If there’s one thing the past three years have taught us, it’s to not take our health for granted. While we have slowly gone back to our pre-pandemic lives, the sad truth is that the deadly virus is still prevalent around the world, so we need to be more careful! Not to mention, the change in weather has also led to a rise in cases of common cold and fever. This is why many are on the quest to find the best natural immunity boosters to strengthen their immune systems and keep pathogens at bay.
While the internet provides us with plenty of peculiar methods to amp up our immunity at home, they are not always effective. The truth is, you can boost your immunity with a simple change in diet, along with taking your daily immunity boosting supplements and making a few lifestyle changes. To help you out, we’ve listed 8 practical, easy, and effective ways to strengthen your immune system to help you build up your defenses over time rather than provide you with a quick spike in immunity that would last only for a brief period.
8 Simple Ways To Boost Your Immunity
1. You are what you eat
Food fuels your entire body, including your brain. It is a basic necessity for us humans. But over the years, food has become more of a pleasure. We indulge in sugary, salty, and fried food items to satisfy our taste buds, but we forget to give our body the basic nutrients it needs to function properly. Eating a balanced diet will do wonders for your body. If you want to focus solely on your immunity, here are a few food items you should try:
Foods rich in Zinc and Iron
Minerals like Zinc and Iron are fantastic immunity boosters. Zinc plays a vital role in the production of immune cells as well as the regulation of innate and adaptive immune responses. Iron also aids in the rapid expansion of immune cells, particularly those developed to combat a specific disease. You can include foods like beans, dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, dried fruit, iron-fortified cereals, bread, legumes, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, cashews, and almonds to increase your zinc and iron levels.
Foods rich in Vitamins C and E
Vitamins C and E are powerful antioxidants that help the immune system by preventing cell and tissue damage caused by free radicals. Citrus fruit, such as oranges along with strawberries, broccoli, wheat germ oil, sunflower, safflower, and soybean oil, almonds, asparagus are great sources of these vitamins.
Foods rich in Prebiotics and Probiotics
Both prebiotics and probiotics have an impact on our immune system both directly and indirectly. They do this by regulating the expression of cytokines and by promoting the development of good gut flora. By adding garlic, onions, and lentils to your meals along with fruits like bananas and apples, you can increase your prebiotic intake. Whereas, foods like yogurt, kefir, and Miso soup are great probiotic options.
2. Incorporate some sport or activity into your daily routine
Physical exercise in the form of targeted practice, jogging, or any activity of your choice can help you improve your immune function.
Daily physical exercise and a balanced diet can help you lose weight. Studies have shown that obesity impairs immune function, so if you connect the dots, by exercising daily you are certainly helping your immune system.
Having said that, exercising moderately might be the ideal way to keep your immunity in check.
3. Sleep for 8 hours
Getting eight uninterrupted hours of sleep every night is a luxury for many when it should be a necessity. Why is sleep important? A good night’s sleep is required for our bodies to repair themselves. When we sleep, cytokines are released in the body. These are the primary immune response regulators. Any infections, external wounds, or internal tissue damage are healed by the immune system as we sleep. Additionally, it is thought that sleep can aid your immune system in remembering a disease, much like sleep is thought to aid your learning and memory.
4. Support your immune system with supplements
It’s not possible for everyone to have a balanced diet every day. Some of us lack consistency, while others lack resources. This is where supplements come into action. You can rely on some quality immunity-boosting supplements to provide you with the necessary nutrients for better immunity. There are two big advantages to using immunity booster tablets, effervescent tablets, oral strips, etc. One is that they give you the right amount of nutrients your body needs. The second is that the nutrients you need are readily available for your body to absorb; it doesn’t have to work on breaking something down and then absorbing the nutrients from it.
Look for immunity-boosting supplements that have any of the following nutrients:
- Vitamin C
This is one of the most popular vitamins when it comes to immunity boosters, and it’s even recommended by doctors, but have you ever wondered why? Simply put, this water-soluble vitamin helps build up your immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells, which fight off infections. It also contains antioxidants that can neutralize unstable compounds and help prevent or reverse cellular damage in our bodies. According to studies, when vitamin C is paired with zinc, the benefits are magnified. Both nutrients play important roles in immune function and provide protection against infectious agents, reducing the risk, and duration of infectious diseases.
- Vitamin D
This fat-soluble vitamin has traditionally been known to help the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus; both of which are important for building bone. But aside from supporting bone health, this vitamin also has anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory properties that are known to enhance the function of immune cells, protecting you from pathogens and respiratory illnesses. If you are looking to boost your kid’s immunity, look for immunity boosting supplements that are enriched with natural ingredients like Indian gooseberry, guava, lichen, etc., as they contain all the necessary vitamins, including vitamin D, to strengthen the immune system.
- Vitamin A
It plays a vital role in maintaining your body’s natural defences. Vitamin A-enriched supplements help in the production and function of white blood cells, which help capture and clear bacteria and other pathogens from your bloodstream.
Probiotics are not only great for improving digestive health but also for boosting immunity. According to studies, more than half the cells that create antibodies for fighting sickness are located in the intestines and other organs in the gut. Therefore, when you have a healthy balance of gut bacteria, there are fewer chances of falling sick. Look for supplements that have Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis strains, as these are two of the best species of probiotics for boosting immunity.
5. Focus on your gut health
About 70–80% of our immune cells are in the GI tract or our gut. Our gut has colonies of friendly bacteria that help in digestion and detoxification. But there’s more. These bacteria also interact with the immune cells; thus, an imbalance in the composition of gut bacteria affects our immunity. So how do you take care of the friendly bacteria in your gut? Here are a few easy ways to do so:
- Consume probiotics and prebiotics
- Avoid taking on too much stress
- You can add Apple Cider Vinegar to your diet
- Eat more fiber
- Drink a lot of water
- Avoid high sugar diet
6. Try to manage your stress
When you are stressed, your entire body gets affected, including the immune system and the gut microbiome. A stress hormone called cortisol is released, when you are stressed. Although it is primarily anti-inflammatory, frequent spikes in cortisol levels can negatively impact your immune system. Additionally, chronic stress is usually associated with increased expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which suppress the immune system.
Methods of stress management are different for everyone. We recommend you consult a professional therapist to help you manage your stress effectively.
7. Limit your alcohol and tobacco consumption
Cigarette smoke carries over 7,000 chemical compounds that interfere with your immune response. Alcohol abuse affects the balance of your gut microbiota, thus weakening the host’s immune response. Going overboard with these two causes a lot of fatal diseases, so make sure you keep a check on how much you smoke and drink.
8. Ensure proper hygiene
Are you on your phone right now? Or your laptop? Your phone has plenty of bacteria on it, and so does your laptop. Were you planning on sanitizing your hands before munching on some snacks? Obviously not. We did adopt these strict hygiene habits during the pandemic, but slowly we are reverting back to being a bit unhygienic. You don’t have to spend too much money on buying disinfectant sprays and other fancy products to maintain hygiene. Do simple things, that’s enough. Wash your hands before and after eating. Wash all the vegetables and fruits you eat. Keep your house, and especially your toilets and kitchen, clean.
There are many over-the-counter immunity-boosting medicines available, and most of the time you do not need such medicines since they only provide temporary relief and don’t help you get stronger. We’d rather encourage you to improve your lifestyle and dietary habits in order to strengthen your body’s natural defence system, as discussed above.