The immune system plays an important role in keeping you strong and healthy. It is made up of networks of cells, tissues, proteins, and organs that work together to ward off bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens that cause diseases and infections.
If your immune system is weak, these disease-causing microorganisms can invade and attack your body and make you sick. Is there anything you can do to prevent that from happening? What can you do to boost your immune system functions?
There are certain foods that can help enhance your body’s immunity. They should be a regular part of your day-to-day diet if you want to stay healthy and disease-free for a very long time. Below are some highly recommended fruits and vegetables that you should be eating more of:
Oranges are loaded with vitamin C, an essential nutrient that can increase the number of white blood cells your body produces. If you have more white blood cells, your ability to fight off infections becomes better too. Aside from oranges, citrus fruits like lemon, tangerine, grapefruit, and limes are also good for your immune system.
Broccoli is a nutrient-dense vegetable that is an excellent source of fiber, antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E. It helps build collagen, which is an essential component in forming tissues and bones; hastens the body’s wound-healing ability; and helps the body create a solid and stable armor against dangerous and harmful free radicals.
Blueberries are rich in anthocyanin, which is a flavonoid that possesses antioxidant properties. In one study, it was found that the group of participants who ate blueberries showed a decreased risk of the common cold or upper respiratory infection in comparison to the other group that did not.
Turmeric is a yellow-colored spice used in cooking and also in alternative medicine. It has high concentrations of an antioxidant called curcumin, which offers anti-inflammatory capabilities. According to health experts, regular consumption of turmeric can enhance a person’s immunity, lowering the risk of various infections and diseases.
Garlic is widely used in cooking a variety of dishes. Since the early civilizations, it has been used to add flavor to meals and also as alternative medicine. Over the years, several research studies have found that it not only can help in blood pressure management and heart health, it can also boost the body’s immune system, thanks to its high content of the compound called allicin.
If you are overweight or obese, you should strive to burn off those excess pounds to improve your immune functions. It will not be an easy journey, but having a healthy weight offers plenty of benefits that will help you live longer and enjoy your life more.
Some useful tips to get you started are:
Avoid foods that are high in sugar, fats, and salt
If your diet consists of lots of sugary, fatty, and salty foods, you are not feeding your body the essential vitamins and minerals that it needs to do its many functions properly, negatively impacting your immune system and other vital organs and systems.
Count your calories
Eating less is the best way to lose weight. You should learn to control the amount of food that you eat and limit your caloric intake. To begin, start by reducing your calorie needs by 500 each day for the first couple of months or so. If you can sustain that, you can lose a pound for every 3,500 calories that you do not eat. To lose more weight, you should decrease your calorie consumption by 1,000 calories or even more. Just make sure that you are not eating less than 1,200 calories a day, as you may experience negative side effects.
Eat foods that are high in fiber
Increasing your fiber intake helps lower your cholesterol and blood sugar levels, decreasing your risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, obesity, and other health problems. It can also boost your metabolism, digestion, and nutrient absorption, and prevent constipation. Fiber-rich foods, such as bananas, apples, beans, nuts, grains, and oranges, can make you feel full faster and longer too, preventing you from eating more.
Being physically active is good for your health. It can help build strong bones and muscles, boost your energy levels, improve your memory and brain health, promote weight loss, and enhance your mood and mental health. It can also reduce your odds of contracting infections and diseases.
There was a research study that found that exercising for even just 20 minutes a day can make a huge difference. In the study, the participants were asked to provide blood samples before walking on a treadmill for 20 minutes and then immediately after stepping off the exercise equipment. The findings showed that the blood samples that were taken after the exercise had lesser amounts of the protein called TNF, which can be a contributing factor to rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and other autoimmune diseases, if present in large amounts in the body.
Through regular exercise, you not only can increase your heart rate and breathing rate, and strengthen your bones, muscles, heart, lungs, and other vital parts, you also can increase the amount of epinephrine and norepinephrine levels in your body, two hormones that can suppress TNF and its negative impact.
Get adequate sleep
Sleep is vital to good health and a long life. Health professionals recommend that you get around 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night to give your body and mind enough time to rest, repair, and recharge, and be ready for the next day. If you fail to do so, you may be in danger of the following:
Various studies have found that heart attacks and strokes have higher odds of striking if a person lacks sleep.
Several research studies have found that people who are sleep deprived, such as those that work at nights, have a greater risk of colon cancer and breast cancer.
Not getting enough sleep can increase the number of stress hormones your body produces, resulting in an increased risk of inflammation.