As we enter the colder months when it seems everyone falls ill, few health issues are as important as keeping your immune system strong. Your immune system plays a crucial role in keeping you both healthy and functioning, and it is often underemphasized these days.
Yet most people think that the immune system is a completely independent, almost ethereal entity. In reality, what you do, eat, and think on a daily basis all have direct effects on how it functions. By taking a number of simple steps, you can ensure that your immune system operates efficiently and does its absolute best to keep you healthy day in and day out.
Your Immune System and Why It’s Important
Believe it or not, every day there are millions of microbes and harmful agents such as bacteria and viruses that attempt to get into your body and harm you. Luckily, you have a spectacular network of defenses known as your immune system that operates twenty four hours a day to keep them out.
As if this isn’t difficult enough, it also has to actively screen and differentiate between the good microbial agents and the bad ones, making sure to leave the rest of your body alone while only targeting the harmful substances. Needless to say, keeping it functioning properly is absolutely integral to staying healthy and feeling well overall.
How to Strengthen Your Immune System
A number of things can weaken your immune system, and the first step to keeping it strong is to avoid these things. Sleep deprivation, drug use, and nutritional deficiencies will all drag it down and prevent it from working properly.
The first thing you should be doing is sleeping properly. Get around eight hours of quality rest a night; no tossing, no turning, and no waking up every hour. REM sleep is absolutely crucial to feeling properly rested, and it can only be achieved through truly deep sleep.
Eat a healthy diet. What you put into your body has a very strong effect on how it functions. Eat a good balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat and be sure to get your vitamins and nutrients.
If you don’t think you are reaching your recommended daily allowance of some, invest in a quality multivitamin. Vitamin C plays a crucial role in immune system function, but chances are if you’re in a developed country you’re getting plenty of it. If not, do so immediately. Drink water and stay hydrated; both are crucial to properly flush out toxins from your body.
Exercise plenty. Not only will it strengthen your immune system, it will also keep you healthy and fit and consequentially more adept at dealing with illnesses and setbacks.
Avoid stress. Not only does stress actually harm your health, it also interferes with sleep. It is no coincidence that some individuals fall into a cycle of sleep deprivation, stress, and illness that is difficult to break.
Finally, avoid situations where you may get sick and your immune system compromised. If a relative has the flu, speak to them over the phone rather than in person. If you are in a hospital, use antibacterial soap. These steps will ultimately pay you back in spades.