The role of the immune system is to protect your body against infections. This system consists of different cells, tissues, organs, blood, and bone marrow, which, when work together, defend the body against pathogens that are harmful such as bacteria and viruses.
According to the NIH, the immune system can also prevent harm caused by noninfectious agents such as sunburn and cancer.
You can compare the immune system with an orchestra. For the best performance of the band, every musician and instrument should work in harmony. Even if one of the instruments gets off the beat, it will cause trouble for the whole band. All the instruments need to perform within their respective positions.
This example fits best in understanding the mechanism of your immune system. Every part of the immune system must work according to the directions to defend your body against harmful agents. For the best, all you can do is to practice the behaviors which could actually be healthy for your immune system functioning.
Good gut health is a key to overall health.
It is now believed by doctors that around 80% of your immunity is based on the gut. A Mediterranean kind of diet that consists of unprocessed foods and antioxidants can actually protect your body. It works by reducing inflammation and aid in the growth of good bacteria in your gut which will make the immune system stronger.
Tips to make immune system stronger while staying at home
1. Avoid high fiber foods
Try to add high-fiber foods to your diets, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and legumes. Foods which are well-fermented are also good for health, such as miso, yogurt, and kimchi. Try to take good care of your liver functioning too. Broccoli, cabbage, and kale are healthy for the liver’s functioning to remove fats and extra cholesterol out from your body.
2. Wash your hands frequently.
Keeping hands clean is the most important habit that you should opt for your whole life. Washing hands frequently remove germs. Wash your hands for 20 seconds.
3. Work out on a regular basis.
Working out can actually help as well. Physical activities help in removing the bacteria out of your body, and they also decrease the flow of stress hormones.
Moreover, it also helps in lowering the risk of diseases such as heart diseases and fatty liver. Additionally, it makes your bones stronger.
But don’t try to overdo the intense workouts because they can make your immune system weak and will make you susceptible to different viruses.
4. Shower after working out.
Excessive sweating after an intense workout not only makes you smell bad but also give space for bacteria to grow on your skin. Perspiration can lead to the formation of fungus and other yeast infections. And scraping on your skin can cause more infections.
5. Take vitamins.
Vitamin C is extremely vital to give support to your immunity by guarding cell function and preventing oxidative stress (formation of free radicals).
Vitamin C can be obtained through dietary sources such as strawberries, oranges, kiwis, and spinach.
Vitamin D is also known as the sunshine vitamin because the best source of getting vitamin D is sunlight. It depends on your skin type that how much time is required to get an adequate amount of vitamin D from sunlight.
Ten minutes of sun exposure is enough for fair-skinned people. It is recommended for darker-skinned people to take vitamin D supplements instead. It can also improve your immunity by giving protection against respiratory problems.
Other vitamins recommended by the healthcare professionals are Vitamin B6, and Vitamin E obtained through chicken, salmon, tuna, green vegetables, spinach, seeds and nuts.
6. Reduce your stress level.
It is important to remember that stress badly affects your immune system. It leads to the excessive production of cytokines and cortisol, which activate inflammation.
It can also decrease the quantity of white blood cells found in your body, which function to fight off viral infections such as cold and flu.
Additionally, stressed individuals also neglect other healthy habits such as adequate sleep and a healthy diet, which contribute to making their immune system weaker.
7. Take up yoga and meditation.
As mentioned earlier, working out can actually boost up your immunity. Incorporating exercises such as yoga and meditation can actually relax your nervous system. It will further decrease the risk of inflammation.
8. Practice deep breathing techniques.
Such simple and easy controlled breathing exercises can work best for you. It can perform wonders for you by lowering your blood pressure, cortisol levels and improving blood flow in your body.
9. Make sure you get enough sleep.
You have got to learn about the benefits of adequate sleep. It actually plays an important role in the development of colds.
One study conducted by UCSF in 2019 suggested that participants with poor sleep were four times more likely to get cold as compared to those who got proper sleep. It was the main contributing factor in determining the reasons behind someone’s sickness.
Your body requires full and healthy sleep to regenerate the necessary proteins and cells within your body.
10. Employ positive thinking.
You have got to explore the impact of mental health on your physical health. And the results will leave you wondering!
Experts from John Hopkins Medicine revealed that positive thinkers were less likely to have a heart attack as compared to negative thinkers, though positive thinkers did have a family history of heart diseases.
According to another study, smiling, even if you are faking it, can lower blood pressure in highly stressful situations. Negative thinking and emotions can actually make your immune system weak and vulnerable.
Immune system limitations against COVID-19
It is worth mentioning that having a strong immune system is not going to prevent you from acquiring COVID-19.
SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is basically a new form of the pathogen in which a person does not contain any antibodies for his defense if he contracts it. In such case, it is highly advisable to seek precautions just as hand hygiene, social distancing and coughing manners.
However, having a strong immune system will definitely assist your body as it gets to interact with the novel virus. You must take the necessary steps to boost up your immunity which will help you in fighting other viruses as well. Well, more researches are required in this area, but so far, nutrition, exercise, a healthy lifestyle, and psychological well-being have been proved to improve your immune system. Following are some tips and hacks to save your day and life.
Boosting immune system through physical activities
One senior medical director of Wellness and Nutrition at Intermountain Healthcare suggests that a moderate level of physical activity is strongly related to low anxiety, stress, and better immunity. Here are few tips to boost up your physical activity:
· Keep moving
The Physical Activity Guidelines suggest about 150 to 300 minutes per week of aerobic activities and also about two sessions in a week of strength muscle training. You can add 5, 10, or 20, how many minutes you want to make the most out of your workout routine. Remember that every single minute counts!
· Try indoor activities
You can start by walking within your home or climbing up and down the stairs for like 10 to 15 minutes for how many times you want. You can add fun activities as well, like dancing, jumping, or taking exercise classes at your home.
· Try outdoor activities
You can do some outdoor activities as well, like jogging around your street, riding a bike, spending some time with nature, or playing some fun games with your friends in a nearby park. It can help a lot in staying physically and mentally healthy. It is widely practiced over the globe to visit near parks, going to some open places to get rid of stress, getting Vitamin D and fresh air. You should definitely visit parks nearby your home, but don’t forget to practice social distancing (6 feet away) and frequent hand washing after you reach home.
· Try muscle strength training
You can download the related apps for strength muscle training on your phone. You can even take recorded classes for such exercise online. You can explore simple ways to start strength muscle training by doing easy exercises such as squats, sit-stands, push-ups against a wall or floor within your home. Don’t be lazy even during watching TV. You can stay active by doing a lap around your sofa, throwing garbage outside the home, and washing dishes. Try to be productive as much as you can!
· Ideas for healthy snacking
If you are struggling with too much snacking while staying at home, then your struggle is real! Here are some tricks to keep it down:
- Try to prefer fruits and vegetables to snacks. Eat vegetables and pair fruits like yogurt, hummus, and guacamole, which consist of filling dips.
- Never skip any meal of the day. You should start the day with a healthy and balanced diet breakfast to stay active throughout the day. Take some time out from your work and have lunch which may include healthy vegetables, whole grains, and essential proteins.
- Try to keep such unhealthy snacks out of your reach and sight. Keep baked items frozen so that you could not grab them. Also, put the candy bars and chocolates in the basement, probably where you are less likely to wander around.