Now more than ever people are searching for ways to boost and maintain their immune systems to protect their overall health. With pandemic fears and the holiday season all bundling into one, though, you might need more than just some vitamin C to keep your body moving. Maybe you know immunity is important, but have no idea where to start in the journey to supporting your health. The first step is to acknowledge things that might be stressing your natural defense systems and weakening your body. Next, you want to focus on foods and lifestyle habits that will keep you in the shape you want to be.
What Weakens the Immune System
You may be consuming green superfood powder and protein shakes which helps, but that’s not all you have to do to have a strong immune system.. In fact, a large part of it is knowing what can suppress your immune system and how to avoid the triggers. One major contributor to sickness and vulnerability is a lack of sleep. Sleep is when your body is able to rest and recover, repair damaged cells, digest food, and restore your body's natural hormone levels. Without proper sleep, certain systems might be running on fumes and taxing your ability to fight off illness. Vitamin C gets a lot of attention, but vitamin D is another incredibly important part of building up your body because it supports your bones and blood cells. Even spending too much time inside can make you more susceptible to infection. The main reason outdoors can help is because sunlight activates T-cells in your body, which are responsible for fighting all types of nasty microscopic invaders.
Is Your Immune System Compromised?
Sometimes it can be hard to tell if all your little bodily annoyances during the day actually add up to a larger problem. There are a few tell-tale signs you can look for that signal your body is struggling with immunity and might need a little help to get back to healthy levels. Keep an eye on your stress levels because when they get out of control, it could mean bad news for your white blood cells. Stress produces corticoids, which can cause inflammation, and decreases your body's lymphocyte count, which are the cells that fight infection. Stomach issues are another good indicator of immune stress because seventy percent of your immune system is located in your gut! All of the bacteria that live in your digestive tract actually help to protect your insides and fight off unwanted intruders.
How to Boost Immunity
Supplements can be a great route to boost your body's response, but if you don't quite have the budget for a cabinet full of pills and potions, food works just as well! If you focus on eating immune supporting foods, you'll be providing the vitamins and nutrition your body needs in a form that's easy to break down and absorb. The first classic group to focus on is citrus fruits because of their high vitamin C content. Another great source of this vitamin that also sports a healthy helping of beta carotene, which turns into vitamin A after you eat it, is red bell peppers. Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables provide more helpful options because they're not only full of vitamins, but also fiber and antioxidants. Fiber rich foods can help to keep your bowels moving regularly and prevent any buildup of bad bacteria in a blocked area of your digestive tract.
Aside from food, you can focus on lifestyle changes such as cutting out sugar from your diet, staying hydrated throughout the day, and starting a moderate exercise routine. You can even start meditating or practicing yoga every day to help release bad chemicals from your muscles and keep your stress from getting out of control. Creating healthy habits that become second nature is the best way to defend yourself against a suppressed immune system.
If you're looking to boost your immunity, be aware of what can harm you and focus on eating right and developing healthy routines.