In our day and age, people are used to always being on the go. Everyone’s always in a hurry. They skip lunches — or grab whatever’s most convenient — without giving a second thought about their health. Technology has provided us with efficiency — at the expense of the world expecting instant responses, immediate results, and interrupted sleep. All of it combines to create a perfect stress storm. And, if you have a chronic condition, it’s enough to cause flareups. What can you do to ensure optimal health? Is there any way to boost your immune system?
What is the immune system?
The immune system is made out of white blood cells, the lymphatic system, spleen, bone marrow, thymus, and antibodies. Together, they work to fight off infection. Certain lifestyle factors can cause it to weaken. When this occurs, you are vulnerable to getting colds, the flu, viruses, toxins, and parasites.
5 Ways to Boost Your Immune System
1. Eat Well
Consuming too much sugar lowers your immune system’s ability to fight bacteria. It also increases the likelihood of weight gain, Type II diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, chronic inflammation, and cognitive decline. What’s worse, the more sugar you eat or drink, the more you crave it. Unfortunately, most Americans far exceed the recommended intake of added sugars. And eating a high-fat, high-sugar diet kills essential bacteria in the gut — causing the immune system to malfunction. As a result, about half of American adults have one or more diet-related chronic diseases. That said, eating a diet rich in vitamin C — such as fruits, dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes, ginger, and turmeric — will help boost your immune system and reduce inflammation.
Regular physical activity is an essential element of a healthy lifestyle. Yet, less than 5% of adults in the United States do at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Meanwhile, studies show that regular exercise increases the immune system’s competence and lowers the risk of infection. It also reduces the risk of inflammation and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. To boost your immune system, the American Heart Association recommends getting at least 150 minutes of exercise per week if you prefer moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes a week for vigorous exercise.
Another factor that lowers your immune system’s ability to fight off infection is to skimp on sleep. When you don’t sleep enough, your body makes fewer cytokines — a protein that interacts with the immune system to keep disease at bay. To produce enough cytokines, you should get between seven to eight hours of sleep per night. If life circumstances don’t allow you to do so, take two 30-minute naps throughout the day, if possible.
4. Find Ways to Lower Stress
When a person is stressed, their body produces higher amounts of a hormone called cortisol. The higher your levels of cortisol, the harder the immune system works to reduce inflammation. When sustained for long periods of time, this leaves the immune system overworked. As a result, this reduces the body’s lymphocytes — white blood cells that fight off illness. Exercising, spending time with loved ones, getting a pet, meditating, journaling, doing activities you enjoy — and saying no to activities you don’t want to do — will all help reduce stress levels.
5. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight comes with a long list of benefits — such as lowering the risk of high blood pressure, Type II diabetes, sleep apnea, joint pain, allergies, and cardiovascular disease. In addition, excess body fat (especially abdominal fat) triggers the production of pro-inflammatory proteins. This, in turn, impairs the immune system. There are several factors that influence what would be a healthy weight range for you — including your height, gender, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, muscle mass, and body fat content.
A healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. You can calculate yours with a BMI calculator. If you’re a woman, keep your waist circumference at no more than 35 inches. If you’re a man, keep your waist circumference at no more than 40 inches. You can also determine your body fat percentage by measuring the circumference of different body parts and entering your gender and weight into a body fat index calculator. A healthy range is between 25 and 31% for women and 18 and 25% for men.
If Your Doctor Has Recommended Infusion Therapy, Let Infusion Associates Help You
At Infusion Associates, we provide medically-prescribed infusion therapy for patients with chronic conditions in a welcoming and friendly environment. Our team of healthcare professionals is fully committed to making the experience as comfortable as possible for you or your patients. We always inform patients of any potential side effects and answer all their questions before starting treatment. In addition, we have a Registered Pharmacist and Medical Provider on-site to make the process as seamless as possible.