Before we talk about or tell you about how to increase immunity power, we would first like to tell you something about the immune system, and then proceed, so that a better understanding comes through.
What is the immune system?
The immune system is a network comprising cells, and a group of cells that form tissues, and a group of tissues that form the organs, which later on specialise and form the system. Now all of these together work in tandem to fight alien invaders in our bodies. It is a fact that microbes and viruses can cause diseases if left unchecked, and thus, it is the job of the immune system to keep us safe from them. If the immune system fails, we fall sick. So what the immune system does it to eradicate and kill each of the pesky pathogens and viruses that can make us sick.
Now that you have an overview of what the immune system is all about and how it works, let’s take a look at how to increase immunity power.
Ways to boost your immune system?
As we know, we owe it to the immune system which boosts our body and keeps it free from foreign invaders and aliens that can cause a host of health issues and diseases. However, at times, even the immune system can fail and would need our help. Is it possible for us to help the immune system and to help with the boost of power too? Is it diet related? Do we need to take additional supplements or herbal supplements? Do we need to make major lifestyle changes? Let’s take a look!
Here’s what you need to understand
We have to remember, the immune system is not a single entity, but a system. And for it to function to its prime, it has to be harmonized and well-balanced too. As of now, there are no scientifically proven links to show that a lifestyle change can enhance the workings of the immune system at large; it works for many though. It is intriguing and should be studied further. There are even scholars that are studying to know how yoga, the right diet, age, hereditary and genetics, or even exercises of a certain kind can help boost the power of the immune system. Other factors such as depression, stress et al, can or cannot play a role in the boosting of the immune system; it is still being studied. However, here is a list of the pointers that are answers to how to increase immunity power.
Healthy living strategies
Your first line of defense should be that of a lifestyle quite healthy to choose. This can keep the immune system strong and very healthy for long. In turn, your body would thank you with a fit and nice immune system; good functioning of the body assured when the situations around are not so friendly.
Quit the nicotine Stick
We cannot stress enough on this; smoking is bad for your health, and it messes up the respiratory system. It also leads to early signs of aging and plenty of other health issues. This makes the immune system weaker by the day. A cigarette to smoke is also not cool!
Healthy eating habits
Once in a while, a pack of fries and a cola is alright, but not daily or regularly. Your meals should include a large variety of veggies and fruits, organic and fresh ones. Whole grains are a must to have and anything in low saturated foods would be great to help boost the immune system too.
Make it a habit to love yourself a little more and to stop being sedentary. We understand how tough it is to have a job, run the home and do a ton load of other things, but all we ask from you is half an hour a day. Freehand exercises can be done or yoga, deep breathing, and meditation too. It helps boost the immune system, and that would be your personal ‘me time’ too, say experts.
A healthy weight should be maintained
Eating healthy is important. You should take time out on a Sunday and pre-plan your meals. For example, plan your five breakfasts, which should have proteins and carbs in it to keep you energized through the day, all week long. Include healthy snacking options, sans oil and sugars or salts in it as much as possible. Lunches should be light and mostly prepared from home, and dinners should be very light. This would not only help keep the system strong but would also help you stay full for longer, keep your weight in control and you will see how your hair, skin, and nails thank you for the care and effort that you have put into eating right.
Manage your blood pressure
There are many lifestyle changes and eating habits you could imbibe to manage your blood pressure levels. It would be best to speak to your doctor and not take a generalized stance on the same, simply because the needs for blood pressure control differs from one to the next. When the blood pressure is in control, you are safe from the all-hazards of an affected immune system, says medical sources.
Lesser alcohol, please
Alcohol over the weekend, a peg or two is just fine. While some studies say a glass of wine every day is good, other schools of thought say otherwise. We would once again take the midway here and ask you to speak to the doctor on the same. However, the general thumb rule for drinking is to have it in moderation. The immune system thus would be stable and you would not be prone to illnesses.
