The role of our immune system is to protect us from any foreign substance that could harm the body. These foreign substances are also known as antigens. Antigens include bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. When those organisms are found in the body, they trigger the immune system, which, in return, try to destroy the antigen with various mechanisms. Our immune system can be divided into two categories; innate and adaptive. Innate immune system response is immediate and is our first line of defense. Examples of innate immune system include skin, hair, cough, mucous membrane, etc. The adaptive immune system is our second line of defense and is long-lasting. This is also referred to as acquired immunity and is usually against a specific pathogen. Examples include pus, swelling, etc.
We can link the health of the immune system to so many aspects of our life. The food we eat, the quality of our sleep, and the level of stress are all things that are within our control to supercharge our body. In this article, we will provide you various steps that you can implement today to strengthen your immunity.
But first, let’s do a little checklist to assess your lifestyle and how well you do on the immune system.
Which is the following things apply to you?.
- Ear infection yearly
- Use antibiotics at least once a year
- Reoccurring Skin issues like rash or inflammation
- Autoimmune disease
- Susceptible to infections
- Suffer from colds or flu every year
- Feel tired or exhausted often
- Take medications regularly
- Live a sedentary lifestyle (do not exercise regularly)
- Experience daily stress
- Lack of sleep or insomnia
- Often eat out or prepared meals from the store
- Eat fewer than 3 servings of fruits and vegetables per day
- Have 1–2 alcohol drinks per day
- Eat sweets every day (candy, chocolate, ice cream, etc.)
The more that applies to you, the less resilient is your immune system. Some of the things above are avoidable like food and drinks; some can’t be changed immediately like an autoimmune disease.
Let’s explore the step-by-step plan to boost your immune system and give yourself a better chance to fight illnesses caused by bacteria or viruses.
A Step-By-Step Plan
Now that you know what to eat, here are four steps to strengthening your body’s ability to fight illnesses.
Step 1: Stay Hydrated.
Drinking plenty of fluids will help your body flush the toxins that could cause sickness. 75% of people a dehydrated consistently, and that’s probably one of the main reasons why most of us get sick or don’t recover fast from illnesses. Water is critical to flush any toxins from our body. If we don’t have enough water, we can’t get rid of the toxins fast enough. Toxins can be in the form of viruses or bacteria. Drinking plenty of water can fight off infection. You can start increasing your water consumption by always having a bottle with you that you can refill. It is recommended to get around 2 to 3 liters of water per day.
Step 2: Eat Whole Foods
We cannot ignore the importance of a healthy diet to strengthen our immune system. A diet that is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, and selenium is most likely going to help you boost your immunity. Leafy greens, nuts, citrus fruits are all excellent choices of foods that are high in nutrients and antioxidants that are known to boost your immune system.
Step 3: Get Your Daily Intake of Nutrients
While it is great to eat as many healing foods, it is not always possible to provide all the nutrients and antioxidants that our body needs to stay healthy. That’s when supplements become a great option.
Step 4: Maintain Good Hygiene
Good hygiene means bathing regularly and washing your hands every time you cough, sneeze, after going to the bathroom, before preparing and eating food. It’s also a good practice to be aware of not touching your face when you are in a public space where you can’t wash your hand regularly. Having hand sanitizer in your purse or pocket can be very handy in those situations.
Anyone can work at building their immune system and increase their chances of staying healthy during a flu season or when confronted with bacteria.