If you want to boost your immune health, you may wonder how to help your body fight off illnesses. While bolstering your immunity is easier said than done, several dietary and lifestyle changes may strengthen your body’s natural defenses and help you fight harmful pathogens, or disease-causing organisms.
1. Get enough sleep
Sleep and immunity are closely tied. In fact, inadequate or poor quality sleep is linked to a higher susceptibility to sickness. Getting adequate rest may strengthen your natural immunity. Also, you may sleep more when sick to allow your immune system to better fight the illness.
Adults should aim to get 7 or more hours of sleep each night, while teens need 8–10 hours and younger children and infants up to 14 hours. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try limiting screen time for an hour before bed, as the blue light emitted from your phone, TV, and computer may disrupt your circadian rhythm, or your body’s natural wake-sleep cycle.
2. Eat more whole plant foods
Whole plant foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that may give you an upper hand against harmful pathogens. The antioxidants in these foods help decrease inflammation by combatting unstable compounds called free radicals, which can cause inflammation when they build up in your body in high levels.
Chronic inflammation is linked to numerous health conditions, including heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and certain cancers.
Meanwhile, the fiber in plant foods feeds your gut microbiome, or the community of healthy bacteria in your gut. A robust gut microbiome can improve your immunity and help keep harmful pathogens from entering your body via your digestive tract.
Furthermore, fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients like vitamin C, which may reduce the duration of the common cold.
3. Eat more healthy fats
Healthy fats, like those found in olive oil and salmon, may boost your body’s immune response to pathogens by decreasing inflammation. Although low-level inflammation is a normal response to stress or injury, chronic inflammation can suppress your immune system.
Olive oil, which is highly anti-inflammatory, is linked to a decreased risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Plus, its anti-inflammatory properties may help your body fight off harmful disease-causing bacteria and viruses.
Omega-3 fatty acids, such as those in salmon and chia seeds, fight inflammation as well.
4. Limit added sugars
Emerging research suggests that added sugars and refined carbs may contribute disproportionately to overweight and obesity. Obesity may likewise increase your risk of getting sick.
According to an observational study in around 1,000 people, people with obesity who were administered the flu vaccine were twice as likely to still get the flu than individuals without obesity who received the vaccine. Curbing your sugar intake can decrease inflammation and aid weight loss, thus reducing your risk of chronic health conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Given that obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease can all weaken your immune system, limiting added sugars is an important part of an immune-boosting diet. You should strive to limit your sugar intake to less than 5% of your daily calories. This equals about 2 tablespoons (25 grams) of sugar for someone on a 2,000-calorie diet.
5. Engage in moderate exercise
Although prolonged intense exercise can suppress your immune system, moderate exercise can give it a boost. Studies indicate that even a single session of moderate exercise can boost the effectiveness of vaccines in people with compromised immune systems. What’s more, regular, moderate exercise may reduce inflammation and help your immune cells regenerate regularly.
Examples of moderate exercise include brisk walking, steady bicycling, jogging, swimming, and light hiking. Most people should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.
6. Stay hydrated
Hydration doesn’t necessarily protect you from germs and viruses, but preventing dehydration is important to your overall health. Dehydration can cause headaches and hinder your physical performance, focus, mood, digestion, and heart and kidney function. These complications can increase your susceptibility to illness.
To prevent dehydration, you should drink enough fluid daily to make your urine pale yellow. Water is recommended because it’s free of calories, additives, and sugar. While tea and juice are also hydrating, it’s best to limit your intake of fruit juice and sweetened tea because of their high sugar contents.
As a general guideline, you should drink when you’re thirsty and stop when you’re no longer thirsty. You may need more fluids if you exercise intensely, work outside, or live in a hot climate. It’s important to note that older adults begin to lose the urge to drink, as their bodies do not signal thirst adequately. Older adults need to drink regularly even if they do not feel thirsty.
7. Use Essential Oil
Some studies indicate that the following essential oil may strengthen your body’s general immune response:
Rosehip is part of the fruit that grows on the blossom of a wild rose called Rosa canina. Rosehips are packed full of vitamin C and other antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. They also contain a substance that fights inflammation.
Rosehip essential oil is beneficial for:
1. Nourish the uterus, improve fertility, relieve dysmenorrhea and menopausal symptoms
2. Reduce scarring, hydrate dry sensitive skin and restore skin elasticity for fairer, firmer and healthier skin
3. Improves circulation, reduces stress, reduces scar and stretch marks
Derived from flowers of bitter orange.It has a royal, elegant and uplifting aroma. Neroli is named after an Italian Princess of the 17th Century who loved to pepper her belongings with it for protection during the period of Black Death. A precious oil, 1000kg of flowers are needed to extract 1kg of Neroli essential oil. Neroliis revered as one of the best oils to calm and stabilize the heart and mind,one of the most effective sedative and antidepressant remedies.
Neroli essential oil is beneficial for:
1. Circulatory System – Peripheral circulation and palpitations, immunostimulant
2. Digestive System –Indigestion, flatulence, chronic diarrhea and hiccups
3. Integumentary System – Nourishes skin, stimulates growth of healthy new cells, reduces stretch marks and scars, tones complexion
4. Nervous System – Sedative and antidepressant,useful for palpitations, irritability and insomnia.
5. Reproductive System – Pre-menstrual symptoms, menopause
Vitamin E is essential to maintain youthfulness. Studies have shown that human body cells divide 50 times before dying, while cells treated with Vitamin E can divide more than 120 times, extending the lives of cells by 2 to 4 times, retarding ageing.
Vitamin E is beneficial for:
1. Retard and alleviate symptoms of ageing
2. Promote hormone secretion in the body for both genders
3. Females: Increase estrogen concentration, enhance fertility and prevent miscarriages
4. Males: Boost sperm motility
The benefits of lavender were actually discovered over 2,500 years ago. Because of its powerful antioxidant, antimicrobial, sedative, calming and antidepressive properties, lavender oil benefits abound and it’s been used both cosmetically and therapeutically for centuries.
Lavender essential oil is beneficial for:
1. Reduce anxiety and emotional stress
2. Protect against diabetes symptoms
3. Help to heal burns and wounds
4. Restore skin complexion and reduce acne
5. Relieve pain & alleviate headaches