You should get enough rest
One needs to have at least eight hours of sleep each night, which helps with cell rejuvenation, cell repair, and the immune system gets to recharge itself, say medical experts. Imagine not sleeping well, having disturbed sleep all night, or not sleeping at all? The next day you would be cranky and not in a position to get to work or conduct daily duties. This is because the immune system and the other systems in the body have not had the time to refresh and recharge themselves; an overload would be on them, which will ultimately crash. This would lead to illnesses. So yes, sleep is one way important to boost the immune system.
When shopping for immune boosting products!
These days, there are many retail outlets and online stores that sell a lot of immune boosting products, supplements, tonics, and medications. We would ask you to be very wary of the pills you are popping in, just because of the claims they make. There are cases where people have engaged in blood doping to help pump more blood into their systems which in turn produce more blood cells to enhance their energy levels and performance, and have had worse case scenarios as side effects in doing so. Don’t be a statistic to the same. Attempting to boost the immune system is risky. Simply because we have varied type of cells by nature in our bodies, and they all respond very differently to the microbes present within us. You would not know which cells need a boost and which don’t. Even scientists too are baffled by this, and that is why it is not safe and wise to use immune boosting products without consulting a specialist.
Immunity and age
We cannot stop gracefully aging, and hence we should lovingly accept it. And as we age, the immune system we are born with gradually takes a beating. This means we are more prone to infections and inflammations, illnesses and more, much more than what it was when we were younger. Life expectancy has developed all across the world, but that has not brought down the incidence of age-related conditions. The elderly as many scientists say are more prone to falling sick because of weaker immune systems, than the younger ones. So it is important that as we age, our lifestyles are modified and so would be the eating habits. Daily walks are a must for the health to stay fit and prime.
Talking about diets
A good diet would be the fighting force for the immune system to bank upon. We did mention how to control your weight and eat healthy, which are important aspects of staying fit and keeping the immune system in good stead. Good and regular nourishment makes the warriors of the immune system, fine and strong. The body would not be malnourished and there would not be infectious diseases and disorders attacking you too. When nutrition is sufficient, the effect on the immune system is positive. Studies are still on to check on the relationship between nutrition and the immune system.
Supplements and herbs
If you check online or walk into any store, you would find shelves stocked with supplements and herbs that claim to make the immune system strong. Sources from the medical world once again ask you to check first with your family doctor, before consuming the same. Some of these supplements and herbs may not be natural or may be produced from synthetic sources. Even researchers are baffled if these claims are true or not, and most of them are NOT APPROVED BY THE USFDA. Natural herbs found in farmer markets or the local bazaars are known to be nutritious and good to consume, and they can help the immune system to a large extent. For example, ginger is good for the immune system to fight off pathogens that cause respiratory issues. There are also herbs that help boost antibodies in the body, and for that, it would be best to consult an expert.
Stress and immunity
In this day and age, medical practitioners use a lot of medication to help us beat stress. They say there is a connection between the emotions we have and the immune system too, and hence prescribe medicines for the same. Yes, there is a connection as mentioned, but one should remember that medication alone cannot beat stress. There are alternatives to medication too, such as massages, yoga, and deep breathing, which have been proved to boost the immune system. When you study the relationship between the immune system and stress, there are various challenges that are thrown open for debate. For example, stress as a concept has no definitive answer. What can stress you out, may or may not do the same to someone else. It is situations that make the stress happen. And there are no empirical formulas as such that can subjectify stress. So to be safe, it would be wise to have less of medication and to change your lifestyle a bit, doing yoga and meditation to beat stress.
Colds weather can make you sick!
You may have heard your mother telling you to wrap up in woolens the moment we have the cold breeze hitting the air, indicating winters are around. But science says, normal exposure to moderate chills and colds is good for the body and does not weaken the immune system. Flu season is winter season, but the fact that we spend more time inside and under the covers and sheets is what weakens the immune system. And then the germs attack the system, and whoever we come in contact with, we pass the germs onto them. Research shows that people who have purposely dunked themselves in cold water and sat in the nude with subfreezing temperatures have had a stronger immune system overall, than those who have covered themselves from top to toe to avoid falling sick. The former have had no issues with the upper respiratory system, and most of the same were seen in the latter set of people. We are not saying that you should not keep warm when the winter months are on, but if you are going to be outside and under the sun for long periods of time, the immune system would derive its strength from the rays of the sun. You do not need to cover up totally then.
