If you want to improve your immune system, you might be wondering how to help your body fight off illness. While boosting your immunity is easier said than done, there are several lifestyle and dietary changes that can strengthen your body’s natural defense.
Get enough sleep
Immunity and sleep are closely related. Keep in mind that lack of sleep can increase the risk of getting sick. According to one study, where 164 healthy adults participated, those who slept less than 6 hours were more likely to catch a cold than those who had six hours or more.
Getting enough sleep can improve your natural immunity and allow your body to fight illnesses. Adults should sleep on average seven or more hours, while teenagers require up to ten hours. However, many people have issues falling asleep. To avoid this from happening, make sure to limit your TV or phone screen exposure at least one hour before bed. Also, try sleeping in a completely dark room with a sleep mask.
Eat plant-based food
Plant-based food such as legumes, seeds, nuts, veggies, and fruits are packed in antioxidants and nutrients that might offer you an upper hand against harmful viruses and bacteria. The antioxidants in these foods minimize inflammation processes in your body and combat so-called free radicals responsible for this inflammation.
Be aware that chronic inflammation is often linked to various health conditions, including certain types of cancer, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease. On the other hand, fibers in plant food contribute to healthy bacteria in your stomach. A healthy gut microbiome can boost your immunity by preventing harmful pathogens from entering your body through the digestive tract.
Focus on healthy fats
Healthy fats usually found in salmon or olive oil may enhance your immune response by minimizing inflammation. Even though low-level inflammation is a typical response to anxiety or injury, chronic inflammation can overpower your immunity.
Olive oil is an efficient anti-inflammatory ingredient and is associated with a decreased risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart conditions. On the other hand, omega-3 fatty acids found in chia seeds and salmon can fight inflammation.
Fermented food and probiotic supplements
Fermented food is packed in probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that populate your digestive tract. These include natto, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, and yogurt. In a three-month study, 126 children who drank 2.4 ounces of fermented milk had approximately 20% fewer chances of developing the infectious disease than a control group.
However, if you don’t regularly consume fermented food, you can resort to probiotic supplements. In a 28-day study, 152 people were infected with a rhinovirus. Those who consumed probiotic supplements had a stronger immune system or lower virus levels in their nasal mucus.
Minimize intake of sugar
Refined carbs and added sugar lead to obesity and overweight, which are linked to numerous health conditions. According to one research, around 1,000 obese people who received a flu vaccine were more likely to still get the influence than individuals who had a healthy body weight.