Did you know that we each have our very own military? You see, within our bodies, a group of cells and organs work together to defend us against disease. With each passing moment, the outside environment shoots threats of pathogens such as bacteria and viruses our way. Our defence system, including antibody forces and white blood cells, sends out their troops to eliminate unwanted intruders before entering our bodies. Our immune system is essential for survival. We must give our bodies the correct equipment and training to ensure that it can defend us against the sea of pathogens we encounter daily.
Before we learn about the right equipment and training required to strengthen our immune system, we must understand what factors negatively impact our immunity:
Poor diet: Malnutrition or a diet lacking in nutrients can impair the production and activity of immune cells and antibodies.
Excess weight: Obesity through a host of factors compromises our bodies’ ability to evoke the correct immune response.
Lack of sleep: Sleep is a time of restoration for the body, during which a type of cytokine is released that fights infection; too little sleep lowers the amount of these cytokines and other immune cells.
Environmental toxins: Smoking, pollution and excessive alcohol can all suppress the normal activity of immune cells.
Older age: As we get older, our physiological reserve declines and our organs produce fewer immune cells to help fight off infections.
Now, that we know what factors can influence our immune system, let’s evaluate what we can do starting today to biohack our bodies and give it the support necessary to build a strong immune defence.
Working out is a powerful way to promote general health and boost your immune system through improving blood circulation and respiratory capacity. It results in improved circulation in our bodies’ antibodies and white blood cells, making them readily available to detect and neutralize intruders. Being active also lowers stress hormones, reducing our chances of getting ill, along with improving our overall muscle tone and bone density. The key to exercise, however, is to do it in moderation; doing too much exercise can also put unnecessary stress on our bodies. Experts recommend to aim for 30 to 60 minutes of consistent exercise four to five times a week, with rest days being important too.
There is a strong link between mental stressors and their effect on your health. It is important to maintain a balanced lifestyle to ensure your daily stressors are kept in check through forming healthy habits. Although none of us can avoid stress in our lives, you can adopt strategies to help you manage it better. Methods to achieve this include both incorporating daily exercise into our routines or reflecting through mindful activities.
Get enough sleep
Getting adequate rest also allows for recovery of our natural immunity. In times of illness it is important to prioritize rest. Sleep assists in down regulating pro-inflammatory processes and increasing immune responses to pathogens which makes you less susceptible to illness. Adults should aim to get 7 or more hours of sleep each night – while adolescents need between 8-10 hours. Tips to improve sleeping habits include: reducing exposure to unnatural blue light from electronic devices at least two hours before bedtime, cooling your ambient environment, having a regular bedtime, reducing caffeine intake and regular exercise.
Up to 60% of the human body is composed of water and is dependent on it to survive. Drinking water is crucial to staying healthy and maintaining the function of every system in your body, including your heart, brain, and muscles. Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body needs water to work properly. For example, your body uses water to maintain its temperature, remove waste, lubricate your joints, carry nutrients to your cells, flush bacteria from your bladder, and prevent constipation. Aim to drink between 1.5 – 2 litres of water throughout the day to keep your body well hydrated.
Get some sunshine
When you think of the sun, your first thought might be about the damage it can do. And while too much can cause several kinds of serious health issues, small amounts, especially early in the day before it’s at its brightest, has an array of health benefits. How much? This answer is different for everyone as it depends on your skin tone, age, health history, diet, and where you live. In general, 5 to 15 minutes – up to 30 if you’re dark-skinned – is about right to get the most out of it without causing any health problems. You can stay out longer and get the same effect if you use sunscreen.
A fundamental nutrient produced by our bodies through the sun’s UV ray is vitamin D, which is important for your bones, blood cells and immune system. Additionally, small doses of frequent sunlight has been shown to improve sleep, assist in weight loss, boost your emotional well-being and give you more energy.
The food and nutrients you consume is the key to performance and recovery. A healthy diet is essential to feed your body the necessary nutrients that may help keep your immune system staying strong. Scientists have long recognized that people who live in poverty and are malnourished are more vulnerable to infectious diseases.
It’s important to approach improving your immunity in a healthy, natural way. Many products on store shelves claim to boost or support immunity. No supplement will cure or prevent disease, so if you’re looking for ways to prevent colds, the flu, and other infections, your first step should be a visit to your local grocery store
Our next post will go into detail on this topic and offer some tips on how to build a strong immune system through smarter food choices. We hope you have learned something beneficial and that you can start implementing our top tips straight away to enhance your immune system.