The immune system is the body’s natural defense against infection and disease. While you can’t change or improve your genetic predisposition to certain illnesses, you can improve your overall health to boost your immune system.
The immune system is composed of two major parts:
- The innate immune system, which is the body’s nonspecific response to infection.
- The adaptive immune system or immune response that deals with specific antigens that enter the body from the external environment.
The immune system fights off infections, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Your immune system is also responsible for healing wounds, which is why you often get sick right after an injury. It also helps with the body’s normal functions, such as fighting off foreign substances and fighting inflammation. But sometimes, the immune system gets overwhelmed by an excess of bad bugs or other invaders, and that’s when colds, allergies, and other immune-related problems can strike.
Here are some ways to keep your immune system strong and maintain your body’s ability to fight off viral and bacterial infections:
- Maintaining a healthy diet. It is a big challenge because we can’t always control what we’re served at work or when we’re out with friends. However, there are lots of ways to eat well even when we don’t have time to cook. In fact, some of the healthiest foods on the planet are available pre-packaged at the supermarket. These are referred to as superfoods, and they are packed with nutrients. Eating well provides your body with the energy it needs to function and protects against many of the illnesses and conditions that you are more likely to face if you do not eat a healthy diet.
- Choose to be hydrated. Water is one of the most important things your body needs to stay in good shape. If you are not drinking enough water, you could harm your body and increase your risk of disease. Water serves a variety of functions in the body, and if you are not getting enough, your health could be compromised in a number of ways.
- Quality sleep is what you need. Sleep is important, and not just because you need your rest. Sleep is when your body is hard at work, making sure that you’re functioning at your very best. In order to ensure that your body is functioning at 100%, you must allocate enough hours of sleep. Yes, eight hours is the official amount of sleep needed to stay healthy, but it’s recommended that you get at least seven hours of sleep to live the most productive life.
- Take control of stress. We all know stress is bad for us. It makes us more vulnerable to disease, increases our risk of heart attack and stroke, and can lead to depression. But how do you minimize stress? The key is to learn how to control our stress instead of letting it control us. The way to do that is to find healthy ways to release stress (exercise, meditation, etc.) and take away stress-inducing things in our lives.
- Stay and be active. Exercise boosts your immune system, improves your mood, keeps your energy levels high, and improves your quality of life.
- Consume alcohol in moderation. While it’s generally agreed that drinking too much can lead to health problems, the definition of moderate drinking is often confusing. It has been suggested that for men, moderate drinking is no more than two drinks a day, while for women, it’s no more than one drink a day.
- Quit or don’t smoke at all. Smoking is one of the most preventable causes of death, but there are more than one billion smokers in the world despite this. There is no such thing as a safe cigarette, and the best way to avoid the risks of smoking is to quit before you start.
While most of us feel strong and healthy most of the time, illnesses and infections still get to us every once in a while. If you want to stay healthy and avoid being the victim of common colds and cases of flu, your immune system needs to be as strong as possible.