Fall is on its way and with it comes more indoor time, more colds, runny noses, and potential for sickness. You know that you should get enough sleep, eat your fruits and veggies and exercise. But do you know why these things are so important to your health? Well, they all support your body’s natural immune defenses.
In fact, a healthy lifestyle can help fight off colds and the flu more effectively than any single vitamin or supplement could ever do on its own. If you want to maintain good health then here are some tips for improving your natural immune defenses.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is vital for your immune system to function properly. Your body releases hormones during sleep that help fight infection, so you need adequate sleep to ensure that your immune system is at its healthiest. The recommended amount of nightly rest for adults is seven to eight hours per night. However, most adults get fewer hours than this or they get interruptions throughout the night.
In addition to boosting your natural defenses, getting enough sleep can also keep them strong by helping your body heal itself after an injury or illness. In fact, when you don’t get enough sleep it makes you more likely to have a cold or the flu because it suppresses white blood cells, the ones responsible for fighting off infections.
Take Natural Supplements
While food is the best way to consume vital nutrients, sometimes, you can’t get the nutrition you need from food alone. Consider taking vitamin and mineral supplements if you’re not getting enough in your diet. Get advice from a health professional before taking supplements, as some may interact with other medications and supplements. Follow the label directions on all products you use, even natural ones.
Balance Your Hormones
Hormones are chemicals produced by the body that control bodily functions and regulate the body’s metabolism. They’re necessary for normal body function. Hormones are produced by glands located all over the body, including your brain, kidneys, skin, and ovaries or testes. When these hormones are out of balance they can leave the immune system weaker and less capable of fighting off illnesses. Simple hormone testing will let you know what hormones may need to be brought back into balance.
Eat Fruits and Vegetables
Another way to help boost your immune system is by eating fruits and vegetables. These foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help protect the body from free radicals, which are harmful to your immune system. Fruits and vegetables are also high in fiber and water, which can help you feel fuller for longer.
Exercise and Meditate
The immune system is highly responsive to stress. When you’re feeling stressed out, your body releases cortisol and other hormones which suppress your immune cells. This can lead to a slower healing time, increased susceptibility to infection, and even depression. For this reason, it is important that you take time each day to meditate or exercise in order to reduce the effects of stress on your body. Meditation has been proven effective in lowering cortisol levels while also increasing blood flow and oxygen supply in the brain.
Stress is a major contributor to a weakened immune system. When you’re stressed, your body produces more cortisol. This is a hormone that helps regulate blood pressure but also suppresses the immune system. Stress can also lead to depression and anxiety. Both of these conditions are linked with a lowered ability to fight off infections. Stress can be caused by work, family, and personal relationships, financial problems, health issues, and more.
Cut Out Processed Sugar
Sugar can suppress your immune system for hours after consuming it. Fruit sugars and sugars from raw honey do not have these same negative effects. Sugar can also cause inflammation in the body, which is a sign of disease. Over time, this inflammation leads to chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and tooth decay.
These tips are a great way to start improving your natural immune defenses. But if you’re looking for something more powerful, there are more advanced options. For example, vitamin D plays an important role in muscle strength and bone health, and it may also boost your immune system by helping white blood cells fight infections. Talk with your medical professionals for advice on how much you need to stay healthy.