Don’t Leave Your Immune System Hanging
Your immune system is critical to helping you fight off and prevent diseases. It increases its repertoire and abilities as you get older and fight off more diseases. When your immune system is weakened for any of a number of reasons is when you are likely to get sick. Here are a couple of ways you can help keep your immune system in tiptop shape. Did you know your genetics may even play a role in the strength of your immune system?
Catch Some ZZZs
While you sleep your body does lots of repairing and regrowth. The immune system also uses this time to strengthen itself. In an experiment when students at the University of Chicago were only allowed to sleep for 4 hours a night 6 nights in a row and then given a flu vaccine their immune systems only made half the normal number of antibodies. Seven to nine hours of sleep a night is critical for good health. There’s even a study linking poor sleep to increase in cancer.
Exercise helps eliminate stress and increases your natural antibody and T cell response. Exercising outside is also beneficial, as sunlight will help your body create vitamin D, which is critical for T cell function.
Socializing has been proven to increase life span and to make people less susceptible to common colds. Those who socialize more have also been found to be able to recover more quickly from sickness. If you don’t feel like leaving your house or you are not a people person, no worries spending time with pets has been proven to be an effective means of raising immune response as well.
In particular, foods with vitamin C such as many fruits are great immune boosters. Probiotics, found in yogurt, help to increase immunity. And foods high in antioxidants and vitamins like mushrooms and other vegetables are also critical for keeping your immune system running smoothly. There are also many immune boosting supplements that you can use to supplement the food you’re eating.
Control Your Stress Levels
Stress initially pumps up your immune system. But long periods of chronic stress cause your immune system to become worn out from being in overdrive. Long-term stress causes the number of T-cells in your body to be lower, meaning that your ability to fight off invaders is diminished. When you are sleep deprived you are also likely to eat worse, exercise less, drink more alcohol and turn to other unhealthy behaviors.