Natural Immunity Boosters
While we all get sick on occasion, an integral part to staying healthy is having a healthy immune system.
In general, our immune system learns and grows stronger from each illness we sustain, becoming better prepared to tackle unpleasantness in the future. Still, it’s not perfect and sometimes we get sick despite our best efforts.
Because viruses and bacteria are constantly evolving, we have to give our immune system everything it needs to stay healthy so that it has the strength to fight back when it needs it. Building a healthy immune system isn’t linear. It involves strengthening and fortifying your overall health so that all necessary processes work in harmony with one another.
As you can imagine, this isn’t an easy prospect, but it’s not hard either. Here are a few areas of concentration if you want to strengthen your immune system.
Lifestyle Choices for Natural Immunity Boosters
Making better lifestyle choices can seem overwhelming, unless you think of each choice individually. Realistically, even the healthiest of people have areas that they can improve upon, and all of can start somewhere. The goal is to improve your overall health by doing one or more of the following:
- Drink more water
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Get adequate sleep
- Exercise regularly
In addition to the actions above, you should also practice good hygiene and remember to cook your meat thoroughly. Also, be sure to visit your doctor for yearly checkups. This will help ensure that your blood pressure is kept in check. You’ll also be able to identify other health problems that may not be visible to you.
Vitamins and Minerals
Research shows us that those who live in poverty or who lack good nutrition are more susceptible to infections and diseases. While nutrition may not have a direct impact on immunity, it does strengthen your health by giving your body the nutrients it needs to perform at its best.
You don’t have to be malnourished, however, to suffer the effects of improper nutrition. This is why many of us take vitamin supplements. Since quality is more important than quantity, let’s take a look at a few important vitamins and minerals. For even more suggestions on natural immunity boosters and vitamins, check this article.
Known for its role in preventing infection, maintaining adequate levels of vitamin A is critical for a highly functioning immune system. This means that a deficiency of vitamin A raises your risk of infection.
Studies suggest that a B6 deficiency can suppress the immune system’s response to infection. Since B6 has also been linked to increased growth of tumors, it is only recommended that supplements be taken in moderate doses. Other B vitamins, such as B 12, are known to help maintain body health and increase efficiency of bodily processes.
We produce Vitamin D when exposed to the sun. Its immune building properties were first noticed by doctors, noting the positive response tuberculosis patients had upon exposure to sunlight. While its ability to fight against other disorders and diseases is unknown, we do know that it is associated with increased mood and overall health.
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As a trace element, Zinc is considered an essential component of immune system cells. A deficiency directly contributes to impaired functioning of T cells as well as other cells within the immune system. It is, however, important to not overdo your supplementation of zinc. The recommended daily allowance is between 15-25 mg. Taking more than this can be counterproductive and lead to immune system impairment.
This herbal supplement is popularly known to be an immune stimulant, though its long-term impact on preventing colds and other illnesses isn’t fully known. For this reason, it isn’t recommended that you take Echinacea daily, but only when you begin to develop a cold or start to feel run-down. Those with ragweed and other allergies, however, should use with caution and consult a doctor before taking Echinacea as it can trigger an allergic reaction.
Researchers have found that garlic may have the ability to fight infection. While this hasn’t been explored further, increased ingestion of garlic and onions have been associated with a lower incidence of sickness and cancer. While it may not be necessary to take a garlic supplement, next time you want to add a little extra garlic to your meal don’t hesitate. Your immune system will thank you.
There are both good and bad bacteria in our bodies, and recent research points to the role of good bacteria in building a healthy immune system. Precisely how this relationship works is yet unknown, but as more and more evidence points to the benefits of good bacteria, more emphasis is placed on probiotics. This includes bacteria like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, both of which reside safely in your digestive tract and help with digestive functioning, critical to maintaining a healthy immune system.
Apart from lifestyle changes and supplements, there is a strong connection between stress levels and immune system functioning. This illustrates the mind/body connection and how important it is to focus not just on the physical, but on mental health as well. A positive outlook can work wonders for your health, just as a negative one can quickly leave you defeated.
While situational stress can come on quickly and can’t be controlled, research indicates that chronic stress is the true culprit.
Although eliminating stress and anxiety is much easier said than done, exploring healthy coping mechanisms and removing yourself from unhealthy environments and toxic relationships can help. Set a sleep schedule. Reserve some time for yourself and disconnect. All of this will allow you to improve your mental health, and in turn, improve your physical health and strengthen your immune system.
Everything is connected and there is no quick fix or single path to improved health and immunity. We’re all a work in progress. There’s no need to get discouraged. Instead, improve your health one day and one action at a time. Small changes can yield big results. Whatever your path, remember: A healthy body and a healthy mind is critical to a healthy immune system.
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