The body’s immune system is integral to fighting off infection and disease. At times like these, it’s more important than ever to make sure it’s not only working as well as it can, but also performing better than before. Just like a muscle in the body, you can boost immune system strength so it works better, and this could mean either avoiding illness altogether, or only experiencing mild symptoms if you do get infected.
There are several ways to build and boost your immune system, and understanding the importance of your immune system is the first step.
The Importance of the Immune System
The immune system isn’t just made up of white blood cells, but consists of a vast network of tissues, cells and organs that work in tandem to maintain overall health and protect the body against infection. The human body is an ideal host for all number of pathogens, viruses, and parasites to thrive if unchecked; the immune system acts as our defense against these microbes and any of their subsequent attacks.
Every part of the immune system plays a unique role: the white blood cells are the first line of defense against any malicious foreign invader, whilst the blood marrow produces our infection-fighting soldiers.
Other parts of the immune system include lymph nodes that act as filters for foreign particles, and the spleen which controls the amount of blood circulating through the body removing old or damaged red cells.
As you can see, there are many parts of the immune system that all play their part in various and equally important ways.
A good night’s sleep can do wonders when it comes to the body’s overall well being, improving both physical and mental health. Sleep is when the body is able to fully rest, recover and repair itself in readiness for the day ahead, and not getting enough shut eye can have bad consequences.
Indeed, studies have shown that sleep-deprived patients are at a higher risk of developing an illness after exposure to a virus, underlying the importance of getting in that recommended 7-8 hours of dream-time.[i]
2. Vitamins and Antioxidants
Like any good machine, our body runs well if it’s fueled properly, and getting the right intake of vitamins and antioxidants promotes a healthy immune system. Blueberries, spinach, kale, garlic and ginger are beneficial on many levels.
In addition to having powerful effects on your antibody response[ii] they are also some of the best brain foods available, so you’ll enjoy better physical and cognitive health by eating them on a regular basis.
3. Drink Less Alcohol
When consumed moderately, alcohol doesn’t seem to have particularly bad consequences for the immune system, and indeed the jury is still out over whether that single glass of red wine actually presents antioxidant-related benefits to the body.
Either way, it’s clear that high levels of consumption do have a negative impact, since studies have shown the white blood cell count to decrease below normal levels when a significant amount of alcohol is in the bloodstream.[iii]
4. Minimize Stress
When the body is placed in a stressful situation, the chemical cortisol is released into the bloodstream, decreasing the performance of your immune system. In addition, anxiety can impact your sleep pattern, which, as mentioned above, can reduce your body’s ability to recover at night. Try to prioritize a healthy mindset, and perhaps introduce some form of daily meditation to provide a sense of order to any chaos you might have in your life.
5. Zinc Supplements
It’s important to get enough zinc in your diet since this mineral supports normal growth, heals wounds and keeps the immune system strong. Most diets should include enough zinc to adequately support working immunity levels; however, if you find yourself more susceptible to illness than others, consult a medical professional to see if you have zinc deficiencies that need to be addressed.[iv]
6. Probiotic Foods
A healthy gut means a happy immune system since the two are closely linked: around seventy percent of your immune system resides in your gut with probiotic bacteria living in the digestive tract and supporting our immunity levels. You’ll see most benefits from fermented foods (such as kimchi) or yogurts that contain live bacteria cultures that will boost the immune system.
The body’s circulatory system plays a key role when it comes to your level of immunity, essentially acting as a transport network for white blood cells to move about the body. You can increase the efficiency of this pipeline by exercising regularly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages at least two and a half hours a week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes if at a more vigorous level.[v] Read more about all the benefits of exercise here.
The Role of Weight Loss Supplements
The other benefit of exercise is that, alongside a healthy diet planvi, it helps to maintain an ideal body weight, and this is especially important in relation to COVID-19: obesity seems to worsen the effects of the disease and puts you at greater risk of complications from it.
If you are struggling with your weight, then perhaps consider some weight loss supplements. Phenocal is a popular brand on the market, made of all-natural ingredients that enhance your weight loss efforts by reducing the appetite and boosting energy levels. Taken regularly, it can make it easier to manage your weight and enjoy better overall health.
Whilst there are many ways to boost immune system strength, there is no silver bullet cure-all that will do the job by itself. Using a combination of the above methods and maintaining a healthy weight with the help of a supplement such as Phenocal will give your body the best chance of fighting off infections.
Of course, it’s also vitally important that you practice good hygiene at all times, such as proper handwashing, and follow the recommended social distancing guidelines.
Nathan Hodges is a passionate writer. He writes about health, fitness, nutrition & diet. His work gives a curiosity engaged to the readers.