10 Ways You Can Strengthen Your Immune System
Written and reviewed by
M.B.B.S, Post Graduate Diploma In Maternal & Child Health
Catching a cold once in a while is nothing to worry about, but needing to take sick leave every few weeks is a sign of low immunity. Immunity can be defined as our ability to fight infections. By eating right and making a few lifestyle changes, you can easily strengthen your immune system and lower your risk of catching infections. On that note, here are 10 ways to strengthen your immune system.
- Eat a balanced meal: Along with fruits and vegetables, your body also requires carbohydrates and proteins. Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar levels stable and allows your body to prioritize building your immune system over generating energy to perform normal tasks.
- Drink plenty of water: When you’re ill, fluids help transport nutrients to the infected area and flush out toxins from the same. Hence, it is important to stay hydrated in order to recover faster from an illness and to build your immune system.
- Probiotics: 80% of your immune system is located in the gut. Probiotics help the body produce more healthy gut bacteria. Thus, probiotics directly boost the immune system.
- A good night’s sleep: Ideally, a person should get 8 to 10 hours of sleep on a daily basis. While we are asleep, the body produces cytokines ad antibodies that are vital to a strong immune system. Depriving the body of this sleep can thus make us more susceptible to infections.
- Get some sun: While we put a lot of effort into protecting ourselves from the harmful UV rays of the sun, sunlight is also a rich source of vitamin D. Vitamin D helps protect us from a number of serious illnesses. Apart from sunlight we can also get vitamin D by adding cod liver oil, egg yolks and fatty fish to our diet.
- Quit sugar: Sugar is an immunosuppressant and hence cutting out added sugar from your diet can have a drastic effect on your immunity. Added sugar refers only to refined sugar in cubed, crystal or powdered form and not the natural sweetners in fruits.
- Exercise: Regular exercise improves blood circulation and boosts the production of antibodies. A healthy circulatory system combined with antibodies enables your body to fight infections in any part of your body.
- Avoid tobacco and alcohol: Alcohol impairs the immune system and tobacco smoke weakens the body’s basic immune system. This holds true for both first hand and second hand smoke.
- Reduce stress: Stress increases the production of a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol suppresses the immune system and thus makes us more susceptible to illnesses.
- Prevent germs from spreading: Lastly, make simple things like washing your hands before eating and after coming home or using the toilet a habit. This prevents germs from spreading and entering our bodies. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a gynaecologist.
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