Many people in today’s world of COVID-19 are looking for natural ways to strengthen their immune system. Having a strong immune system is vital to preventing illness and keeping you healthy. This helps to protect you from contracting various viruses including the seasonal flu, the common cold, and even the novel coronavirus.
In cases where you do get sick, the immune system is your body’s first line of defense against any harmful pathogens that you do contract. With the looming threat of COVID-19 still present, it is more important than ever to have a strong immune system.
What is the Immune System?
The immune system is a large web of highly specialized cells that all work together with one goal: to keep you healthy and protect you from invaders. These invaders can be anything from the novel coronavirus, bacteria, or even parasites. If your body detects anything foreign, it will go on the attack.
Once your body successfully eradicates the pathogen it fights off, it will remember it for future cases. It does this by creating antibodies for the foreign substance. Antibodies give your body the ability to immediately fight off and prevent infection once it tries to fester a second time, otherwise known as immunity.
The immune system plays a crucial role in day-to-day health and keeping it strong should be a top priority. As a person continues to age, their immune system naturally gets weaker over time, but there are ways to slow this down. So what can you do to keep your immune system in excellent shape? Let’s take a look at some easy, natural ways to strengthen your immune system.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Nutrition plays a huge part in the health of your immune system. You’ll need to eat a well-balanced, nutrient-dense diet in order to keep your immune system working at full capacity. This means plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins.
Eating a healthy diet not only works to provide you with the essential nutrients you need but also provides antioxidants. Antioxidants are linked to boosting immune response, especially in aging adults. Foods that are rich in antioxidants include:
Eating healthy also aids in maintaining a healthy weight and optimal digestive health, which is another important way to naturally strengthen the immune system.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
Research shows that obesity is linked to a weakened immune response. Being overweight adds extra stress on the body and causes it to work more slowly when it encounters a pathogen, which gives the pathogen more time to take hold.
As you age, staying trim gets increasingly more difficult. However, making sure you stay within a healthy BMI for your height ensures that your body’s immune system is operating at full capacity. It’s also one of the most effective natural ways to strengthen the body and the immune system.
Maintaining a healthy weight seems like a chore to most people. However, there are a few lifestyle changes that prove to keep weight off in the long term. This includes regular exercise and a healthy, well-balanced diet.
Avoid Bad Habits
Keeping your immune system strong means keeping your body healthy as a whole. This means staying away from things that are proven to be harmful to your health.
Smoking causes premature aging and weakens the immune system, which makes it more difficult for it to fight off disease and illness. It also increases the risk of developing autoimmune disorders that cause long-term damage and permanently impair the function of the immune system.
Another habit to avoid is excessive drinking. Drinking copious amounts of alcohol impairs immune function and leaves you at a higher risk of developing long-term diseases. When someone drinks too much on a regular basis, they also risk damaging vital organs such as the liver, which play important roles in immune function.
Keep Stress to a Minimum
While keeping stress to a minimum is much easier said than done, it is important to relax and practice self-care in order to keep your immune system going strong. The older you get, it seems the more things there are to be stressed about.
Studies show that people who are exposed to high levels of stress or experience chronic stress, tend to have weakened immune systems. This leads to people who are stressed out getting sick more often. So, what should you do to unwind and make sure your immune system stays healthy?
There are a few easy things that you can do, like participating in an activity you enjoy. You can also take time to exercise, which is proven to reduce stress. Many people also find that taking some quiet time for yourself through meditation or going for a walk also helps to keep stress to a minimum.
While strengthening your immune system sounds like a difficult task at first, there are clearly some very simple changes to make that help combat the effects aging has on the immune system.
The most important thing to remember is simply to take care of yourself and lead a healthy lifestyle. That way, you provide your body with the immune support it needs to keep you living a long and healthy life.