The immune system is your first line of defense against illnesses. The stronger your immune system is, the harder it will be for viruses and other pathogens to take you down.
With that being said, our immune system can evolve, but so can pathogens. That is exactly why you should know how to boost your immune system. This article will show you everything you need in order to do so.
Before we begin, the question arises: how does our immune system work?
What Makes Up You Immune?
The immune system consists of two subsystems: the adaptive and the innate immune system. The “older” one is the innate immune system which is also considered the dominant one because of its functions.
It recruits immune cells and sends them to the infected areas by creating chemical factors. It also represents a direct link to the other subtype of the immune system (the adaptive immune system), since it activates it through a process called antigen presentation.
The adaptive immune system, also known as the specific immune system, consists of systemic cells which prevent pathogens from growing further or eliminates them completely. The adaptive system is effective because of our immunological memory, which is also the basis of vaccination.
The main idea is that our body remembers how it reacted to a specific pathogen (that’s where the name comes from) and adapts so that it won’t have the same reaction again. Your adaptive immune system will make you immune to certain diseases for a lifetime (like measles), but it won’t have the same long-lasting effect when it comes to some other diseases (like chickenpox).
Now that you know what kind of a defensive shield you possess, let’s see how you can upgrade it.
Natural Ways of Boosting the Immune System
There are plenty of products on the market that “guarantee” to boost your immune system. Although some of them might actually work, there is always a potential risk factor. That is why this article will show you how to use natural home remedies and make your immune system even stronger.
The methods that you will learn about in this section are 100% natural, which means that there are little to no side effects that can damage your body. If there are risk factors, it will be mentioned.
1. Get Enough Sleep
This method might be difficult for some people because of their busy lifestyles, but there’s nothing that good organization cannot handle.
Sleep has one of the most important effects on brain functions and more. In essence, it refreshes the body, repairs our cells and makes us ready for the challenges that lie ahead.
Not getting enough hours of sleep has been linked to weight gain, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and even cancer.
The hormone that interferes with the immune system’s functions (cortisol) is increased because of sleep deprivation. This hormone is also known as the stress hormone, and if it’s produced normally, it can even boost your immune system. However, if the levels of cortisol aren’t controlled, your immune system will be the first one to suffer.
There was a study conducted on how much sleep people in different age groups should get, and it is shown that children between the age of 5 and 12 need 9 hours of sleep, while other age groups need 7 hours of sleep at a minimum.
Another study indicates just how dangerous it is to not getting enough sleep, as it found that getting less than 6 hours of sleep increases the chance of a heart attack, obesity, etc.
2. Manage Stress
Now that you know how cortisol affects the immune system, you should also know why avoiding stress is a good idea. Stress is a silent killer that can cause a huge number of diseases.
This research shows the impact of stress on the immune system. As you can see from the figure, there is a strong connection between stress, diseases, and the immune system.
So, how do you manage your stress naturally and boost your immune system?
There are many methods you can try. Some of the most effective are:
- Yoga – there are poses (asanas) in yoga that are specifically created for stress relief. Mixing yoga’s breathing techniques with its poses can help you manage stress.
- Reduce caffeine – drinking too much coffee or other beverages that contain caffeine increase your heart rate as well as stress levels. This is due to the fact that caffeine increases the production of cortisol.
- Write your troubles down – this research shows just how effective writing down your thoughts can be on lowering your stress level.
- Think of daily mantras – learn how to “pick” your thoughts. Throw away the negative ones as soon as you notice them and replace them with their opposites.
3. Eat Better
Eating better is not the same as eating more. But rather to eat healthy food that can actually boost your immune system. One of the best ways of learning how to boost your immune system is by knowing how to recognize which food helps and which doesn’t.
- Fruits like lemons, grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, etc.
- Red bell peppers
What do all of these have in common? All of them contain vitamin A or D (or both), which are considered crucial when it comes to the immune system.
Another research study only proves that eating healthy is one of the best ways of boosting your immune system.
4. Soak Up Some Sun
Sunlight can help your skin produce more Vitamin D which, as mentioned, is extremely beneficial to your immune system. However, there are risk factors here that could lead to skin diseases.
In order to avoid them, limit your sun exposure. 10 to 15 minutes is just the right amount for you to increase Vitamin D levels.
The Final Verdict
Those are the most effective ways of improving your immune system naturally. Now that you know how to boost your immune system, it is time to test some of the methods.
If you aren’t satisfied with how these natural methods work, you can talk to your doctor and decide which products you can use for your immune system.