Your body is amazing. Inside of you, you have a microscopic army that fights off pathogens — viruses, bacteria, and parasitic worms — that try to infect you. Your immune system is your best line of defense against illnesses. It works by identifying foreign invaders and launching a full-scale attack. While your immune system is already hard at work keeping you safe and healthy, there are things you can do to help it and make it more effective.
Feed Your Immune System with Nutrients
Your immune system needs the right amount of vitamins and minerals to be more effective at preventing infections. Many people go the easy route by taking supplements to make sure that their intake of nutrients for the day is sufficient. Others go the intravenous therapy route to directly deliver nutrients to the bloodstream. There are clinics that offer IV therapy in Salt Lake City.
For the rest, eating fruits and vegetables loaded in nutrients will boost the immune system. Foods that are rich in vitamin C like oranges and lemons contribute to the production of white blood cells which plays a primary role in defending your body from pathogens. Poultry, such as chicken and turkey, is rich in vitamin B6 which promotes the formation of healthy new cells. Zinc, meanwhile, which you get from shellfish, makes sure that your immune system is working efficiently.
Do Not Stay Up Late
You may not realize it, but sleep is also essential to keep your body healthy. According to scientists, a good night’s rest benefits specific immune cells known as T cells. The T cells directly fight intracellular pathogens such as the virus that causes the flu. In one study, researchers compared the T cells in healthy volunteers who stayed awake or slept through the night. The group that slept had higher levels of activated integrin, the protein that kills infected cells. The National Sleep Foundation says that an adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep at night.
Stress is bad for you overall, but more so to your immune system. When you are stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is not inherently bad; it keeps you alert when you are in danger. However, in the long-term, cortisol can inhibit the immune system from doing its job.
Stress can also decrease white blood cells in your body which, as mentioned above, fights pathogens. If your white blood cell count is low, you are more likely to be infected by a virus or a bacteria. There are many techniques that can reduce stress like meditation, deep breathing exercises, etc.
A balanced diet and regular exercise go hand in hand in keeping you healthy. The role that exercise plays in boosting the immune system is still unclear, but experts believe that physical activity causes white blood cells to circulate more rapidly throughout the body and, thus, allowing it to hunt down pathogens quickly before it infects more cells. The brief rise of your body temperature during and after exercise also creates a less favorable environment for pathogens to grow.
The most important trick to prevent illnesses is to get vaccinated whenever possible. A vaccine allows your immune system to recognize and record pathogens so that, in the future, if one ever enters your body, your immune system can immediately attack.