With the COVID-19 pandemic spreading across the globe and throughout America, many people are wondering how they can boost their immune system. While we want to be sure to follow all the instructions the CDC is providing us on how to prevent the spread of this coronavirus, we also want to protect ourselves from future pandemics. This article will discuss eight ways to boost your immune system naturally, as commented on by Harvard Health. We will conclude with one natural immunity booster that they left out and provide some research regarding this specific way to improve immune system function.
#1 Quit Smoking
It is no secret that smoking has adverse effects on the cardiovascular system, even if you are just an occasional smoker. Reduced circulatory function leads to a decreased immune response. Healing slows down. Immune cells can’t get where they need to be as fast as they should get there. It results in increased respiratory tract infections (something people should be very concerned about with COVID-19 spreading rapidly) as well as cardiovascular disease and a general decrease in quality of life as far as health is concerned.
#2 Eat More Fresh Vegetables and Fruits
If you want to have a robust immune system, proper nutrition is one of the places to start. While there are many supplements available, there is no substitute for getting the nutrients you need from your daily diet. Fresh vegetables and fruits are the primary way to get these vital minerals and vitamins. Some of the essential nutrients include Vitamins A, C, and E, protein, and zinc.
#3 Get Daily Exercise
While researchers are not 100% certain of how increased physical activity boosts immune system function, there are several theories:
- Exercise combats stress hormones. Stress overload can reduce immunity.
- Exercise causes body temperature to increase slightly. This may, in turn, help the body fight off invaders.
- Exercise affects white blood cells, causing them to circulate through the body faster. It may allow the immune system to identify and isolate invaders more quickly.
- Physical activity causes you to breathe harder. It may help the body to force out bacteria from your airways. If this is true, exercise may be particularly important in light of the current pandemic that involves primarily respiratory symptoms.
Also, exercise is excellent for your circulatory system. As we discussed previously, things that are bad for circulation hurt the immune system. Conversely, things that help blood flow benefit the immune system.
#4 Regulate Body Weight
Researchers have found that being obese affects a person’s immune cells. However, other research reveals that losing the excess weight reverses the damage for many people. Just be careful not to go in the other extreme either. If you are malnourished and not taking in the proper nutrients, this will also hinder the immune system. It requires balance to maintain a healthy body weight, and that means an appropriate diet and exercise.
#5 Drink in Moderation
You don’t have to cut all alcohol out of your diet. In fact, a glass of red wine here and there may even be good for your overall health. However, too much alcohol can have a negative effect on the immune system. While experts are not 100% sure why alcohol has this effect on the body, research demonstrates this in a number of studies.
In practice, a person who drinks alcoholic beverages excessively is at higher risk for respiratory problems. Once again, this provides a good case for limiting alcohol intake while a respiratory pandemic is spreading across the nation. However, drinking in moderation is always the best way to go, even if there isn’t a cold, flu, or COVID-19 going around. Less alcohol will also help you to heal faster and recover from trauma or infection.
#6 Get Enough Sleep
If you want your immune system to function optimally, you need to sleep 7 to 8 hours per night. The body’s internal clock has a significant effect on the immune system. Sleep plays a major role in the central nervous system, and good communication between the CNS and the immune system is a must for fighting disease.
#7 Frequent Hand Washing
Okay, this one doesn’t actually boost your immune system. It just helps your immune system to do its job by killing bacteria while it is still outside of your body. Also, try to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth so you don’t transfer surviving bacteria.
#8 Manage Stress
We’ve already addressed the link between stress and immune function. In fact, many of the other factors noted above relate to stress in one way or another. For example, smoking and drinking are negative responses to stress, whereas sleep and exercise counteract it.
#9 Chiropractic and Immunity
There is also research linking chiropractic to the immune system. This makes sense because we have already established the connection between the nervous system and immune system function. Proper alignment of the neck is vital for optimal CNS function. For example, misalignments in the upper cervical spine can affect blood flow to the head, brainstem function, and even lead to increased intracranial pressure.
Therefore, keeping your neck in proper alignment is crucial for having a healthy immune system. Now, perhaps more than ever before, it is essential to put this knowledge to use. You can use this site to find an upper cervical chiropractor in your area.