Encouraging a healthier lifestyle and promoting wellness through food is not just good for our physical self, it is essential for good health inside too. As much as eating healthy and introducing nutritious foods into our lives can improve our health and offer us wellbeing benefits, there are more benefits you can obtain from foods. Particular foods can boost your immune system, which is key as the immune system is the body’s main defence mechanism.
When your immune system is in a healthy condition, you probably don’t even notice it working away to protect you around the clock. However, you’ll know when there’s something wrong. As your immune system is your body’s built-in defence system, it helps protect you from illness and infection. If you feel good today, thank your immune system – and give yourself a pat on the back for looking after it.
Here are four ways to boost your immunity:
1. Eat Whole Foods
Food is part and parcel of our everyday lives. We eat to energize and fuel our bodies on a daily basis. Therefore, making the right food choices will have a good impact on our health. Food impacts our health in a myriad of ways, one being our immune system. To ensure our immune system is in good health, eating whole foods is a great step to take.
Food is medicine and your immune system relies on this ‘medicine’ to function properly. Nutrient-dense whole foods will maximize the health of the immune system as opposed to suppressing it. For example, cutting back on sugary foods, hydrogenated oils, and processed foods and swapping them for fruits or vegetables will help you make better food choices for the health of your immune system.
Each color of the rainbow should be present in your diet. Each individual color has its own health benefits. For example, green leafy vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber but low in calories. Eating a diet rich in leafy greens can offer numerous health benefits including reduced risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and mental decline.
Some of these colorful foods even offer the body pre and probiotics, which are important for your gut’s microbiome. Foods such as fiber-rich bananas, leeks, garlic, onions, and barley are abundant in pre and probiotics. Eating these foods will help you physically and mentally flourish.
Nutrient-rich foods include more than fruits and vegetables. Consuming healthy fats, protein, and carbs is essential too. These should be present in every meal as they all provide nutrition, energy, and gut health. For example, oatmeal is a great food to add to each meal, which is delicious and filling and is great for your immune system. There are many delicious savory oatmeal recipes from breakfast to dinners that anyone can enjoy. We need to fuel our bodies with nutrients that offer us energy as well as health benefits. Remember to consume a healthy and balanced diet of foods that offer your body nothing but goodness. Your immune system and health will thank you for it.
2. Take A Moment
The key to a healthy immune system is food, without a doubt. But, there are other influences that can help boost the immune system, such as physical and mental breaks.
Your mind and your body need and deserve these small moments of gratitude. If you allow time for restful and restorative moments, it will help keep your stress levels in check. Managing stress through these moments will help level out cortisol levels. Cortisol is a steroid hormone that naturally occurs in the body. When they are balanced, our bodies can respond to stress, regulate blood sugar, and fight infections.
Stress can weaken the immune system. When we’re stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens is reduced. That is why we are more susceptible to infections. The stress hormone corticosteroid can suppress the effectiveness of the immune system. Thus, practicing moments of self-care and managing your stress will benefit your immune system massively.
Setting yourself up with a wellness moment helps us obtain a healthier immune system. Finding time to steep a balancing cup of tea, slip into something cozy, take a bath, meditate, and indulge yourself with restorative skincare can help us restore balance and well-being. Make sure you make time to chill out by cutting back on screen-time and non-essential lifestyle routines that do not add any value to your life.
Self-care moments can also involve exercise and movement. Movement is a method used to benefit the body and the mind simultaneously. Moving your body has impressive effects on the immune system.
Exercise allows immune cells to perform effectively. Any form of exercise increases blood flow, reduces stress and inflammation, and can strengthen antibodies.
Exercise is one of the pillars of healthy living. But, that does not mean the exercise has to be rigorous to be effective. Gentle movements such as walking in the fresh air, meditating in the morning, or doing yoga before bed are enough to boost the immune system and build strength.
4. Sleep Wellness
We can have wellness moments every second of every day. Even when we are sleep. Good sleep quality offers the mind, body, and gut-healing powers. Our bodies need rest in order to regenerate and regulate our energy, from breaking down our food to resetting our brains. Sleep also has restorative benefits for the immune system.
During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines. These cells can promote sleep. Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation, or when you’re under stress. Sleep deprivation may decrease the production of these protective cytokines.
If you struggle to sleep well or enough, there are some sleep rituals that may help you improve your sleeping pattern. First, you should practice prioritizing sleep. No matter how busy you are, you need sleep to reset and be able to function properly. Seven to eight hours is enough for the body to reset.
Before going to sleep, you may benefit from doing yoga, meditation, listening to a podcast, having a herbal tea, or simply switching off your devices. Creating a zen atmosphere in your bedroom will help you relax and drift off into a peaceful sleep.