Now more than ever, it’s critical that we are not only mindful of our health, but actively trying to improve it. Although washing your hands, social distancing, and wearing a mask are all proven ways to lessen your risk of infection—and should be practiced—preparation is also a valuable tool.
Your best defense against poor health is a strong immune system! That’s why this month, we’re diving into the vital role our immune system plays in our health, and the steps you can take for stronger immunity.
When your immune system is weakened, your body becomes vulnerable to infection and illness. If we didn’t have an immune system, our bodies would be susceptible to attacks from bacteria, parasites, viruses, and more. Think of it as your body’s armor—the more durable it is, the better it can fight off threats.
When someone has health issues due to their immune system being suppressed, this is called immunosuppression or immunocompromise. These days especially, our focus should be on strengthening our immune systems to protect our bodies from COVID-19 and other threats to our health.
The main parts of the immune system include:
- White blood cells
- Complement system
- Bone marrow
- Lymphatic system
When thinking about strengthening the immune system, we have to keep in mind that it is just that—a system. Therefore, it should not be approached individually, but as a whole.
Here are ten impactful ways to practice better immune system support:
- Exercise frequently
- Consistently get enough sleep
- Practice deep breathing regularly
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Drink alcohol in moderation
- Get sunlight and fresh air often
- Practice good hygiene
- Manage your stress
- Quit smoking
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Our immune systems can become depleted if we don’t properly nurture our bodies. A neglected immune system might show itself in high stress-levels, frequent colds, stomach issues, slow-healing wounds, chronic lethargy, infections, and more.
Although they are not FDA approved, many people use supplements to receive vitamins, minerals, or enzymes their bodies are missing. However, there are natural ways to get missing nutrients, and it’s through diet!
Incorporate the helpful immune system boosters listed below into your daily life to improve overall health.
Vitamin A promotes the health of your intestines and respiratory system, which is especially important right now, as COVID-19 is a respiratory illness. Vitamin A is in spinach, red bell pepper, sweet potato, and broccoli.
Your body doesn’t produce or store vitamin C, but it’s needed to help form antibodies—the proteins created in response to antigens. We get vitamin C from red bell peppers, strawberries, and citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, and more.
Studies show that up to half of the world’s population is Vitamin D insufficient. Our skin absorbs vitamin D through sun exposure, but it’s challenging to get the proper amount of sunlight when so many people work long hours indoors. The good news is that you can absorb vitamin D through foods like mushrooms, egg yolks, tuna, and salmon.
Vitamin E works as a powerful antioxidant that helps your immune system function properly and neutralizes free radicals that can damage cells, proteins, DNA, and fat. Like vitamin C, our bodies don’t naturally produce vitamin E. Foods that give you vitamin E include avocados, seeds, nuts, and oils.
Immune dysfunction has been linked to zinc-deficiencies because there are many enzymes in your body dependent on it. Boost your zinc intake with beans, poultry, meat, nuts, fish, and seafood.
You only have one body, so treat it right!
We encourage you to share this blog if you found it helpful, to inform and motivate others along their journey to better health!
Disclaimer: As a service to our readers, Tucson ER & Hospital and Nutex Health state no content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.