The immune system is a vast, complex network that provides the body with the ability to fight infections and other diseases. The continual protection afforded by this system isn’t magic or foolproof, and requires a balance to be achieved and maintained in order to be effective. Following are three straightforward and manageable ways to give your immune system a consistent helping hand as it does its job to keep you healthy and prosperous.
Consistently Eat Healthily
One of the most productive methods of increasing and then maintaining the body’s immune response is by limiting processed food intake, as well as foods and beverages that are high in sugar. While grab-and-go foods are a large part of everyday life for many people due to convenience, these kinds of foods are doing more harm than good because they contribute to poor gut microbiomes, which create a strain on your system and result in poor digestion. It is impossible to improve your immune response while eating foods that work against your body’s ability to produce and maintain healthy gut flora. There is good news, however. By regulating your diet and adding a few key elements such as fresh fruits and vegetables, probiotic-rich foods like yogurt and kimchi, and a sufficient amount of water, the body can fight back against uninvited guests such as bacterial and viral infections with efficacy.
Regular exercise is also very important when it comes to achieving a balanced immune system, chiefly because of the increased blood flow that results, encouraging smoother operation in all areas, as well as an overall reduction in chronic inflammation. Moderate exercise has also been touted as an excellent way to lower stress hormones, which in turn benefits the immune system by increasing the body’s ability to produce infection fighting white blood cells.
Sleep, Sleep, Sleep!
Sleep, and especially a lack thereof, has a direct effect on the body’s immune response because of a protein called cytokines that are produced during the sleep cycle. Cytokines work as a go-between for the immune system and the rest of the body by letting the immune system know when something new is introduced that our white blood cells need to combat, such as an injury or infection. Consistent, productive sleep patterns give the immune system a step-up by making sure that the body is ready to fight illness when it is introduced. When sleep deprivation occurs, the body is unable to produce the weapons needed in order to keep the immune response ready and will result in a weakening of the immune system as a whole.
At the end of the day, a balanced immune system can be achieved through making proactive, consistent changes to your overall lifestyle. These changes do not have to be severe or drastic in order to aid your immune system, nor do they need to have a negative impact on the amount of time you have each day to achieve your desired goals. A few small changes today in areas such as diet, exercise, and sleep patterns can make a world of difference in how you feel tomorrow.
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