Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Best Tips for a Healthy Immune System

Best Tips for a Healthy Immune System

WellnessThe immune system is one of the most important systems in the body. It is what keeps us healthy and protects us from bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi and other foreign invaders that lead to illness and disease.

If your immune system is not up to par, you may find that you get sick frequently or you may experience chronic diseases that your body might otherwise have been able to ward off. That’s why we’ve compiled our best tips for a healthy immune system below. But first, let’s gain a basic understanding of the immune system…

How the Immune System Works

The immune system is present throughout your body and many organs, tissues and cells are involved. The skin is the initial line of defense, acting as a barrier against bacteria and pathogens. Tears in your eyes, mucus in your nose and lungs and acid in your stomach further break down bacteria and parasites.
The next line of defense happens in your bloodstream, tissues and cells. When you are exposed to a pathogen, millions of cells communicate and respond by secreting chemicals that knock out the invaders. The thymus, spleen, lymph nodes, bone marrow, white blood cells, antibodies and certain hormones all play their part in fighting off infection.

When you are exposed to illnesses, your body creates antibodies that can fight future invaders of the same type. In this way, exposing yourself to sickness can actually make you stronger, as long as your immune system is strong to begin with.

Best Tips for a Healthy Immune System

We need to support our immune system so that it can do its job for us in an efficient and effective way. We can do that by making certain healthy lifestyle choices and avoiding those habits that hinder the immune system. Here are our best tips for a healthy immune system:

Eat foods that support a healthy immune system and avoid those that don’t.
Malnutrition is the leading cause of immunodeficiency in the world.[1] Providing your body with the important nutrients it needs to function properly is a key to immune health. Eating more whole foods and home cooked meals while reducing the amount of processed foods and refined sugars you eat will have a dramatic effect on your immunity. Eat more fresh vegetables and fruits, lean meats and healthy fats, such as olive oil, nuts and avocados. Foods that are rich in antioxidants are especially good for the immune system, such as herbs and spices, organic tea, leafy greens and berries.

Take quality herbal supplements that support the immune system.
These days, we simply can’t get enough nutrition out of our food. Most of us don’t eat healthy enough. Even if we do, our crops are simply not what they used to be because our farming techniques do not allow the soil to produce enough nutrients to turn out nutrient-rich foods. That’s why it is important to supplement your diet with high quality herbal supplements that help strengthen the immune system.

Get consistent exercise throughout the day, every day.
Exercise is critical for the body for so many reasons, one of which is that it boosts the immune system into action. When we are stationary, our bodies begin to shut down, and our systems get sluggish and less responsive. When we are active, however, our blood is circulated throughout our bodies and the immune system is on higher alert. Exercise also helps infectious invaders to be removed through sweat and urine, and it helps reduce the release of cortisol, which in turn helps avoid infection.

Find a way to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
Most of us think it is impossible to get that much sleep each night. Even if we could find the time, we deal with insomnia, sleep apnea or other sleep disorders that keep us from feeling well rested. The importance of sleep, however, cannot be denied. When we are sleeping, our immune system is busy repairing the body. 
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Reduce stress.

Make no mistake about it, the more stressed you are, the less efficiently your immune system is functioning. Anything you can do to reduce your cortisol levels will serve your immune system well. Exercising, meditating, and doing something fun can all help. Natural Stress supplements 

[1] American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1997 Aug;66(2):460S-463S.