Here are some of the natural habits that can boost the immune system
Laugh a bit
Yes, there is enough of sorrow and unhappiness around, and adding to that is not required. We need to laugh more, and by doing so, our immune systems would be strengthened and the mood levels would go high as well. Research shows that laughter can actually increase the levels of antibodies in the bloodstream, and the white blood cells would increase more. More WBCs means we have more warriors to kill pathogens and bacteria in the immune system.
Sing a little more
You don’t have to be a contestant on one of the popular contest shows on television to be a singer; bathroom singing is fine or singing to yourself as well can be done to boost the immune system, say, medical experts. The famous German choir was studied very well, and it was revealed that all their singers have had the best health. This is because singing activates the spleen, and this helps with better blood concentration of antibodies. Start now by belting out your favorite numbers in front of family and friends, and maybe in the shower too. Pretend to win a Grammy this time!
Are you eating friendly fats?
Friendly fats are very important for you to have. This is because they help build cell blocks and produce prostaglandins, which are hormonal compounds that help regulate the immune system. When this happens, the response to infection is perfect, and the white blood cells are activated and made stronger to help fight the harmful bacteria and viruses in the system. A research done on Italian athletes showed when they consumed unhealthy fats, their performance was low. Even low-fat diets too brought in low immunity. Experts ask you to have a lot of unsaturated vegetable fats rather than saturated ones from animal foods. This is because it helps the WBCs fight better. Transfats at all costs should be avoided, even if the packaging on the bottle says HYDROGENATED. They interfere a lot with the immune system.
Mackerel, sardines, and herring are the best to have since they contain proteins and omega 3 fatty acids- building blocks of the body that help boost the immune system. Whenever the body is attacked, the first response the body would have would be an acute inflammation. However, when the body is fed with proteins and omega 3s from fish, the number of inflammatory compounds and the production of antidotes to inflammation would be on the high. This helps aid the body in recovering soon, and in some cases, studies have shown that omega 3s can even help produce cells to kill cancer forming cells as well. Omega 3s also have been found to help the immune system, by switching back on the cells that have been attacked and to fight the foreign invaders too.
Do you like mushrooms?
If you like mushrooms, your immune system would be happy. In the Far East, reishi mushrooms are known to be consumed for more than two millennia. Research has shown that this fungus actually can help produce more T cells in the body, which are actually WBCs or white blood cells that protect the body from being attacked by infections of any sort. The level of strength is increased when the immune response in strong, and for that, you would need to have mushrooms. Even to bring down stress and bring down the levels of cortisol in the body, you can have mushrooms once a way.
Citrus and the immune system
Now that winters are here, there would be a lot of citrus fruits available in the markets to pick, buy and consume. Take advantage of the same- buy oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit. They have the powers to boost phagocytes or cells that kill and eat bacteria in the body. Remember, you can have the whole fruit, juice it up or make salads from them- since the body cannot store vitamin C, these fruits need to be consumed daily to help boost the immune system.
Do not be sedentary
A sedentary lifestyle is an invitation to ill-health. Th immune system can only be boosted further when you move about a lot. When you move around, there would be more blood cells being produced, and more WBCs in the bargain being made too, which can help kill the bacterial invaders. Simple walks and doing household chores would keep the body healthy.
To help make the immune system strong, sources from the medical world say that we should have at least two to three ounces of almonds every day. With the skin, the almonds should be had. It is said that in Italy, people suffering from herpes that cause cold sores are told to eat a handful of almonds daily to ward the disease away. When you have almonds with the skin, the WBCs in the body is able to detect the viruses and pathogens sooner. This helps the WBCs get stronger and to kill the viruses too. Almonds also have certain chemicals in them which helps kill viruses that spread through the immune system. This is how you can boost the immune system in a yummy way. Try it as a snacking option over tea time!
