can improve the body’s overall circulation, making it easier for immune cells to travel to the target site, thus ultimately boosting the immune response. However, intense exercise can hurt your immune system, making you more susceptible to illness and infection, while a moderate exercise session can be beneficial.
Regular exercise lowers the risk of viral and bacterial infections and prevents the development of chronic diseases. According to the physical activities guidelines mentioned by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an adult should moderate exercise of 150 minutes per week, which may include jogging, swimming, brisk walking, and bicycling.
Moderate exercise promotes the regeneration of immune cells and reduces inflammation. In addition to this, it stimulates the production of endorphins which are handy in managing stress. It is encouraged to exercise outdoor; spending some time with nature can lower blood pressure and have a pleasant effect on mood.
- Stay hydrated
Staying hydrated doesn’t necessarily defend you from bacteria and viruses, but it is crucial for your general health. Lymph is fluid in our circulatory system that is majorly made of water; it carries important infection-fighting immune cells around your body. There are many functions of water in our body, and the supporting immune system is one of them. Dehydration can slow down the activity of lymph, which sometimes can lead to an impaired immune system.
Moreover, dehydration can hinder your physical activities, attention, mood, digestion, and heart and kidney functions. To avoid all these complications, stay hydrated by drinking enough fluid every day. You will need more water during intense exercise or a hot climate
But even if you’re not exercising or sweating, you’re constantly losing water through breathing and urine. To help boost your immune system, you should continuously replace the lost water. As a general guideline, you should drink when you’re thirsty and stop drinking when you’re no longer thirsty.
Tea and juices are also hydrating fluids, but it’s best to limit your intake of fruit juices and sweetened tea because they contain high sugar contents. Water is the best alternative because it’s free of calories, additives, and sugar.
- Manage stress
Stress and anxiety can influence your immune system, whether it comes on quickly or build up over time. Chronic stress is long-lasting and can cause inflammation and imbalance in your immune functions.
Moreover, long-term stress leads to constantly elevated cortisol levels, which block the body’s immune functions. There are many stress managing techniques, including yoga, meditation, drawing, fishing, and much more; all you have to do is find the right one. You can also approach a qualified and licensed therapist or psychologist.
- Quit smoking
Besides many other potential toxic effects, cigarette smoking can also affect your immune system. The lethal chemicals such as nicotine, nitrogen oxides, and carbon monoxide emitted in cigarette smoke can hinder the growth and functions of the T-cells, B-cells, and cytokines which are essential components of our immune system.
Smoking can increase the threat of lung diseases and worsens viral, bacterial, and post-surgical infections. If you are a smoker, it is strongly advised to quit this habit for the sake of your health. Many medications and therapies are there to help you kick smoking out of your life.
- Strengthen love and relations
Research shows that you a strong immune system helps you enjoy good relations with your friends and family. People with good loving relations have a healthy body as compared to others. Moreover, enjoying good sexual relations can also keep your immune system strong. Good sexual relations also help build immunity by promoting good sleep and reducing stress.
The immune system is one of our body’s major systems that protects us against harmful pathogens. Keeping the immune system healthy and strong is the key to maintaining a healthy body. We can strengthen our immune system by incorporating various dietary and other lifestyle changes. With a strong and robust immune system, we can easily defend ourselves against any type of pathogen and live healthy, happy life.