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Healthy Living Habits That Optimize The Immune System

Misbah has always wanted to pursue writing as a career. She loves to do poetry in her free time. She loves to write on different topics...


No wonder I’ve been bombarded with news in recent weeks on how to boost my immune system. In my Instagram account, I can’t help but notice how some of the influencers boast immune-boosting cocktails, or how the manufacturer of dietary supplements advertises its pills with elderberry or citrus fruit extracts.

However, it can be said that immunity is currently going through a public relations crisis. The very idea that immunity can be boosted in almost one night in some quick and miraculous way (and prevent colds, flu, or even Covid-19) is false and untrue.

Immunity should be thought of as follows: if you are a player in your life, then your immune system is like a line attacker whose main task is to protect you from all sides.

Just as strategic leadership can ensure team form, so can you train your system to fend off any opponent - microbes, viruses, or bacteria. But such workouts take time and willpower. So worrying about your immune system at the last minute is the complete opposite of how you should behave, said Nicole Avena, a visiting professor of health psychology at Princeton University.

Immunity is a marathon, not a sprint. It is for this reason that there are no quick and easy ways to boost immunity.

"If you want your immunity to be combat-ready, you need a comprehensive, holistic approach," Avena said.

Builds Immune System

To prepare your immunity for long and responsible competitions, you need to follow the classic healthy lifestyle habits you have heard many times - go to bed on time, reduce stress and maintain physical activity. It is very important to practice at least some of these things and not expect just one of them to do a miracle.

"You won't be able to boost your immunity in a week if someone gets sick nearby and you're pumping yourself with vitamins," said John Wherry, director of the Institute of Immunology at the University of Pennsylvania. "But you will definitely help your immunity if you make some lifestyle changes."


Sleep Well

Sleep - more specifically, at least 7 hours of sleep a night can be the most important thing. "The best data we have on strengthening immunity is about proper sleep duration," notes EJ Wherry.

People who sleep only six hours or less a week a night were four times more likely to get sick after exposure to the virus than those who slept more than seven hours, according to a study published in the journal Sleep. (The chance of getting the virus increased even more for those who sleep less than five hours a night.)

"Everything you do without sleep - eating, digesting, working, walking, exercising - encourages your body to secrete inflammatory cells," said Rita Kachru, head of the Department of Clinical Immunology and Allergies at David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. "Sleep gives the body a break from all this."

Take sunlight

“Every morning at the same time I go outside for half an hour. Morning light is most beneficial to avoid circadian rhythm disturbances. If I can't do it, or if the day is cloudy, I place four lamps around my favorite chair and sit in their light for about an hour, ”said Mariana Figueiro, director of the Center for Light Research and Professor of Architecture at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.


Eat foods that are rich in magnesium

“For dinner, I try to eat foods high in magnesium - spinach, beans or nuts. Magnesium helps the body and brain relax, as well as improves sleep quality, ”said Mikka Knapp, a registered dietitian, and nutritionist.

Control stress

It has long been known that stress stimulates the release of cortisol, a "fight or run" hormone that helps save your life. When cortisol levels are high, the activity of the immune system is suppressed because the body concentrates all its resources on the most important danger that it thinks can kill you, and pays less attention to things like immune protection, says Daniel M. Davis, professor of immunology at the University of Manchester in England.

You’re probably thinking: I’ll stop right away. Try to stay calm and try this: instead of trying to eliminate negativity, change the way you respond to stress - this will help you better manage your bad mood and alleviate the cortisol-induced response, notes DM Davis.

Try to do this if you want relief from stress

“Reveal all the secrets, if you have them! I know this sounds silly, but research has shown that keeping secrets forces the body to secrete more of the stress hormone cortisol, which weakens the immune system. Call your best friend or therapist and take the burden of secrecy off your shoulders, ”said Patricia Celan, a psychiatric resident at Dalhousie University in Canada.


Exercise regularly

Exercise causes inflammation in the body, but it is beneficial, says EJ Wherry. "It's a little contrary to intuition because sport actually disrupts the body's homeostasis," he says. However, when you end your sweating session, your body returns to its status quo - and thus builds your immune system on its feet.

This is confirmed by research: people who exercise regularly produce more T lymphocytes (pathogen-destroying white blood cells, or leukocytes) than people who practice a sedentary lifestyle. Sports also help modulate the stress hormone cortisol, which in elevated amounts causes inflammation.

True, some experts agree that overexertion during exercise (when you overdo it and start to feel it) can damage your immunity. So if you exercise every day, moderate but steady exercise should become your goal.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Misbah Sheikh (author) from The World of Poets on January 30, 2021:

thank you so much, Pamela, you really honored me

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on January 30, 2021:

Your article has some great suggests to boost immunity, Misbah. I try to follow those guidelines most of the time, and I think your article may help as well.

manatita44 from london on January 30, 2021:

Well done. Excellent article. I have been a vegetarian for 38 years and it so happens that I was already taking D, Zinc, magnesium, C, essential fatty acids and a few more. Include spirulina, a good B complex and that's about me. I see a Kinesiologist once every six weeks and have various products tested on my body.

Here's a story. End of Feb/Beginnning of March '19, I felt unwell. It was night time and I was coughing a lot! Very unusual for me. I got out of bed, went to the kitchen and dosed up on tumeric capsules, D, Zinc, selenium and magnesium plus.

Next morning, Saturday, I was fine. I was even better Sunday and Monday but it returned on Monday night. I dosed up again and was well on Tuesday. Nothing since, almost a year ago, but I still don't know what I had.

I had two Covid-19 test. One in April and one this Jan, both negative.

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