Don’t freeze yourself
While we did mention that you should not over do with the warm wrapping when the cold winter months hit, we did not mean that you freeze yourself too. You could weaken the immune system this way, and catch colds and coughs as well. When you freeze yourself to the limit, you could catch hypothermia and the amount of white blood cell generation in the body would come down too. This means that the immune systems first line of defense would be brought down. And then there would be nothing left for the immune system to bank upon.
Soups, warm and nice, thick and tasty are a must have this winter. They help a lot in keeping the immune system strong. You should have onions and garlic in the soup you have, which are potent antiviral agents that the body would need to resist infection. They can be added to leafy greens to make soup with, and this will add to the armory that fights infections. You get more beta-carotene in the body, which is an anti-inflammatory agent, and also which can raise the production of WBCs in the body too. If you want, you can add red chili peppers to the soup to enhance the taste, and also to thin out the nasal muscles. Mushrooms too can be added to help make the soup tastier, and to increase production of WBCs in the body, say medical sources.
Having sex can help
Studies have shown that those who have sex once or twice in a week, have very high levels of immunoglobulin A (IgA) in their saliva. This is an important immune molecule that helps the body against illnesses, such as common colds and coughs. When you have more of the salivary IgA the immune system stays strong!
Cuddle a pet
Have a pet at home! The bundle of joy your pet is would bring down the levels of stress, blood pressure and cholesterol levels in the body. Studies show that pet owners are happier people, enjoying good health as compared to those without one. This is because the blood pressure levels and the triglyceride levels in the body with pet owners are way lower than those that are not pet owners. You also have better immunity, overall health and a happier cardiovascular system too, say medical experts. You can engage in walks with your pet which is good for you and your pet. And as a child if you have a pet at home, you would not have to worry about allergies, since your immune system gets used to the pathogens around and makes them immune even if they try to attack.
Another way to boost immune system would be by socializing more. There are a lot of studies and evidence published around that says how good it is to socialize, since no one can live alone as an island. And it also helps boost the immune system too. Isolation and loneliness is bad for health, and these same studies tell us that those who have stronger social bonds and relationships are the ones that will live longer, healthier and happier lives, than those with poor socializing skills or connections. You can communicate online, make friends and meet them up or talk over the phone with them when you are free. Have lunches and dinners together as well, or maybe once in a while throw a gathering to meet and greet. You can even volunteer for charities where you would meet new people and expand the social circle scene too. They all add up to making the immune system stronger.
Positive attitude is the key
You know how they say ‘like meets like’; the same holds true when you are positive, you get to meet positive people that influence the right kind of attitude in you. Visualise and will what you want, and expect the best to happen to you, and this will help you make the immune system stronger. This is one of the answers to how to boost immune system, say many holistic experts. When you are optimistic, the happy hormones in the body play a good amount of games to help boost the immunity you are born with. Try being pessimistic and negative for a week, and you would notice how mentally and physically messed up you feel. Even the attitude towards people and life would change, when you think and act positive. Yes, we are human at the end of the day, and there would be ups and downs. And this is why, to be positive, we need to stop, think and respond. Try reading the book the LAW OF ATTRACTION or THE SECRET. The power of affirmations is one of the key to enjoying very good immunity for life.
Have a lot of antioxidants
Antioxidants are the gladiators we need for our bodies, and they keep the immune system strong and protect the cells in our bodies from the onslaught of free radicals too. They are compounds that are found in colorful fruits and veggies around the world. If free radicals are left unchecked, the immune system can go weak and the cells are attacked too. Have a lot of colorful fruits and veggies as salads. Include the likes of –
- Cantaloupe etc
They all help give your cells and immune system natural protection much needed.
