A healthy immune system is your body’s first line of defense against a wide array of illnesses and chronic conditions. Besides being better able to fight off viruses and cases of flu, a strong immune system will also help keep more significant health issues at bay, including cancer or chronic conditions.
But having and maintaining a healthy immune system takes work, and especially as we age. Our immune systems tend to gradually deteriorate as we grow older. And, our systems can start to affect a person’s health starting at about the age of 60.
The good news is that you can make several lifestyle changes to help keep your immune system going strong. So, if you have been more susceptible to summer colds or wintertime cases of flu, consider the following life adjustments that can have huge impacts on your immune system and across the board.
1. Start Exercising Regularly (But Don’t Overdo It!)
Numerous studies have found that a regular exercise routine can help boost your immune system. And, there are several underlying reasons why.
For one thing, regular physical activity can help:
- Flush out bacteria
- Slow the release of stress hormones
- Reduce inflammation
- Regenerate your immune cells regularly
- Boost the effectiveness of vaccines in people who already have compromised immune systems
The key, however, is not to overdo it. Prolonged and overly intense exercise can have the opposite effect and can actually suppress your immune system instead of giving it a boost.
2. Drink Up!
Water plays many instrumental roles in our body’s ability to function.
- Supports your immune system
- Helps with the transportation of fluid in your circulatory system
- Carries important infection-fighting immune cells around your body
Being dehydrated slows down necessary movement and can eventually lead to an impaired immune system. However, you don’t have to drink water constantly (eight glasses a day is recommended).
While drinking up can help your immune system, being dehydrated can hurt it and can cause a number of other health issues as well, such as problems with your:
- Heart and kidney functions
3. Keep It Calm, and Find Ways to Relax
If you are highly stressed, then chances are that your anxiety and stress levels are taking a toll on your immune system. This is because long-term stress can promote inflammation (as well as lead to imbalances in your immune cell function) while enhancing the production of stress-related hormones, such as cortisol.
Luckily, there are a number of little things you can do every day to keep your stress levels in check.
- Try yoga or meditation for deep relaxation.
- Pause and take a few slow, deep breaths throughout the day when you start to feel yourself becoming anxious.
- Pick up other stress-combatting and healthy habits, including:
- Hobbies that slow you down
4. Sleep More
Like diet and exercise, getting a good night’s rest is instrumental in more ways than one. For example, in a recent study that examined how sleep impacts our immune system, researchers found that adults who sleep less than six hours a night on average have a much higher probability of catching a cold or a virus than those who regularly sleep six hours or more.
This is likely because getting the rest you need naturally strengthens your immune system, which can help you fight illnesses when your eyes are closed.
- Adults should get at least seven hours or more of sleep every night.
- Kids and teenagers should aim for 8-10 hours of sleep regularly.
Just don’t use the following to help you rest, as these can alter your circadian rhythms and affect the overall quality of your sleep.
- Sleep aids
- Other substances
5. Watch Your Diet and Your Waistline
Researchers have found that a large portion of your immune system is impacted by your gut and your diet, so:
- Avoid excess sugars and fats
- Opt for whole and fiber-rich foods
A healthy diet that focuses on whole, unprocessed foods and antioxidants is a great place to start.
It would be best if you concentrated on eating as many fiber-rich:
- Whole grains
- Healthy fats
Also, try following a primarily vegetarian diet, which can benefit your gut and your liver. This organ is responsible for:
- Breaking down fats
- Removing excess cholesterol
- Disposing of toxins
6. Wash Your Hands
Handwashing has been key in the past 18 months as a step in staying safe against the virus. It protects you against ailments and boosts your immune system by preventing the spread of germs. Just be sure to use the hottest water possible and to scrub for a good 20 seconds or more for an effective wash.
7. Get a Little Guidance!
Many patients who struggle with allergies and a weakened immune system believe there is little that can be done on a medical level, but this couldn’t be further from the truth!
At the Lamkin Clinic, we have developed a suite of individualized and beneficial treatments that can provide long-term and life-altering relief for a number of chronic conditions that are tied to your immune system, such as:
- Autoimmune disease
- Chronic inflammatory conditions
Learn more about our distinctive and time-tested treatments by clicking here. So let’s start your path to long-term relief by scheduling your consultation today!
By working together, we can find real solutions to a wide array of effective and pain-free conditions, which will help build a happier and healthier you for years to come.