The immune system is the body’s defense mechanism against infections and illnesses. Made up of special cells, tissues, proteins, and organs that protect the body from harmful microorganisms and diseases, the immune system blocks germs to keep them out of the body while continuously destroying any that enter. Here are some easy, yet highly effective ways to help boost your immune system.
1. Stay up to date on vaccinations
You may think immunizations are just for children, but that’s not true. Vaccinations, such as the flu shot, can help adults stay healthy and prevent disease.
Also note that some immunizations received during childhood do not necessarily last a lifetime. Some vaccines, such as the Tdap (tetanus, diptheria and pertussis) used to prevent whooping cough, are recommended during adulthood to ensure continued protection, while other vaccinations that exist today may not have even been available in your youth. Adults with health conditions may also need vaccinations.
Learn more about the flu vaccine here. Schedule an appointment with your Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group doctor to identify which vaccinations you may need to stay healthy.
2. Get active
Staying physically active is another way to reduce your chances of infection. Active individuals report fewer colds compared to those who don’t exercise regularly. To take your health a step further, make sure to take extra vitamin C to reduce oxidative damage to immune cells.
3. Spend time with loved ones
Whether it be family members, close friends, coworkers, teammates, or general acquaintances, they may all play a part in keeping you healthy. Ongoing research shows that people who stay socially connected tend to live longer and recover from illnesses faster than those who don’t.
The connection between social support and boosted immunity may stem from your body’s ability to handle stress—one of the leading factors in depression, high blood pressure, chronic pain, headaches, obesity, and even heart disease. Consider joining a book club, a walking group, or a group exercise class or participating in sports activities to build your social circles, and as a result, strengthen your immune system.
4. Set a regular sleep schedule
New studies show insights into how the immune system restores itself during sleep. When we get seven to nine hours of deep, restorative sleep, our white blood cells—which provide the foundation of our immunity—are able to regroup to prepare for the next day. Deep, adequate amounts of sleep also allow your body to repair tissue and stimulate muscle growth after exercise.
5. Focus on your nutrition
It’s clear that there are many ways to help boost your immunity, good nutrition being one of the best ways. Aside from practicing good hygiene, a healthy immune system requires good, regular nourishment—a balanced mix of vitamins and minerals over time in addition to the steps listed above.
Generally, it’s best to consume your daily vitamins and minerals from natural food sources rather than in pill form. Some of the top vitamins and minerals your immune system needs to stay in top shape include vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, folate, iron, selenium, and zinc.
For a more in-depth discussion on ways you can boost your immune system, schedule an appointment with your Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group primary care physician today.
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