Published at 2020, April 8th
A healthy immune system relies on white blood cells producing antibodies to combat invading pathogens like bacteria, viruses, and other invaders.
This is especially important for older people because as we age, our immune response capabilities get reduced, increasing the chances of infection. How can we boost our immune system during this coronavirus outbreak to remain strong and healthy?
1 – Manage Your Stress Levels To Boost Your Immunity
It’s not easy, but you can manage the stress in your life and stay centered and grounded through these difficult times. Whether you practice mindfulness, keep an exercising routine or write your personal journal, there are a bunch of activities that can help get rid of stress.
Stress should not be underappreciated. It greatly affects our “fight or fly” system, keeping us constantly alert and distracting our (immune) cells from other essential functions like getting rid (often by phagocytosis) of malfunctioning cells or pathogens.
At the same time, several maladies like hives, heart diseases or stomach disconcert have been linked to emotional stress, according to Harvard Medical School. Though it is hard to define stress – because what’s stressful for someone may not be to someone else – variables such as heartbeats per minute can be interpreted as signs of it. So chronic stress caused by work, family or friends can be stressors that influence one’s immune system.
2 – Meditate And Breathe Using Wim Hof’s Method To Increase Immunity
Perhaps you have heard of Wim Hof, aka the IceMan, who broke several Guinness World Records? He ran a half marathon above the Arctic Circle only wearing shorts, swam underneath ice for +60 meters, run a marathon in the Namib Desert without drinking…
Long story short, his website makes available all the scientific tests he participated in with revolutionary findings in the areas of brain activity, stress resilience or control of inflammation and pain. These studies were developed by credible academic institutions and published in scientific repositories such as PNAS and Nature.
He developed his own breathing program based on hyperventilation and breathing retention techniques, as well as meditation. Moreover, Hof and his team lowering the prices for their online courses, now with 50% off. Perhaps a good opportunity to find out more about his method?
Otherwise, a Harvard Medical School piece also speaks of alternative techniques to help turn down the human response to stress. They mention techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation (like TRE), yoga, tai chi or qi gong.
3 – A Good Night Of Sleep To Improve Your Immune System
Build good sleeping habits – doing so will allow you to fall more easily into a good mood and strengthen your immune system. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggests a 7-hour minimum night sleep, following which negative consequences like mental health issues, cardiovascular diseases or hypertension are more easily avoided.
To fall asleep more easily, avoiding to drink stimulants such as coffee or green tea before the evening. These will keep you out of that alert state when the time to go to bed comes. So if you need a drink after dinner, appreciate the old good water or a warm herbal tea.
Letting your tech devices aside after dinner is also a good idea since the screens’ blueish light interferes with the production of melatonin – which we need to fall asleep. This the same reason (absence of invasive light) why it is important to keep your room dark. Before ending your day, read a book or write a gratification journal – these are calm, thought-easing activities.
4 – Exercise: Healthy Body, Healthy Immune System
Regular exercise is very important for a healthy life. Despite being often seen as a way of controlling body weight, it also improves cardiovascular health and lowers blood pressure.
Together with a balanced diet, practicing sports and doing regular exercise contributes to good general health and, therefore, to enhance the immunity of the human body.
A recent study from the University of Bath highlights the power of regular, daily exercise on our immune system and the importance of people continuing to work-out even in lockdown. Another analysis published in the Journal of Sport and Health Science says acute exercise is an immune system adjuvant that improves defense activity and metabolic health.
5 – A Healthy Diet Helps Improve Your Immune System
The strength of our immune system starts as we nourish our body with nutritive food rich in a bunch of different minerals and amino acids. Trials on animals have shown that deficiencies of vitamins A, B6 or C, and iron, folic acid or zinc alter their immune systems.
Ensuring we ingest everything our body needs to remain fully fed is one of the reasons why having a diverse diet that includes not only hydrocarbonates and proteins but also vegetables and fruits. The latter, especially antioxidant fruits, can also help reduce oxidative stress.
According to the Physicians Committee, a group of +12,000 physicians, eating a low-fat, plant-based diet may help give the immune system a boost. This type of diet is linked to a high intake of vitamins and a lower intake of fat which is high doses can be negative for the vascular system.
It is also important to limit the number of refined carbohydrates and simple sugars we ingest. There’s evidence suggesting acute rises in blood sugar may increase the risk of infection, apart from the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.