Your immune system plays a very important role. Its job is to protect you against disease and other foreign bodies that can be harmful. When your immune system is strong, it can identify threats, such as viruses, bacteria, and parasites, distinguish them from healthy tissue, and attack them before they take over and cause damage.
How does your immune system target threats? By creating antibodies that are tailored to the specific threat. Once your body neutralizes the threat, it “remembers” it, and when the same threat enters your body at a future date, your body’s immune response is even more efficient. It swoops in and fights the germ better than it did the last time.
What Can I Do to Boost My Immune System?
There are three types of immunity: 1) innate immunity (the kind you’re born with naturally), 2) adaptive immunity (this type develops throughout your life when you’re immunized with vaccines or exposed to certain diseases, and 3) passive immunity (this type is short-term and borrowed from another source, such as the antibodies a baby is exposed to in their mother’s breast milk). Even though the idea of “boosting your immune” system may not fit into any of the above categories, the recognized fact that lifestyle can impact immunity is hard to argue with.
Research has linked diet, exercise, sleep, and psychological stress to immunity or lack thereof. That being said, if you want to do everything you can to stay healthy and boost your immune system, follow this advice from Harvard:
- Avoid smoking
- Get regular exercise
- Drink alcohol in moderation (if you drink)
- Be sure you’re at an ideal weight
- Get sufficient sleep, which is usually eight hours a night
- Eat a healthy diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables
- Do what you can to minimize stress
- Be proactive about avoiding infection by washing your hands frequently
- When cooking meat, be sure to cook it thoroughly
What about food? Are there certain foods that can help boost your immunity? According to Healthline, citrus fruits, red bell peppers, broccoli, garlic, ginger, spinach, yogurt, almonds, turmeric, and green tea may all help keep your immune system strong, so if they’re not already in your kitchen, you may want to visit your local grocery store and stock up on these staples!