Maintaining a Healthy Immune System

Photo courtesy of thewellproject.org

Photo courtesy of thewellproject.org

With the coming change in seasons and flu season on the rise, sickness is bound to be spreading around. Maintaining a healthy immune system is vital to refrain from getting sick. By definition, your immune system is “the bodily system that protects the body from foreign substances, cells, and tissues by producing the immune response and that includes especially the thymus, spleen, lymph nodes, special deposits of lymphoid tissue (as in the gastrointestinal tract and bone marrow), macrophages, lymphocytes including the B cells and T cells, and antibodies”. In shorter terms, your immune system protects you from becoming sick. Here are some factors that may affect your immune system along with ways to keep it healthy and strong.  

LIFESTYLE

There are many lifestyle factors,that play a large role in maintaining your immune system. A healthy and stable environment contributes to the effectiveness of your immune system. Incorporating these daily habits helps improve your immune system: not smoking, exercising regularly, sleeping thoroughly and maintaining a healthy weight.

AGE

As you get older your immune system gets weaker,leading to more infections and sickness. It is very important to build up a strong and healthy immune system while you are young because it can affect how your immune system functions when you are older. Studies have shown there is a correlation between age and the amount of food eaten relative to the performance of the immune system. The elderly often eat less leading to a form of malnutrition and deteriorating their immune system. Whereas, young people eat more and often have stronger immune systems.

DIET

Food is a vital ingredient for every system within the body. The same goes for the immune system; your diet plays a very large role in keeping your immune system  strong and healthy. Vitamin C plays a large role in boosting your immune system as it has antiviral and antibacterial benefits. There are many fruits and vegetables that have vitamin C in them naturally, like oranges and kale. Here is a list of the Top 10 foods highest in vitamin C:

1. Peppers (Yellow Bell Peppers)

2. Guavas

3. Dark Green Leafy Vegetables (Kale)

4. Kiwifruit (Green)

5. Broccoli

6. Berries (Strawberries)

7. Citrus Fruits (Oranges)

8. Tomatoes (Cooked)

9. Peas

10. Papaya

Deficiencies in vitamins often lead to a weakened immune system. By maintaining a healthy diet and consuming a multivitamin every day you can boost your immune system rapidly.

photo courtesy of dailyhealthyfoodtips.com

photo courtesy of dailyhealthyfoodtips.com

MOOD

Your mood can have a very large effect on your immune system. While there are no studies that confirm a direct correlation between stress and the immune system, there have been many instances where a person with a more stressful lifestyle has become more ill than someone living stress free. You can learn to maintain your stress levels by getting more sleep and adding more exercise into your daily routine. And, if you’re interested in meditation as a method to help deal with stress, check out our recent blog.

Your immune system is vital to living a long happy and healthy life. The stronger your immune system, the less prone you are to sickness. All in all, there are many aspects to maintaining a healthy immune system. By implementing positive changes in your lifestyle, you could be adding 10+ years to your life! Make the right choice, and do your body good by changing up your lifestyle to boost your immune system.  

Giana Spear