Please note - This article aims to provide helpful tips for improving your immunity during the cold season, and is not intended to provide a cure or prevention for COVID-19. Please follow advice from the Victorian Department of Health & Human Services for up-to-date information around COVID-19.
This article will discuss and advise some simple yet effective ways and strategies to boost and enhance your body’s immune system.
The immune system is a complex network of cells and proteins that defends the body against infection. It is your body’s first line of defence against any illness or virus. The immune system has its own filing system, keeping a record of every germ (microbe) it has ever defeated. If a germ makes a reappearance, the body can recognise and quickly destroy the microbe.
As it is not singular in nature, there are many ways to boost your immune system which can be attained by taking a holistic approach with harmonious balance. If not adequately obtained naturally, this can be achieved by eating the right immunity boosting foods, getting adequate sleep, reducing stress, increasing exercise and supplementation. The exciting part is that these factors are all directly within your control.
Here are some proven ways to boost your immune system naturally and through supplementation.
Vitamin D is vital for optimum bodily function. It facilitates normal immune system function which results in improved resistance against viruses and illness. A study published in the Journal of Investigative Medicine found that vitamin D is actually an immunomodulator. It can modulate and control your innate and adaptive immune responses, helping your body recognize viruses and kill it off if it ever comes in contact with you again.
A deficiency in vitamin D can increase susceptibility to infection.
One of the best ways to increase your vitamin D is through sun exposure. All you need to do is simply go for a walk outside.
An alternative way to get vitamin D is through supplementation. Some doctors recommend taking 2500-5000 IU per day for maximum effect.
You will be familiar with the importance of Vitamin C for your everyday health. Here are the reasons why it is beneficial for your immune function.
Vitamin C helps to stimulate both the production and function of white blood cells, allowing your body to produce important antibodies. Vitamin C’s powerful antioxidant properties help to protect certain white blood cells from the toxic compounds they produce in their fight against pathogens. In other words, Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for healthy immune system response.
These common and easily accessible natural food sources are also known to have a positive effect on your body and especially immune system. Try to include them in your diet, now and long term for general well-being: Ginger, Garlic, Spinach, Turmeric, Lemon, Citrus Fruits, Blueberries, Oily Fish, Red bell peppers.
Regular exercise is one of the pillars of healthy living. It improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and protects against a variety of diseases.
A study conducted by Appalachian State University found that exercise causes short-term boosts in immune system parameters, most notably for neutrophils and natural killer cell blood counts. Remember to obtain these benefits, all you have to do is simply go for a walk.
Sleep is one of the most essential but also one of the most undervalued aspect of improving our immune system. For example, researchers at the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, affirmed that simply one night of sleep deprivation can derange the immune system and increase the likelihood of infection. Furthermore, the Mayo Clinic suggests that people who do not receive enough sleep are far more likely to fall sick after being exposed to a virus. Good sleep improves the production and activity of your immune fighting cells and antibodies, making it a far more superior protector against any virus than our immune system.