The white blood cells and antibodies in our immune system protect our body from harmful substances or germs. Without our immune system, we would have no way to fight harmful foreign objects that enter our body like bacteria, fungi and viruses. Thus, it is important to keep our immune system healthy. Here are 4 ways to boost your immune system.
- Exercise Regularly
The immune system can be strengthened through regular and moderate exercise. For example, 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise a day such as brisk walking or cycling helps to improve recirculation and function of some immune cells such as NK cells, neutrophils and macrophages. Exercise on a long term basis can improve the ability to fight against pathogens.
- Relieve Stress
Stress or anxiety leads to the changes in plasma levels of certain hormones such as epinephrine and corticosteroids. These stress-related hormones affect our immune functions and have immunosuppression effects. Thus, it is important to relieve our stress by doing a recreational activity, such as yoga. Yoga which emphasizes the spiritual connection between mind and body was reported to relieve stress and anxiety. This was observed with the reduction of stress hormones cortisol level after a series of yoga courses.
Improve Your Sleeping Habit
An average sleeping time of 7 to 8 hours is recommended. Sleep deprivation can make us more susceptible to pathogens. Besides sleeping duration, sleeping quality is also important because slow-wave sleep (or deep sleep) helps to boost our immune functions. Cytokines are only produced during deep sleep, which helps to boost our immune system. Moreover, a totally dark sleeping environment can provide a good quality of sleep as the dark phase can stimulate the secretion of melatonin which is responsible for inducing sleeping behavior.
Maintain a healthy diet
A balanced and healthy diet helps to increase the efficiency of immune surveillance, insufficient nutritional intake may weaken the immune system. Besides, foods with high sugar, salt and saturated fat must be avoided. These components can adversely affect the immune system by promoting inflammation. On the other hand, a healthy diet is also rich in various nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, these foods should be consumed more. Furthermore, sufficient amounts of calories and protein are needed for optimum immune function.
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