Most of us understand the significance of keeping a healthy regimen that includes self-care activities to de-stress, eating a nutrient-dense diet, and exercising at least several times a week. Apart from having a clear skin, a healthy weight, and preventing long-term health issues such as diabetes and cancer, we also need to boost our immune system.
Our immune system can help keep viruses, bacteria, and toxins at bay, and prevents us from becoming ill. Immune systems help in removing infectious or unhealthy cells from our bodies and also regulate our response towards harmless activities.
In such a time when we are fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, it is relevant that we look at natural ways of improving our immunity since a majority of people are unable to visit the gym and have adopted unhealthy habits. Below are simple ways you can do this:
1. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise minimizes the risk of getting bacterial and viral infections as well as developing chronic diseases such as heart diseases, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Exercise also increases the secretion of endorphins (feel-good hormones), which helps in stress management. Regular exercise can help in improving our immune responses, while also minimizing our stress levels.
Adults are recommended to get at least 150 minutes or moderate-intensity workouts such as cycling, jogging, or walking. If you are into high-intensity exercises such as running, it is recommended you exercise at least 75 minutes each week. You should also have 2 sessions of strength training each week.
If you cannot go to the gym, go outside and workout. This will boost your Vitamin D levels, reduce inflammation, lower your blood pressure, improve your mood, and support your immune system.
2. Get Quality Sleep
Our bodies regenerate and heal when we sleep, thus having adequate and quality sleep is essential to our immunity.
When we are asleep, our bodies produce and distribute immune cells, such as cytokines (responsible for regulating inflammation) and T cells (which regulate immune responses). When you get inadequate sleep, your body may not produce enough immune cells, and your body may fail to protect itself against invaders, making you susceptible to diseases.
To get quality sleep, adults are recommended to have 7-8 hours of sleep. You can also get better sleep by turning off electronics 2-3 hours before bed and avoiding stressful and violent books/content or conversations before sleeping.
3. Moderate Your Alcohol Intake
Drinking a lot of alcohol is associated with several negative health effects as well as a weaker immune system. Alcohol is a diuretic, and it causes our bodies to remove fluids from our systems through the renal system (includes bladder, kidneys, and ureters) – which leads to the loss of essential minerals and nutrients from our bodies.
According to an article published in Alcohol Research, drinking too much alcohol weakens a person’s ability to fight infection and slows down recovery time. Consequently, people who consume alcohol face a higher risk of getting certain cancers, acute respiratory distress syndrome, pneumonia, and alcoholic liver disease.
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