Is it possible to make your immune system stronger? Well, the answer is yes. Immunity fortifies the body against external invasion by microorganisms, allergens, and parasites. People suffering from low immunity are prone to fall sick frequently and are susceptible to fatal diseases. That is why strengthening the immune system is a prerequisite for keeping various ailments at bay.
How Does the Immune System Work?
The immune system performs the function of defending our body against the disease causing micro-organisms. Failure of the immune system to perform its function effectively results in increased susceptibility to diseases and infections. The immune cells play a major role in preventing the entry of pathogenic bacteria and viruses into the body. These cells comprise of lymphocytes or T-cells which directly fight invading molecules and B-cells which produce antibodies that respond to harmful molecules, facilitating their removal by other immune cells. The immune system also contains phagocytic cells such as macrophages and neutrophils, which eliminate the debris created from the destruction of harmful cells and tissues at the site of infection. Impairment of any of these functions can weaken your immune system .
How to Improve Your Immune System
Prevention is better than cure and, therefore, it is important that we maintain a strong immune system. Our immune system requires balance and harmony to function efficiently. It can be efficiently improved by incorporating a few changes in our diet and lifestyle.
Listed below are top ten home remedies to boost immune system and protect the body
1. Red Wine
Red wine, when consumed in controlled quantities, acts as an excellent booster for the immune system of the body. Wine helps to kill foreign bodies and certain dangerous bacteria like salmonella. Red wine also helps to prevent coronary heart disease when consumed in moderation . A glass of red wine a day boosts immunity and protects the body against common illnesses like cold, fever and stomach disorders. But, too much consumption of it can damage the liver and destroy the immune system of the body. It is extremely important to have red wine in controlled quantities.
Garlic is one of the best foods to boost the immune system. Garlic, a natural antibiotic, antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal agent, helps to protect the body against a variety of illnesses. Regular consumption of garlic helps to control inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Garlic also helps to lower the blood pressure , cholesterol level and lowers the risk of various types of cancer .
One tablespoon of honey a day is extremely good for the immune system. It is a natural antioxidant, antibacterial and antimicrobial agent that helps to protect the body against viruses, fungi and bacteria. Honey also improves the digestive system by treating acid reflux. It helps to soothe a sore throat, regulate blood sugar, and treat coughs and colds.
4. Fruits And Veggies
Green leafy vegetables and fruits often elicit wrinkled noses from most of us. But they are superfoods to boost immune system. Loaded with folic acid, fruits and veggies improve the functioning of your immune system. Deficiency of folic acid lowers the secretion of necessary quantities of antibodies that possess infection-fighting properties. Vitamin A present in carrots, sweet potatoes and dark green leafy vegetables enable white blood cells to fight off infections more effectively. Vitamin C found in citrus fruits as well as bell peppers, papayas and broccoli improves the absorption of iron from plant based foods, thus protecting immune system against disease. Vitamin E in nuts and turnip greens can combat flu and upper respiratory infections. Green leafy vegetables are particularly beneficial for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
5. Green Tea
Green tea is great for boosting the immunity. It contains epigallocatechin gallate, a type of flavonoid that fights bacteria and viruses, and stimulates the production of immune cells. Green tea is also a rich source of anti-oxidants . Regular consumption of green tea prevents cardiovascular diseases, stroke and cancer .
6. Oranges, Lemons, And Guavas
Fruits like oranges, lemons and guavas are the richest sources of vitamin C. Besides, guavas are loaded with fiber, which protects against high cholesterol and heart disease. Oranges are also a great source of copper, potassium, Vitamin A and Vitamin B9, Vitamin B1 and carotenoids that are vital for the immunity system of the body . These fruits also help to lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
Regular consumption of fish is one of the best natural remedies to strengthen the immune system. Fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and zinc. Zinc helps to build, and repair cells while omega-3 fatty acids are natural anti-oxidants, and anti-inflammatory agents .
Deficiency of vitamin B6 adversely affects different aspects of immune response such as lymphocytes’ ability to mature and convert into various types of T and B-cells. Turmeric contains vitamin B6 as well as minerals like potassium, manganese and iron that are important for the functioning of different body systems. It also contains curcumin, whose antioxidant action improves the functioning of the immune system .
Flaxseeds are a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid, omega-3 fatty acids and phytoestrogens called lignans that play an important role in modulating the response of the immune system, keeping infections and autoimmune diseases at bay. Flaxseeds also have anti-cancerous properties .
A portion of oatmeal at breakfast can greatly benefit your immune system. The soluble fiber contained in it can reduce LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol. Oats also contain vitamins and minerals such as, Vitamin B1, Iron, Zinc, Copper, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus and Selenium .
Deficiency of vitamin E can adversely affect your body’s ability to fight infections. A recent study has proved that taking a daily dose of 200 mg of vitamin E improves antibody responses to hepatitis B and tetanus after vaccination. Almonds are a rich source of vitamin E that helps to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation . All you need to do is chew a handful of almonds to keep your immune system running in smoothly.
Being a storehouse of amino acids, healthy fats and antioxidants, avocados help balance your hormones and adrenals as well as support the immune system. Avocado has anti-bacterial properties and avocado oil keeps your heart healthy [11, 12].
