Taking vaccinations and staying healthy will protect the immune system, but infections are still inevitable. Perpetually, we are exposed to organisms that are ingested, breathed or stay on our skin. Depending on the strength of the body’s defense mechanism or immune system, these organisms might or might not lead to diseases.
Gradually, your immune system becomes stronger because it can remember most of the microbes it has fought. This will ensure that it can protect you from the next attack. When you become old, the immune system becomes weary after years of battle with microbes.
Immune System Strengthening Methods
It should be known that not all immune systems function in the same way. A lot of factors also affect the immune system – some you can control and others you can’t. There are different ways to strengthen the immune system and the most prominent is vaccination. However, this article isn’t about vaccination. You can stay very healthy without yearly vaccinations and here, we’ll discuss several methods available to you.
When you constantly consume foods like French fries, Burgers, Soda or even Bourbon, your white blood cells can’t become strong. On the other hand, whole foods, particularly fruits, vegetables, and nuts, boost immune system functioning. These foods are rich in nutrients that the immune system thrives on. Taking of adequate protein is also essential – be it plant protein or animal protein.
Medicinal mushrooms like maitake and shiitake contain complex carbohydrates called “beta-glucans”. These beta-glucans are able to improve immune activity against infections. Simple sugar is to be avoided as it has been proven that sugary foods and juices can limit the immune system’s functionality. New mothers should also breastfeed their children as this will reduce their child’s risk of infection.
Decrease Your Stress
Your adrenal glands produce epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) and cortisol when you’re stressed. Acute stress will pump up the immune system while long-term duress will encumber it.
For example, it has been proven that psychological stress can increase the risk for viruses including the common cold. Reducing your stress levels will go a long way in improving your immune system. You could engage in relaxing activities like meditation, massages and listen to calming music.
Try Astragalus Root
This is a plant that belongs to the beans and legumes family. It is popularly known as a disease fighter and immune system booster. For thousands of years, traditional Chinese medicine has used its roots as an adaptogen. A review recently published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine established that the immune system benefits from astragalus extract. Also, it protects the body from gastrointestinal swelling and various cancers.
Get Adequate Sleep
With adequate sleep, hormones can grow strong. On the other hand, sleep deprivation will depress immune function and increase inflammatory chemicals. These inflammatory chemicals make you feel ill. When sleep deprivation is chronic, the risk of the common cold is increased. In a study conducted, researchers inoculated the noses of volunteers with cold viruses. Volunteers who constantly slept less than seven hours were found to be three times more likely to catch a cold than people who got eight hours of sleep or more.
It is hugely believed that ginger can break down toxins that are present in our organs. It is also believed to be able to cleanse the lymphatic system (the system that helps the body get rid of toxins, waste and various unwanted materials).
With its immuno-nutrition and anti-inflammatory responses, ginger root and oil can help in treating several diseases. It has been found that ginger contains some antimicrobial features that can help in treating infectious diseases.
Supplement with Vitamin D
The deficiency of vitamin D will increase the risk of infection and it also correlates with asthma and several autoimmune diseases. However, vitamin D can control the adaptive responses of the immune system. It has been found that vitamin D is capable of maintaining tolerance as well as promoting protective immunity. A study was conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital that included 19,000 participants. This study showed that people with low vitamin D levels were likelier to get a respiratory infection than those with higher levels.
Few foods contain vitamin D and the best way to get enough is to spend some time under the sun without sunscreen. Supplements should also be taken during the winter.
This plant can help in boosting your immune system while also fighting infections. Resistance to illness can be improved using the stems, leaves, and roots of ginseng. The plant enhances your immune system’s performance by regulating immune cells that include macrophages and dendritic cells. Antimicrobial compounds are also present in the plant which helps to defend the body against bacterial and viral infections.
The elder plant’s flowers and berries have been ingested as medicine for a long time. Elderberry can be used to fight colds, allergies, inflammation and the flu. It has also been indicated that elderberry can improve the immune system.
The Journal of International Medical Research published a study that found that elderberry can be used to reduce the duration of flu. In this study, the symptoms were also relieved faster.
Other methods include
- Drink beverages that can boost your immune system. An example of a beverage like this is organic Cocoa Mojo.
- Make use of a quality air filter so that mold spores and bacteria can be filtered out of your home.
- Exercise regularly and moderately to increase your circulation and immune strength.
- Stop using medications that are really not necessary to your health. Medications usually suppress the immune system as well as liver and kidney functions. Consult a Naturopath before embarking on this.
- Increase your intake of trace minerals, particularly zinc. Zinc and selenium are important for optimal immune function.
- Wash your hands as frequently as possible.
When trying to boost your immune system, you’ll need to do it with caution. Immune-boosting herbs and essential oils can be very potent so they should be taken cautiously. These herbs and oils should not be used for more than two weeks. Always consult your doctor or nutritionist when planning to use natural remedies.
The immune system – which comprises of organs, cells and proteins – protects the body from bacteria and viruses. Even with this, it is still prone to the occasional breach. To reduce these breaches, you can strengthen its arsenal by using some of these methods.
Harvard Health Publishing. (n.d.). How to boost your immune system. Retrieved March 19, 2018. Web.
Healthline. (n.d.). 15 Foods That Boost the Immune System. Retrieved March 19, 2018. Web.
WellWisdom. (2018, January 26). 14 Proven Strategies to Strengthen Your Immune System. Retrieved March 19, 2018. Web.