Unlike Bruce Willis in Unbreakable, who is never sick a day in his life, we all have times where we come down with the flu or a cold. Our coworkers call out and our friends cancel plans as they order in hot pots or soup. Getting sick now and then is normal, but do you find yourself more often than not being the one calling out at work and hiding underneath the covers? Or maybe you’re struggling with a more serious condition, such as cancer, and are struggling with the side effects of fatigue? For both these situations, part of the problem may be with your immune system.

The immune system is your body’s sword and shield, its protector against all types of infections. This invaluable system is comprised of a complex network of cells and proteins which are capable of keeping a record of all the viruses, bacteria, and other foreign bodies it’s ever defeated and utilizing that information to quickly defeat future renditions. However, just like the warriors of old times had to maintain their swords and shields, there are things you should do to maintain and even improve your immune system to ensure it is best capable of warding off germs and keeping you healthy. The following is a look at some simple yet effective things you can do to strengthen your immune system:

3 Ways to Boost Your Immune System

  • Choose a diet rich in plants. Improving your diet is the single greatest thing you can do to boost your immune system. The old maxim you are what you eat has stuck with us through so many years because of how strong it holds true. Fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based foods naturally contain a substance called phytochemicals. An exciting number of studies have shown that these phytochemicals, when regularly ingested, help strengthen the body’s immune system and increase the creation of healthy cells while simultaneously quickening the death of damaged cells — such as those compromised by cancer.
  • Get more sleep. Sleep is an essential part of our body’s processes and getting too little of it will increase your risk of getting sick the next time a disease sweeps through your area. While some people may brag about their ability to get on fine with just five or six hours of sleep a night, the truth is that most people need closer to eight or nine hours. If you can’t get that all in one night, consider adding a 30 minute to 1 hour nap during the day.
  • Stand up and move. People who live sedentary lives have been shown time and again to be higher at risk for coming down with infectious diseases, with greater frequency and severity. So for just an hour a day, stand up and get moving on a bike, on the trails, or in some other manner. While there is still extensive research going on to determine the precise way exercise improves the body’s immune system, there are some general ideas for why. For one, exercise slows down the brain’s release of stress hormones that would otherwise increase the risk of illness. Your body also rises in temperature during and following exercise and this rise of temperature is believed to help fight off lingering infection (similar to what occurs during a fever). Furthermore, while exercising, your antibodies and white blood cells more quickly circulate through your body, which may allow them to more quickly detect germs and initiate a more proactive defense–though this theory is still being researched.

Visit Us at MindBody Medicine Center

At MindBody Medicine, we believe in a holistic approach to health that starts with methods that can strengthen one’s immune system and overall health. Learn more by contacting us today.