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Our immune systems do an extraordinary job of defending against viruses and bacteria, but is it possible to make it stronger? Stay healthy this flu season with these how to boost immune system tips.
Sometimes, your immune system fails, and you get sick. And while the idea of strengthening your immune system does seem intriguing, there's no scientific proof that your lifestyle or any supplements can enhance it, yet.
The truth is there's still a lot about the immune system we don't know. It's an intricate network of responses that depend on many factors to function correctly. On the other hand, it can fail for no apparent reason.
For instance, an immune response in one person can fight off a bug, but it can cause a deadly allergic reaction in another.
Scientists don't know the optimum mix of immune cells or how to boost immune systems to prevent infection while reducing an immune response to harmless microorganisms. And it might be some time before they figure it out.
In the meantime, following a healthy lifestyle is a good start. If it turns out we can't strengthen our immune systems, at least it won't hurt to be a bit healthier.
The first line of defense is knowing the state of your health. If you are aware of your risks, you can take preventative measures.
Get an annual check-up and develop a healthy lifestyle plan with your doctor to cover all your bases. It's never too early to start taking care of your health.
You can also keep track of your health with a journal. By actively monitoring your health, you may notice symptoms before they become a problem.
For example, you might notice a spike in coughing. It might not be anything serious, yet it could be the first sign that you need to take better care of your lung health.
Living a healthy lifestyle not only helps your body function better, but it may also protect your body from environmental attacks. And as a result, it may help boost your immune system, make it more resilient.
In general, maintain a healthy weight, don't smoke, and avoid unhealthy processed foods and too much alcohol. It will also help to wash your hands frequently.
Besides avoiding unhealthy habits, regular physical activity may also improve your health by:
Better circulation may affect your immune system directly. Because it enables cells to travel freely through the body, your immune cells can do their job more efficiently.
Lastly, sleep deprivation lowers your immune response. So make sure you get enough high-quality sleep.
There is clearly a means to boost your immune system, and keep it healthy, through your stomach.
Poverty-stricken regions, where malnourishment is commonplace, are often more vulnerable to infectious diseases. Thus, there may be a link between malnourishment and the immune system, but there are relatively few studies to confirm what effect nutrition has on our immune systems.
Some animal studies, however, show micronutrient deficiencies may change the immune response. Based on this evidence, for a healthy immune response, your diet should include:
Fortunately, if you eat a healthy diet, full of fresh produce, you should be fine.
You can also take a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement, but it takes time to affect your health. So, a single large dose won't make much difference.
The bottom line: Even though nutrition and immune response need more research, you should still aim for a healthy balanced diet to give your body a fighting chance to ward off disease.
As we age, our immune system becomes weaker, and we produce fewer T-cells. According to studies, vaccines don't work as well for adults over 65 compared to children over two.
Why this happens isn't clear, but one possible explanation is a drop in thymus function. Another possibility is bone marrow no longer producing as many stem cells that cause an immune response.
Whatever the reason, we know fewer T-cells make you more vulnerable to diseases, especially respiratory infections. Pneumonia is the leading cause of death in older people globally.
Finally, nutrition may become more crucial as we age. The elderly tend to have a less varied diet and eat smaller amounts. In combination with reduced nutrient absorption, this could easily lead to malnutrition. Therefore, dietary supplements may help older individuals stay healthy.
People react to the same source of stress differently, and stress factors vary wildly between individuals. Thus, researchers look at other indicators to measure the immune response's effect. For instance, measuring heart rate instead of just asking how stressed you feel. And long-term stress seems related to a weaker immune system.
Despite what your mother said, staying warm won't protect you from winter bugs. Winter is the cold and flu season for various other reasons.
Firstly, we tend to spend more time inside, where close contact between people spread germs quicker. Secondly, influenza viruses stay airborne longer in less humid, colder air.
If you go outside without a jacket, you won't weaken your immune system. But you might get frostbite, so best bundle up and stay warm anyway.
Whether herbs boost your immune function or not is still up for debate. Some herbs do increase antibody levels, but researchers aren't sure that it benefits your overall immune health.
Likewise, some supplements may change components of your immune system. But there's no evidence that it boosts your defenses against diseases.
Overall, researchers are still exploring how to boost the immune system. In other words, looking for ways to strengthen the immune system. For the time being, stay healthy with good habits and a nutrient-rich diet. Most importantly, stay on top of your health with regular check-ups and tracking your symptoms. If you have concerns, speak to a doctor to help you develop a plan of action towards better health.
How do you stay healthy during flu season? Share your tips in the comment section below!