Our immune system works to keep us safe from invading bacteria and viruses.
So what are some things you can do to strengthen your immunity? You can maintain a balanced diet, exercise, take care of your emotional health, and get proper amounts of sleep.
A healthy and balanced diet provides your body with the nutrients and supplements it needs to fight off the unwanted microbes. Our diet is a great part of our well-being. It’s essential to make sure we’re getting the right vitamins and minerals.
Exercise reduces the risk of several inflammatory conditions. For example, about an hour of cardio exercises can significantly increase blood flow to the heart. Studies found that even ten minutes of daily exercise can help people to lose weight and maintain a healthy BMI.
Taking care of your emotional health reduces stress and anxiety as well as lessens the chance of getting sick. A study found that people with chronic-stress had less infection-fighting T-cells than their more relaxed counterparts.
Getting a good night’s rest not only helps you feel more refreshed, but it’s one the most important things you can do for your immune system. Lack of sleep reduces our body’s ability to fight off illnesses. One study shows sleep deprived people have more than 25% less natural killer (NK) cell activity. These NK cells are tied to killing tumor cells. Another study compared people who slept for 4 hours a night for 6 days to those who slept for 12 hours a night for 7 days. The researchers found that those who slept for 4 hours a night had a 50% decrease in antibody production.
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American Psychological Association. (2006, February 23). Stress Weakens the Immune System. Research in Action. https://www.apa.org/research/action/immune
Besedovsky, L., Lange, T., & Born, J. (2012). Sleep and immune function. Pflugers Archiv : European journal of physiology, 463(1), 121–137. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00424-011-1044-0
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, March). Sleep and the Immune System. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/work-hour-training-for-nurses/longhours/mod2/05.html
Davison, G., Kehaya, C., & Wyn Jones, A. (2014). Nutritional and Physical Activity Interventions to Improve Immunity. American journal of lifestyle medicine, 10(3), 152–169. https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827614557773