These blue-green algae are a wonder-food in terms of its various health benefits. They stimulate the immune function and possess anti-cancer properties too [13, 14]. They are packed with iron and selenium, which can replenish the RNA in one’s brain, improving brain performance. You can add some of it to your green smoothie to obtain its healing benefits.
14. Olive And Canola Oils
These oils are a source of healthy fats which are a lubricant for your cells. They strengthen your immune system by improving flexibility and communication between the cells. However, excess consumption of omega 6 fatty acids can increase the risk of inflammation and immune system problems [15, 16].
Ginger is excellent for improving the immune system of the body. Ginger treats many health problems and helps to protect the body against a host of disorders. It is a strong antioxidant, antiseptic, antibiotic, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agent. Ginger also helps to relieve throat pain and congestion. It also destroys cold viruses, improves gastric mobility, inhibits peptic ulcer, and lowers cholesterol. A cup of ginger tea every day helps to improve immunity.
Kale is a rich source of Vitamin A, which is the best natural remedy to boost the immune system of the body. It is a natural antioxidant that fights cancer cells, stimulates the production of white blood cells and antibodies, which protect the body against infections. Consuming kale regularly helps to keep the body fit and protects the system against bacterial and viral infections.
17. Dark Chocolate
Cocoa boosts immunity and helps to maintain the good cholesterol level in the body. Regular consumption of dark chocolate improves cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol. Dark chocolate also helps to maintain blood pressure. It is important to consume chocolate in small quantities as it can lead to sugar problems.
Lack of sleep is one of the major factors contributing to stress and, in turn, weakening the immune system. Besides, insomnia can cause a rise in inflammation as well as increase cortisol levels. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation lowers your T-cell count, reducing your body’s ability to fight off disease causing pathogens. Adequate sleep not only improves your mood and energy levels but also prevents strokes and helps manage your weight. Ensure to get at least 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night .
19. Take No Stress
Stress is a part of life and is experienced by everyone. Prolonged stress can make you more susceptible to ailments ranging from colds to serious diseases. Chronic stress can expose your body to stress hormones, which adversely affect the immune system functioning. High levels of stress increase the production of cortisol which harms your immune cells. It is not possible to get rid of stress completely but with a little effort, stress levels can be lowered significantly. You can do so by doing things and meeting up with people that make you happy. Yoga or meditation is a great way to deal with stress. You can also try working out as this will divert your mind, causing you to take less stress .
20. Drink Alcohol Occasionally
Consumption of excess alcohol can greatly suppress your immune system. Various researches have proved that excess consumption of alcohol is toxic to dendritic cells, which plays a crucial role in destroying invading microbes. This not only increases the vulnerability to cold and flu virus but can lead to serious and even life-threatening infections .
21. Drink Plenty Of Water
Water plays an important role in balancing the body’s fluid levels as well as energizing your muscles and improving bowel function. This is one of the best tips for a healthy immune system. Ensure to drink at least eight glasses of water every day. So replace your soda, tea, alcohol, or coffee with water.
22. Restrict The Consumption Of Simple Sugars
Excess consumption of sugar suppresses the immune system cells, which are responsible for attacking the disease-causing bacteria. Consumption of 75-100 grams of this sugar significantly lowers the ability of the white blood cells to fight and destroy bacteria. Always go for natural fruit juices, water and teas to stay hydrated, cleanse your immune system and boost it with vitamins and minerals.
23. Check Your Vitamin D Levels
Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, can greatly boost your immune response. Deficiency of this vitamin is associated with seasonal colds and flu. Vitamin D deficiency is quite common as this vitamin is only available from the sun and very few foods. You require at least 50 nmol/L of vitamin D to maintain overall health. If you are prone to diseases, get your vitamin D levels checked. Get proper exposure to sunlight. You can also take a supplement to make up for the deficiency .
24 . Maintain A Healthy Weight
Being overweight increases your risk of developing diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Besides, too many fat cells trigger the release of pro-inflammatory chemicals in the body, causing chronic inflammation. This inflammation can damage your tissues, leading to a weak immune system. So always have a balanced diet to maintain your ideal weight .
25. Exercise Regularly
Exercise is a part and parcel of a healthy lifestyle. Working out daily improves your cardiovascular health and reduces the risk of diseases like osteoporosis and cancer. If you find it difficult to indulge in a full-fledged workout, you can try having a 20 minute walk every day. This will strengthen your body’s disease fighting capabilities.
- Children and teenagers should indulge in 60 minutes of exercise per day that should incorporate aerobic activities and muscle toning activities.
- Adults should have at least 150 minutes of exercise comprising of aerobic exercise each week and muscle strengthening activities like weight lifting at least twice a week.
- Elder people above the age of 65 years and not suffering from any medical issues should indulge in at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise like brisk walking and muscle strengthening exercises twice a week .
26. Keep Smiling And Be Happy
As we all know, laughter is the best medicine and this medicine is also effective in improving your immune system. A simple smile can make things better. It can make your body happy and boost your mood and immune system. A hearty laugh decreases the amount of stress hormones in the body and increases white blood cells that fight infection. So indulge in laughter and allow your stress hormones to drop and your endorphins and growth hormones to rise!
Simple steps to improve immune system — yet following them can lead you to a healthier body, a body that can keep diseases at bay. Who wouldn’t want that?
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