Your immune system is the first line of defence from countless contagions, keep your body healthy and free from illness. It is a complex network of cells, tissues and organs that work together to detect and destroy invading pathogens, such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi.
What weakens your immune system?
Various lifestyle factors can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to infections and diseases. For example, stress can cause your body to release stress hormones like cortisol, which can suppress immune function. Unhealthy diets, which are high in sugar, processed foods, and saturated fats, can also weaken your immune system by reducing the number of beneficial nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, that your body needs to function properly.
Smoking can damage the respiratory system and impair lung function, making it harder for your body to fight off infections. Meanwhile, alcohol can disrupt the balance of bacteria in your gut, which can impair your immune system’s ability to function properly.
Lack of sleep can also take a toll on your immune system. During sleep, your body produces cytokines, proteins that help fight off infections and inflammation. If you do not get enough sleep, your body may not produce enough cytokines, which can weaken your immune response.
How to boost your immune system?
When your immune system is weakened, it may not be able to fight off these pathogens effectively, making your body more susceptible to infections such as the common cold and flu. It is therefore essential to maintain a healthy and robust immune system to reduce the risk of infections and other health problems.
There are many things that we can do to support your immune system. These include:
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet: Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can provide essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to support a healthy immune system
- Exercise regularly: Exercise helps improve circulation and can help boost immune function
- Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of infections. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night
- Manage stress: Chronic stress can weaken the immune system, so it’s essential to find healthy ways to manage stress, such as meditation, yoga, or talking to a therapist
- Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption: Both smoking and drinking too much alcohol can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of infections
Give your body the best chance of fighting off illness and staying healthy. A healthy and robust immune system is essential to help reduce the risk of infections, and also recover more quickly from illnesses if you do get sick.