Stay away from empty calories!
While quick snacking tempts us to eat unhealthy items such as fast food and sodas, sugary and salty snacks, please remember, that these are empty calories that affect the immune system like crazy. Your body gets no vitamins and nutrients or fiber, which the immune system needs to strengthen up. Empty calories have preservatives and chemicals in them that affect the body. Processed foods should be kept out of the house as much as possible. What you should have to boos the immune system are, natural and organics foods and foods that do not contain processed chemicals and preservatives in them. This helps bring in more nutrients and vitamins in the body, which helps the immune system thrive better. Opt also for fruits and veggies from organic stores, healthy fats and lean meats, whole grains too. They all help the immune system work to its best and support your health as well.
There are many herbs and healing plants out there that can help answer your question- how to boost immune system. Research and studies have shown that there are compounds in these herbs and supplements that can bring more life to the fascinating immune system we have. What your kitchen should have are-
- Milk thistle
- Green tea
- Black cumin
- Licorice to name a few.
These are just a few names of the plants that have been proven to boost the immune system. However, you should first talk with your doctor, just incase you have allergies towards any of these healing plants or are trying them out the first time. Some of them do produce side-effects which are mild to nil, and not harmful. But do talk to your doctor first. You could also try probitics which help beat and kill the effects of harmful bacteria and pathogens in the immune system.
Yes, handwashing frequently- before every meal – helps boost the immune system. This helps bring down the levels of bacteria and pathogens in the body and the immune system stays strong too. It can also help prevent coughs and colds, diarrhea and other infectious diseases too. Some germs are borne from HDC or human disease carriers- where germs travel from one person to the next. Anyone of us can be that, which is why it is important to have your hands washed between meals and each time you touch something that contaminates your hand. You can also carry a hand sanitizer too. Getting frequent manicures and pedicures would help, since the nails contain fungus if not cleaned properly and the immune system through the intugementary system of the body can bring in infections and diseases as well.
So here was all about how to increase immunity and how to improve immune system . We now shall give you a list of immune boosting foods!
Here is a list of immune boosting foods to have this winter- print them out and stick it on the fridge!
Ever heard of the wonders that probiotics can do for your immune system? They are active live cultures or healthy bacteria, which helps keep the gu and the gastrointestinal tract clean and free from germs that cause disease. One or two servings a day is more than enough.
Oats And Barley
They have beta-glucan in it which is a fiber type that has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Studies have shown, they can ward off issues such as herpes and influenza as well. One serving a day of oats or barley can do wonders for the immune system.
It has an active ingredient, allicin in it. Allicin helps fight pathogens that cause common colds and coughs. It can also contain the growth of colorectal cancer and stomach cancers too. Two raw cloves a day when eaten would be good for your immune system, say medical experts.
If you have five cups of black tea a day, it is said that the amino acids in it helps the immune system to fight off viruses. Black tea also has L theanine in it, and so does green tea, which can help fight free radicals and keep the immune system healthy.
Chicken soup for the soul or for the immune system, you get to decide? Either ways, the soup helps with the blocking of inflammatory white cells in the respiratory tubes that cause cold symptoms when the cold weather hits- thanks also to the amino acid cysteine, which is obtained from cooking the chicken. The salty broth also helps thin the nasal mucus membrane, and provides you relief. When you feel crummy, a bowl of chicken soup is enough.
Never ever thought that sweet potatoes were crucial to keeping your immune system healthy, but they are! They provide the immune system with strength to fight pathogens, and vitamin A to help produce more connective tissue, and keep the skin strong too. Half a cup of sweet potatoes, in any form is good for you, your body and the immune system too.
We hope this mini guide on the fascinating immune system, how it works, what are the areas of concern and how to boost the immune system comes in handy. Do drop in your thoughts and comments below.
Disclaimer: While the information given here is written through immense research, we would ask you to always consult a doctor or a specialist with regard to health and lifestyle needs. Their words would always take precedence over what is written here and elsewhere online.