The immune system is your body’s defense against foreign invaders. However, sometimes a sneaky invader can successfully make you sick. In searching the internet, you will find countless solutions for boosting your immune system to prevent illness, but we have compiled three ways you can maintain the health of your immune system.
How to Improve Immunity
The quickest and easiest way to strengthen your immune system is to opt for healthier lifestyle choices. Your immune system is able to function properly when it’s protected from environmental attacks.
Tips for living your healthiest life include the following:
- Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables
- Maintain adequate sleep
- Minimize stress when possible
Eat a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is key in maintaining the health and strength of your immune system. Evidence has shown that certain vitamin deficiencies (B6, C, iron, zinc, and others) can alter immune system function. If you feel that your diet is not providing the nutrients you need, it may be time to introduce a multivitamin. If your doctor orders blood tests and they show some vitamin or mineral deficiencies, he or she may suggest routine IV therapy to get your body back into a healthy state.
We all know that stress can have a negative impact on our health, but emerging research shows that stress can also influence immune function. Stress is a normal part of life, however, if stress persists, it can cause cortisol levels to increase, leading to inflammation. Additionally, stress decreases lymphocytes, which are the body’s way of fighting off an infection. As these white blood cells decrease, the more susceptible we become to infection. Managing stress can help you maintain your immune system and may help to prevent depression and anxiety. Meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises are great options for reducing stress. Research has shown that meditation can not only reduce stress and anxiety, but it can boost immune function by reducing inflammation and cortisol levels.
Improve Sleep Quality
Most are not aware of the connection between sleep and the immune system. Adequate sleep may help to naturally strengthen your immune function. This is why when you’re sleeping your body is trying to fight off whatever illness has invaded your body. Ideally, adults should strive to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night, while teenagers need eight to 10 hours per night. A consistent sleep schedule will not only help you incorporate proper sleep hygiene but will allow your body the time it needs to heal. Having trouble falling asleep? Try a warm cup of chamomile tea before bed.
To get the most out of each night’s sleep, limit your amount of screen time for at least one hour before bed, and make sure your bedroom is completely dark and cool. The blue light from your phone or TV may interfere with your circadian rhythm, preventing you from having a restful night of sleep. When you fall asleep, your body temperature changes. Ensuring your room is cool will help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Setting your thermostat between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit could help, however, everyone is different so try out different temperatures and find what works best for you.
Incorporating Lifestyle Changes to Improve Immunity
Incorporating healthy eating, stress management, and a consistent sleep schedule can all help maintain the health of your immune system. At Holtorf Medical Group, we are committed to providing our patients with the latest evidence-based research and information. Are you ready to take control of your health? Schedule an appointment with one of our providers today.
1. Davidson, Richard J et al. “Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation.” Psychosomatic medicine vol. 65,4 (2003): 564-70.