Immunity is the natural defense system that protects your body against various diseases. However, many things can weaken your immunity. It can be the effect of some long illness or even a bad mood. Poor diet, lack of exercise or sleep can also weaken the immune system. A person with a weak immune system falls sick more often and may take longer to get better. You need strong immunity to stay healthy and safe from infections. Here are some easy ways you can build your immunity.
How to build your immunity
Take proper diet to build your immunity:
A healthy diet is essential for a healthy body. When your diet is deficient in vital nutrients, it can weaken your immune system. A diet high in saturated fat can lead to unhealthy weight. Obesity reduces the number and function of White Blood Cells, leading to weak immunity.
Make sure your diet is high in vital nutrients like protein, vitamins, minerals, and low in saturated fat, salt, and sugar. Include immunity-boosting fruits and vegetables in your meals. Many fruits and vegetables have vital nutrients that help in strengthening the immune system. You need a healthy combination of all of these to have strong immunity.
Some immunity-boosting food items are:
- Vitamin C: Citrus Fruits, Spinach, Kale, Bell Peppers, Brussel Sprouts, Papaya, Blueberries.
- Vitamin E: Peanuts, Almonds, Hazelnuts, Spinach, Broccoli
- Vitamin B6: Lean Chicken Breast, Cold-Water Like Tuna, Baked Potatoes, Bananas, Chickpeas.
- Vitamin A: Pumpkin, Cantaloupe, Squash, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes
- Vitamin D: Fatty fish like Mackerel, Salmon, Tuna, Sardines). Fortified Milk, Orange Juice, Cereals.
- Iron: Chicken, Turkey, seafood. Beans, Broccoli, Kale.
- Folic Acid/Folate: Beans, Peas, Green Leafy Vegetables
- Selenium: Garlic, Broccoli, Brazil Nuts, Barley, Sardines, Tuna
- Zinc: Oysters, Crab, Lean Meats, Poultry. Baked Beans, Yogurt, Chickpeas.
2. Dietary supplements:
As much as possible, try to take a healthy and balanced diet. However, if you are still deficient in some vital nutrients, you can take dietary supplements. Taking fortified food like fortified milk, cereals, health drinks, etc. can help you. However, before you start any food supplement, you must consult a doctor. Don’t take any food supplements without first taking proper medical advice.
3. Take sufficient sleep:
Proper sleep is important for strong immunity. When you sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines to help promote sleep. They also help in managing infection, inflammation, and stress. Constant sleep deprivation can reduce the production of these protective cytokines. Lack of sleep can also decrease the production of infection-fighting antibodies.
In short, lack of sleep can make you vulnerable to infections and delay your recovery. Long-term sleep deprivation can also increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.
So, take proper sleep. Adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep every day whereas children and teenagers need up to ten hours of sleep per day.
4. Exercise & maintain a healthy weight:
Regular exercise doesn’t just help you lose weight. It is also important for a strong immune system. A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of obesity and heart diseases. It can also weaken the immune system. So, regular exercise is important to stay fit and have strong immunity.
However, excessive exercise is also not recommended. It puts a strain on the body and may weaken your immune system. A moderate and regular exercise like walking, cycling, swimming, yoga for 30 minutes might work better to boost immunity.
5. Avoid bad habits like smoking, alcoholism:
Smoking and excessive intake of alcohol also have adverse effects on the immune system. So free yourself of these bad habits and choose better health.
6. Control your stress and stay happy:
Chronic stress and negative feelings like loneliness, anxiety, grief, etc can also affect your immune system.
When you are stressed, your body increases the production of a hormone called cortisol. This helps the body deal with the stress, temporarily limiting the bodily functions that aren’t needed in fight-or-flight situations. While short-term stress is not harmful, long-term chronic stress can reduce the immune system response. This means, you are left more vulnerable to viruses and infections.
Having a strong immunity is vital for a healthy body. With a little care, you can strengthen your immune system. Just make good choices. Eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, take proper sleep, and try to be happy and relaxed. Can you do that for yourself?