Lifestyle Changes to Naturally Boost your Immune System
Our bodies do an incredible job in carrying us through life. And a large part of our health is due to our immune system, which is made up of billions of white blood cells that fight off bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells in the body.
Many of us have remedies to combat illness once it hits, but is it possible to intervene and proactively build up your system so it is firing on all cylinders when you need it?
Well, there is no way to fully ward off sickness but adding extra support is certainly possible.
Here at Ace, we believe in doing everything we can to support our health and wellness so that we can make the most out of our every day, especially during cold and flu season or when a virus is circulating.
Here are 6 healthy habits that will have your immune system producing a near-perfect immune response whenever you need it.
1) Spice up your diet
What we put into our bodies has a huge influence on our overall health. You’re likely aware that eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables every day can ensure your body gets the variety of nutrients it needs to support your overall health and immunity. But have you been incorporating turmeric or ginger into your everyday diet?
Eating these spices regularly has shown to offer multiple health benefits. Both are packed with antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory benefits that assist with everything from boosting immunity, protecting you from influenza and pneumonia, to relieving pain.
Not sure how to incorporate them into your diet? Start with drinking turmeric and ginger tea which can be purchased at almost any health food store.
2) Move your body, Every. Single. Day
We at Ace love being active so it’s no surprise that a daily dose of exercise makes our list. Just like a healthy diet, being active aids in good health and therefore contributes to a healthy immune system. So whether it’s meeting friends for a tennis match, taking the dog for a neighbourhood walk, or starting the day with yoga, incorporating movement into your every day can help maintain healthy body weight, improve cardiovascular health, and help the body protect against a variety of diseases.
3) Drink plenty of fluids
We’ve all heard the recommended 8 cups of water a day. But did you know that staying hydrated helps improve the overall immunity of your body?
That's right! Drinking plenty of water helps your body distribute oxygen and nutrients throughout your system while also helping to naturally eliminate the bacteria and toxins that can cause infection. So drink your fluids, especially water, and you’ll be giving your system that extra support to do what it does best.
Ace tip: We love mixing in some nutrient-rich lemons to our H2O! They are packed with fibre, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, B-complex vitamins, and vitamin C! Not bad.
4) Prioritize a Good Nights Sleep
Time and time again, research shows that restful sleep is directly connected to our physical and mental well-being. But it doesn’t stop there. Not getting enough sleep can make you more susceptible to getting sick after being exposed to a virus. The correlation is due to certain immune cells called T cells. According to a study conducted by a team from the University of Tübingen in Germany, when you are sleep deprived your natural immune cells, or T cells, go down, and inflammatory cytokines (inflammation cells) go up.
By prioritizing good sleeping habits, you ensure your T cells have the ability to destroy cells infected by viruses and other pathogens.
5) Take the steps to proactively manage stress
Your state of mind can affect the state of your health. According to a report by the American Psychological Association, long-term stress weakens the responses of your immune system. This stress creates a hormone in your body called cortisol. Cortisol can suppress your immune system’s effectiveness in fighting off invaders because it lowers the number of lymphocytes, the white blood cells that help fight off infection.
Many of our tips, like getting enough sleep, exercising, and eating a balanced diet can help keep your stress hormones balanced. However, incorporating mindfulness practices that focus on awareness of breath, mind, and body sensations is also a great way to manage stress levels. Studies have confirmed that practices such as meditation and yoga reduce cortisol and manage stress so try incorporating these into your daily life. And as always, if you need additional support, seek guidance from a mental health professional.
6) Take steps to avoid infection
While incorporating the above lifestyle changes is a great start, they will fall short if you don’t also try an minimize the number of germs that might make it into your system. Make it a habit to wash your hands for 20 seconds before you eat, keep your hands away from your face and also wash your fruits and vegetables before you eat them.