A healthy and balanced immune system is your body’s first line of defense against infections, viruses and harmful bacteria. It can also help your body recover more quickly from illnesses such as the flu or common cold and support overall good health. Today, a robust immune system is more important than ever before. To build and strengthen your immune system you can make simple lifestyle choices everyday such as having a glass of orange juice every morning, going for a daily walk, or adding a probiotic to your diet specifically formulated to support immune health.
Here are the fastest and easiest ways you can support your immune system and help ensure it’s strong and ready at all times.
Eat Foods Rich in Carotenoids
Found naturally in different varieties of plants, carotenoids are a pigment class and another type of antioxidant. Your lifestyle and the food you eat create unstable molecules known as free radicals. These free radicals hurt your immune system, making you too weak to stave off infections and viruses. Antioxidants like carotenoids help neutralize these free radicals. During the process of digestion, carotenoids get converted to vitamin A which can help support and balance your immune system.
Carotenoid-rich foods include carrots, apricots, papaya, mango, kale, spinach, collard greens, and sweet potato. Your body absorbs carotenoids much better when cooked or consumed with items that have a healthy fat content.
Get More Z’s
Sleep naturally supports and strengthens your immune system. Think of your body as a fast and immensely complex computer. Your immune system is the anti-virus and malware protection system that ensures its proper functioning. When you doze off to sleep your body essentially reboots. Adequate rests can help ensure that your immune system is ready and capable of handling new tasks of defense against infection and viruses.
If you fail to get enough sleep, your body needs to work extra hard to keep you alert. It does this by releasing hormones like cortisol which is also known as the stress hormone. While this may keep you awake, it hampers the function of your immune system. A 2015 study by the Sleep Journal, shows that people who get less than six hours of sleep at night are four times more likely to catch a cold as compared to those who get at least seven hours of Z’s.
Research also shows that in case of exposure to a virus, those who get less sleep are more susceptible and likely to become sick. Seven to eight hours of sleep every night is a good rule of thumb to follow for adults. Teens need nine to ten hours, while younger children should get more than ten hours of sleep every night.
Add Vitamin C to Your Daily Diet
Vitamin C is an antioxidant powerhouse that is known to support immune cell functioning. Most people remember the importance of vitamin C only after they have caught the dreaded common cold. However, the point of power rests in preventing the condition before it arises. When it comes to building your immune health, citrus fruits and vegetables that contain a high content of vitamin C should be your go to food choices. White blood cells play a pivotal role in fighting off infections, and vitamin C can help build your immune system by increasing the amount of these white blood cells inside your body.
Grapefruits, lemons, limes, oranges, tangerines and clementines are good sources of vitamin C. Other fruit options include strawberries and kiwi fruits. You can also add vegetable sources like broccoli, and red and green peppers to your diet.
Focus on Gut Health
Your GI tract is home to an active microbiome that plays a vital role in the functioning of your immune system. Consuming the right kind of probiotic supplements can stimulate your immune system and improve your immune response. Probiotics are particularly effective against common acute respiratory infections.
It is important that you choose the right probiotics if you want to see a noticeable difference in whole body wellness. LoveBug Probiotics’s Immune Support Probiotic is a daily supplement that packs a robust punch with 10 billion CFU per serving. Not only does each supplement contain five targeted probiotic strains that naturally support the immune health, each pill is also supercharged with Vitamin C, zinc, and echinacea purpurea which is known for its wellness-inducing properties. Together, this proprietary blend offers you the support you need to build and maintain optimal immunity health.
Maintain Adequate Zinc Levels in Your Body
A vital mineral, zinc plays a role in the production of different types of immune cells. Studies show that when zinc levels in your body fall, your immune functioning deteriorates. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the recommended daily intake of zinc in your diet is 8mg for women, and 11mg for men.
Zinc is found in many seafoods as well as nuts. Shellfish varieties such as crabs, lobsters, mussels, oysters, and clams are great sources of digestible zinc. Cashews, baked beans, chickpeas, and raisin bran are a few other options you could try.
Reduce Your Daily Stress
In today’s world, mindfulness and self-care have become catch phrases that people use lightly. But high levels of stress have a direct impact on your immune system, so practicing self-care is a genuine need. If turning on the screen or tuning into social media feeds increases your stress, unplug and soothe yourself. Every time you get stressed out, your body counters it by stepping up the production of the stress hormones and cytokines, which are molecules that increase inflammation. High levels of cortisol impact your immune system by lowering the white blood cell count in your body. Studies show that people who are stressed are twice as likely to get ill than others who successfully practice self-care.
While it is impossible to always avoid stress in your life, there are certain strategies that can help you reduce it and manage life better. Mindfulness exercises, meditation, and yoga are a few ways in which you can de-stress.
Get Active a Few Days A Week
One great way to support your immune system is to work out a few days a week and stay active. Exercising helps activate your system and pushes antibodies and white blood cells through your bloodstream at a faster pace. Being active keeps your immune system up and running, so your body has a better chance at recognizing, targeting and eliminating illness-causing bugs. Research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests that people who get at least five days of exercise in a week have a 50% lowered risk of catching a cold as compared to those who live sedentary lives.
Aim at getting in moderate levels of exercise, between 30-60 minutes worth, four to five times a week. Keep in mind that overdoing workout sessions can be counterproductive and add physical stress to your body which may suppress your immune system – moderation is key.
Feel Good From the Inside Out™
Harnessing the power of simple lifestyle changes can play a key role in supporting your overall health and building your immune system. A strong, healthy and balanced immune system is your body’s first line of defense against harmful bacteria, infections and viruses. From increasing your vitamin C and carotenoids intake to adding an immune supporting probiotic to your diet, feeling good from the inside out starts here.
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