Published: 12/09/2014 - Updated: 04/21/2016
Everyone wants to have an optimum immune system to be able to face the pathogen microorganisms that we all come into contact with. Viruses that cause the common cold and flu wreak havoc, especially during season changes and during winter. That’s why a lot of experts recommend taking care so as to avoid getting sick.
A healthy diet and habits are important for having an optimum state of health and also for preventing illnesses. Certain dietary changes, and even including supplements or vegetables in your diet, could help stimulate the immune system.
Recommendable and non-recommendable habits
Some habits could promote, or just the opposite, negatively affect the immune system. That’s why it’s important to keep in mind what you should avoid and what is good to include in order to take care of your health and to prevent illnesses.
1. Sleep well: Lack of sleep and stress could increase cortisol levels, a hormone that also negatively affects the immune system, lowering defenses.
2. Avoid consuming alcoholic drinks: When consumed frequently or excessively, alcohol too can affect the immune system and make you more prone to suffering from respiratory illnesses.
3. Avoid smoking: this habit not only ends up fatal in some cases, but it also lowers defenses. The smoke increases your risk of suffering from respiratory illnesses like bronchitis and pneumonia.
4. Get enough sun: Studies have related a vitamin D deficiency to a higher risk of suffering from respiratory illnesses, which is why it is advisable to sunbathe in order to produce this vitamin in sufficient amounts.
5. Fight stress: This is one of the worst enemies of health in general. High stress levels also debilitate the immune system, which is why it is recommended to do relaxing activities so as to dissipate stress and fight its effects.
6. Exercise: Exercise helps stimulate the lymphatic system and circulation, which translates to improved oxygenation and therefore a more efficient immune system when it comes to fighting possible infections. Walk regularly, and practicing some sort of sport is recommendable for taking care of health.
7. Laugh!: Laughing fights stress, and according to studies, laughter can also help improve the immune system. Watching a comedy or having an entertaining chat could stimulate the production of endorphins and growth hormones. Laughing is also free and available to everyone.
Dietary and supplementary recommendations
Diet is a fundamental part for an optimum immune system. Nourishing our body appropriately can protect you from diseases. There are also plants and supplements that can be useful for this as well.
8. Include fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and mineral. They contribute to a good metabolism and also a better antibody response. They are essential is you want to have good defenses.
9. Regularly consume probiotic foods: These are foods with beneficial, live microorganisms that promote good intestinal flora. According to studies, they not only protect against digestive diseases, but also against respiratory diseases and more. A few probiotic foods are yogurt, cheese, and other fermented foods, like soy sauce.
10. Shiitake mushrooms: This mushroom has become popular because of its ability to strengthen the immune system. It has even been said to improve women’s defenses against breast cancer, which is why it is a supplement that you should consider if you want to improve your immune system.
11. Garlic: This is a natural immune system stimulant. You can add it to your meals, but preferably you should eat it fresh and crushed. Heat can deactivate some beneficial substances in garlic.
12. Echinacea: This plant is very useful for strengthening the immune system. It is advisable to use it during winter to promote a good state of health. It is also recommended to consume in teas or as a supplement.
In addition to the supplements, there are certain dietary changes and advice that you could follow to improve your immune system. There are other alternatives that you could use, like acupuncture, reiki, etc.
13. Acupuncture: Positive effects have been observed with acupuncture use for strengthening the immune system, making it an alternative that you could consider. Acupuncture can be complemented by moxibustion for better results.
14. Reiki: Reiki can help fight stress and diverse ailments. It is a complementary therapy that can also be used to strengthen your defenses, promoting general health.
15. Massages: Some massages can help improve your defenses as they promote circulation and also drain the lymphatic system. Massages are also useful for fighting stress, which translates into an optimum immune system.
In general, all alternatives that help fight stress and promote balance within the body can be useful for having the best immune system possible.