10 WAYS TO BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
In normal times, unless you have an immune disorder, you’re likely unaware of your immune system working quietly to keep you safe. Obviously, these are not normal times. With the coronavirus reaching pandemic levels, your immune system is an essential line of defense. It’s important to understand how it works and what you can do to keep it – and you – healthy.
Steady & Ready
What makes for “strong immunity” can be confusing. When you consider that your immune system is your body’s natural defense against threats to your health, you may think that it best serves you by always being active and in fighting mode. But a strong immune system is actually one that remains calm and unagitated until it is called to action—and you can do your part to help yours stay that way.
Inflammation is an active immune system’s response to a stressor such as infection, injury, allergy or emotional crisis. When your body needs protection, your immune system is what helps keep you from getting sick or gets you on the road to being well again. But this positive force can also bring its own set of dangers.
Inflammation can arise for a number of reasons, not just illness. Whenever it’s present, your immune system is busy and you have fewer resources available to fight off a real threat. That’s why you want to avoid unnecessary inflammation.
Do what you can to keep your immune system ready, willing and able by helping it stay quiet when its efforts aren’t truly needed:
Rest and Restore
Insomnia, sleep apnea and a chronic lack of sleep can reduce your T-cell count and increase inflammatory cytokines, both of which make you more susceptible to illness.
Try setting and maintaining a regular sleep schedule, and keep your bedroom dark and free of distractions. If you snore, wake up feeling tired or suspect you may suffer from a sleep disorder, talk to your doctor.
Choose Calming Foods
Fruits and vegetables (aim for a broad rainbow of colors to get the most antioxidant variety), fish and fish oil, olive oil, ground flaxseeds, and spices like ginger, rosemary, basil and turmeric can all have a quieting effect on an overactive immune system.
Look for new opportunities to fit these options into your diet: Add fresh basil to a sandwich, or drizzle olive oil on veggies, for example. Increasing your intake of dietary fiber from foods like berries, beans and whole grains can also help.