Lesser Known Boosters of the Immune System
While there are many articles out there that detail how to boost your immune system, most of them are too similar. Here are some lesser known (but no-less valuable) tips on how you can dramatically increase your immune system’s overall strength.
Eat Whole Plant Foods & Fruits
Whole plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds, are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that may give you an upper hand against harmful pathogens.
The antioxidants present in these foods help to decrease bodily inflammation by combating unstable compounds called free radicals. Free radicals can cause inflammation when they build up within your body to high levels.
Chronic inflammation is linked to numerous health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, and various forms of cancer.
The fiber within plant foods feeds your gut microbiome, or the healthy bacteria present in your gut. A robust gut microbiome can improve your immune system and help to keep harmful pathogens from entering your body via your digestive tract.
Furthermore, fruits and veggies are rich in nutrients like vitamin C, which may reduce the duration of the common cold.
Eat Healthy Fats
Healthy fats, such as those found in olive oil and fatty fish, may boost your body’s immune response to pathogens by decreasing inflammation.
Although low-level inflammation is a normal bodily response to stress or injury, chronic inflammation can suppress your immune system.
Olive oil, which is highly anti-inflammatory, has been linked to a decreased risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Plus, its anti-inflammatory properties may help your body fight off harmful disease-causing bacteria and harmful viruses.
Omega-3 fatty acids, such as those in fatty fish and chia seeds, fight inflammation as well.
Since chronic inflammation can suppress your immune system, these fats may be an all-natural way to combat illnesses.
Eat Fermented Foods & Probiotics
Fermented foods are a potent source of beneficial bacteria called probiotics, which populate your digestive tract.
These foods include sauerkraut, yogurt, kimchi, and kefir.
A flourishing network of gut bacteria can help your immune cells differentiate between normal, healthy cells, and harmful invader organisms.
If you don’t regularly include fermented foods in your diet, probiotic supplements are another option.
Your body’s gut health and immunity are deeply interconnected. Fermented foods and probiotics may bolster your immune system by helping it identify and destroy harmful pathogens.
Manage Your Stress Levels
Relieving stress and anxiety is paramount to your immune health.
Long-term stress promotes inflammation, as well as imbalances in immune cell function and potency.
Activities that may help you manage your stress include praying/meditation, exercise, painting/drawing, puzzles, board games, journaling, yoga, and other mindfulness practices. You may also benefit from seeing a licensed counselor or therapist, whether virtually or in person.
In the end, lowering your stress levels through the above practices can help keep your immune system functioning properly.
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