Boost Your Immune System
by Ewa Biging - Editor in Chief, Just Breathe Mag
To live a vibrant life, full of joy and vitality, there are many things we can do to enhance the body’s inherent wellbeing. A healthy and strong immune system is paramount. It gives you the energy you like to have in your life and it helps you to avoid, relief or shorten diseases.
The Immune System
The immune system – the body’s own defense system – consist of proteins, cells, organs and tissues, which interact in a complex network and disorders in this system may result in disease. Since microbes can penetrate the body and cause dysfunctions at any time, the human immune system is constantly challenged by environmental influences. There are several ways to strengthen your immune system naturally, and thus, to protect your most valuable habitat.
The skin is an important mechanism in the body’s defense system, as the acid mantle blocks out pathogens. The skin is the body’s biggest organ and does not just function as a protection but also plays as an active and intermediary role between the environment and the functions of the body. Touch releases messengers, which interfere in a regulating way with the immune system. Further, the stimulation of the skin has positive effects on stress. Thus, a massage is not just a simple relaxation technique but also a vital element in your overall state of wellbeing
The avoidance of chronic stress is crucial, as it may wear down the immune system and increase your vulnerability to illness. Altered mood states such as depression, anxiety and panic are harmful to the body in many ways. Secondary symptoms such as fatigue, difficulties with memory and concentration, aches and pains and problems with sleep are common in people with mood disorders, which also harm the immune system.
In order to reduce stress and anxiety, try to incorporate relaxation techniques, such as Yoga, meditation, Tai Chi or deep breathing in your daily routine. This calms your body and mind and helps you to get rid of ‘toxic thoughts’.
Especially cardio training, as well as regular inurement, such as sauna or kneippism, are great methods to enhance the immune function.
Working out regularly mobilizes the antibody response as well as your T cells, a type of white blood cell known to guard the body against infection. Exercise can also improve your mental well being, it can even help relieve mild to moderate degrees of depression and anxiety.
A balanced diet, which contains all essential nutrients, such as iron, zinc and selenium, as well as vital vitamins, is the foundation of a healthy immune system. Make sure your diet is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are vitamins and minerals that remove harmful oxidants, also known as free radicals, from the bloodstream. Free radicals are chemical by-products (of food digestion, sunlight, pollution, etc.) known to damage DNA and suppress the immune system. Antioxidants are found in many fruits and vegetables, especiallyin the green ones, like apples or broccoli.
Further, you can modify your diet by choosing healthy fats, such as the omega-3 fatty acids available in oily fish, over saturated fats, found in red meat and dairy products. For an additional immune boost, try adding garlic, which has virus-fighting and bacteria-killing properties, and ginger, a natural anti-inflammatory, to your meals on a regular basis.
Obviously, drinking plenty of water is paramount, as it helps you to fend off infection by flushing out your system. Sugary beverages and alcohol won’t do the trick.
So give yourself a boost and live life to the fullest!
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