Individuals that have a weak immune system are more susceptible to illness and struggle to fight off infection and bacteria. Weak immune systems can also make the symptoms of illness more intense.
Needless to say, having a strong immune system is essential to your physical and mental health.
If you are looking for ways to strengthen your immune system and fight bacteria, keep reading because we list five proven ways to do so below.
Physical activity is an essential part of living a healthy life. It improves mood, cognition, muscle strength, self-esteem, and even the immune system.
Researchers suggest that just 30 minutes of moderate activity each day can boost your immune system in the following ways:
- Increases white blood cell count. White blood cells are the most important part of the immune system and the first line of defense when infection occurs within the body.
- Increases antibody production. Antibodies are proteins that also play a part in fighting infection.
- Reduces inflammation in the body. When the body is inflamed, it struggles to fight infection.
- Improves blood flow. Increased blood flow helps antibodies, and immune cells reach areas of the body that are infected or need an immune response.
Exercise’s ability to improve mood also helps the immune system because emotional distress can result in inflammation and immune system dysfunction.
A healthy diet is another essential part of boosting your immune system.
A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can improve your body’s immune response. However, a diet filled with added sugars, preservatives, trans and saturated fat, caffeine, and salt, can weaken the immune system.
These foods cause inflammation, raise cholesterol, and weight gain which all make it harder for the immune system to do its job.
Additionally, dehydration can make it hard for your body to respond to illness effectively, so be sure to drink plenty of water each day, especially when sick.
Sleep deprivation is one of the most harmful things you can put your body through. It alters cognition, disturbs an individual’s emotional responses, and causes dysfunction of many bodily functions.
Researchers have found that sleep-deprived individuals produce fewer infection-fighting T-cells and are more likely to fall ill after being exposed to viruses.
The body does the majority of its healing while asleep. Therefore, when you are sick, sleep is essential to recovery. Adults should receive 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Anything less is considered sleep deprivation.
Other than getting enough sleep, exercise, and healthy foods, other lifestyle changes can boost your immune system.
Individuals looking to improve their immune systems should limit stress and the use of alcohol and tobacco.
As mentioned, stress can wreak havoc on the body by causing inflammation and system dysfunction. Stress also weakens the heart, damages the lining of the gut, reduces white blood cell production, and suppresses the production of antibodies. These issues caused by stress make it incredibly difficult to respond to bacteria and viruses.
Alcohol and tobacco affect the immune system in the same ways as stress with the addition of direct damage to major organs like the liver, lungs, kidneys, and heart.
Some lifestyle changes that improve the immune system include going in the sun, using cannabis, and practicing deep breathing.
- The sun provides vitamin D, which increases white blood cell production. Sun exposure also decreases inflammation.
- Cannabis boosts the immune system by reducing inflammation, improving moods, decreasing pain, and improving blood flow. Cannabis also contains natural immune-boosting terpenes like linalool and humulene (here, you can learn more about cannabis terpenes and their effects).
- Deep breathing, also known as diaphragmatic breathing, strengthens the immune system by increasing antibodies and blood oxygen levels and reducing stress.
When pathogens infiltrate the body, you can use herbs to help your immune system fight off illness and improve symptoms.
Here are a few herbs to add to your diet when ill.
- Purple Coneflower (echinacea)
- German Chamomile
These herbs are also great at preventing illness since they can help fight bacteria when they enter the body.
When our immune system is weak, we struggle to prevent illness, fight infections, and manage symptoms.
Luckily, there are lifestyle changes you can implement into your daily routine to strengthen your immune system like getting physical activity, enough sleep, and eating healthily.
Avoiding alcohol, tobacco, and stress also safeguards the body’s immune system, while adding cannabis, sun exposure, and controlled breathing exercises can give it an additional boost.
Adding certain herbs like garlic, oregano, and ginger to your diet can prevent illness, improve symptoms, and speed recovery time.