Having a fully functioning immune system means being able to prevent flu, colds and other infections. In fact, that system has precisely the function of defending the body against pathogens. What it does is a matter of delicate balance: on the one hand, the immune system must be strong enough to prevent disease, on the other hand, it must not overreact and cause a health problem itself.
To boost your immune system, it is therefore important to follow a healthy diet, have an active lifestyle and consult your doctor about taking any supplements that, especially at certain times, can support this delicate process and defend the body.
Follow a healthy diet
The start to support your immune system is to choose what you eat. When you go to the grocery store, you should focus on foods rich in vitamins and minerals that are essential for your health. Because the immune system works in collaboration with other apparatus, it is important that the body has the right nutrients to maintain homeostasis.
You can get these nutrients from food, choosing to bring vegetables, especially cruciferous and green leafy vegetables, fruit, including citrus fruits and kiwi, legumes, whole grains, ‘good fats’, such as those in salmon, avocado and nuts, and lean protein to the table.
For example, you can eat oranges, kiwi and grapefruit, but also tomatoes and broccoli to replenish your Vitamin C, that is crucial to fight infections thanks to its ability to produce white blood cells, while you can take zinc and magnesium, from nuts, oysters and dairy products.
The best way to get your body to intake the nutrients you need for your health is through food, but because sometimes you cannot follow a truly balanced diet, you can turn to your doctor for specific supplements. You can easily find them in them your local pharmacy and some brands, such as Berocca, offer a wide range of products for different needs.
Besides taking care of the diet, it is also important to ensure that the body is properly hydrated. Water, in fact, allows immune cells in the blood and lymph to circulate throughout the body.
Take care of your body and mind
That mind and body are closely interconnected was clear from ancient times, so much so that the Latin saying “Mens sana in corpore sano” is very famous. Over the years, numerous studies have confirmed the relationship between high stress levels and decreased immune function.
What would negatively affect the health and functioning of the immune system would not be certain events, but chronic stress, generated by everyday situations, such as relationships with friends, colleagues, work and family problems.
According to the American Psychological Association, stress acts in killing the lymphocytes in the body, cells that help your body fight diseases and infections. Furthermore, chronic stress can lead to an overproduction of cortisol, a hormone that promotes an inflammatory state of the body and, in the long run, leads to continuous infections.
To reduce stress, it is necessary to take out time for yourself: practise relaxing activities, such as yoga and meditation, cultivate good social relationships and spend time outdoors, which is also useful for replenishing vitamin D.
In order to de-stress and feel physically fit, it is decisive to exercise regularly. In addition, this will support your immune system. You should do moderate-intensity exercise, and avoid overtraining. In fact, while exercise helps the immune system to detect and react to infections more effectively and efficiently, overtraining only causes stress that weakens the body and its defences.
Also, do not underestimate the importance of a good night’s rest to support your immune system. In fact, getting enough sleep helps maintain homeostasis in the body.