Have you been looking for ways to improve your immune system this winter? Our immune systems usually do an amazing job of protecting us from disease-causing microorganisms, but occasionally they don’t succeed. Harmful germs successfully get into our system and make us sick.
Can we stop this from happening? What if we take certain medications or make changes to our lifestyle?
Many people try every year to boost their immune system in a number of different ways, but it’s not always a success. Our immune system is just that – a system. It requires harmony and balance to function to the best of its ability. There is still a lot of information that needs to be collected before researchers have a better understanding of how to protect our immune systems.
Currently, scientists haven’t found any links between our immune system and our lifestyle, but this doesn’t mean that they’re not there. Many scientists still believe that healthy living can help give us a boost.
Healthy habits are believed to help us avoid some of the worst winter colds. If a stronger virus comes along, such as a strain of influenza, these healthy habits can actually help to save our lives. As we age, our immune system begins deteriorating, and for people who already have underlying health problems or have undergone serious medical treatments such as radiotherapy, this can be extremely concerning.
However, there are ways in which we can help improve the functioning of our immune system. Below are some of our top tips for strengthening your immune system this winter:
1. Get Your Flu Shot
There isn’t anything much worse than catching the influenza virus. Strains of the virus alter each year, which is why it is so important that you don’t miss your shot. After having the injection, you may feel weak for a few days, but it will strengthen your immune system in case there is a flu outbreak.
2. Stay Active
Staying mobile is extremely important if you want to be healthy. Physical activity not only encourages the body to release endorphins, which make you feel great, but it can also make your circulatory system work better. This includes your heart.
There are lots of different forms of exercise available to you, depending on your fitness level and what you enjoy. You can choose a high-energy activity like running or a more relaxing activity like yoga. You could even consider volunteering to walk your neighbors’ dogs for them.
3. Try and Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is essential to allow our bodies time to repair and recover, so it’s extremely important that we get enough of it. Sleep has also been shown to strengthen the body’s response to other medications, like the flu shot.
And when it comes to sleep, quantity certainly matters, but the quality is not any less important. If you’re worried that you’re not getting enough sleep, consider purchasing an activity wristband that will be able to tell you just how well you’ve slept or how disturbed your sleep was. These wristbands provide a daily biometric readout of your sleep patterns. You need to keep an eye on the REM and deep sleep phases.
4. Try Not to Stress
Modern medicine now appreciates the closely linked relationship between our mind and body. Many conditions have now been linked to stress, including heart disease, hives, and stomach upsets. Despite how tricky it is, scientists are continually studying the link between our immune system and stress.
Whether you’re worried about your health, money issues, or feeling lonely, stress has been shown to have an impact not only on mental health but physical health as well. Many older people suffer a great deal from loneliness. If this is you, then why not consider joining a club or taking up a hobby that will allow you to meet new friends?
5. Take Some Vitamins
To ensure we have a robust immune system, our bodies need vitamin D. You don’t need to take a pill to get enough of this vitamin – you simply need to spend more time outside in the sunshine. Just 15 minutes a day is enough to give you a good dose of vitamin D.
If you walk into any pharmacy, you will find numerous bottles of herbs and vitamins that aim to give your body and mind a boost. You could consider taking vitamin supplements to ensure you do not lack any. If you’re on other medication, it’s important to seek your doctor’s advice first.
6. Alter Your Diet
Like other fighting forces, your immune system requires the right foods to perform to the best of its ability. It has been proven that people who live in poverty and suffer from malnourishment are more likely to suffer from an infectious disease. However, it’s not clear whether this is due to malnourishment, and there haven’t been enough studies conducted to confirm a link between the two.
Some evidence suggests that many micronutrient deficiencies (such as zinc, folic acid, copper, and vitamin A deficiency) can alter immune systems in animals.
So, is there anything that you can do? If you think you’re not getting enough nutrients from your food, you could consider taking supplements. Multivitamins, for example, will hopefully benefit your health and improve your immune system. However, do not take more than the recommended dosage stated on the label or by your doctor, as more does not always mean better.
There are lots of things you can do not only to improve your life but also to help maintain a healthy immune system or give it a boost. Planning ahead will give you a much better chance of staying healthy this winter.
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