On the whole, your immune system does a remarkable job of defending you against disease-causing microorganisms, but sometimes it can fail. Is it possible to intervene and boost your immune system? That idea has proved to be elusive in research over the years but there are things you can do to ensure you’re not overwhelming the work your system already has to do. It’s important to recognize that this is a system of intricate parts all working together to protect you. For it to function properly it needs balance. Although it may be is difficult to know which combined factors create the best immunity response, here are 5 healthy lifestyle strategies that will help give your immune system the upper hand.
1. Don’t smoke
Smoking can wreak havoc on your immune system and can make it harder for the body to fight disease. It results in a greater susceptibility to infections such as pneumonia, influenza and more severe and prolonged illnesses.
2. Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables, cook meat thoroughly and if you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation
Alcohol makes it harder for the immune system to gear up and defend the body against harmful germs.
3. Exercise regularly & maintain a healthy weight
Physical activity can help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways. This can decrease the likelihood of getting a cold, flu, or other illness. According to MedlinePlus, exercise causes change in antibodies and white blood cells (WBC). WBCs are the body’s immune system cells that fight disease.
4. Rest – try to minimize stress and get adequate sleep
A lack of sleep can make you sick. The Mayo Clinic states that during sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep. Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation, or when you’re under stress. Sleep deprivation may decrease production of these protective cytokines.
5. Take steps to avoid infection & treat infection
This can include washing your hands frequently, not touching your face if your hands aren’t clean. If you feel ill, seek medical help early.
LM’s Take: If you are an athlet e and live in the Toronto area you have probably come across Lorne and his team. They are all about performance and it is hard to perform at a high level when you have a weak immune system.
Lorne is the General Manager and CrossFit Personal Trainer and Life style coach at Advantage4Athletes. He heads a team of world class trainers and coaches. A4A works with professional athletes, Olympic medal winners, youth and adult league teams, fitness enthusiasts, as well as people who have never played a sport or been inside a gym their entire life.