Your immune system is your body’s defence against infection and disease. Stress, bad eating habits, a deficiency in vitamins and minerals and a poorly functioning nervous system are all areas that affect the immune system’s ability to counter infection. This post explains how the immune system works and defines five ways that you can boost your immune system, leading to a healthier happy life!
How Does the Immune System Work?
Our immune system is extremely clever as it is designed to fight viruses and bacteria before they reach our internal organs and manifest as infections. The skin acts as a barrier to things we touch like bacteria, our respiratory system prompts us to cough and expel irritants and the act of visiting the toilet is a way of removing waste from the body after we have absorbed all the good nutrients.
1) Eat Well
The most colourful foods are packed full of nutrition like tomatoes, carrots, bananas and strawberries. But what do all these foods have in common? They contain antioxidants which protect and repair cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals interfere with your immune system, so consuming antioxidants will keep your immune system tip-top.
Here’s a little guide to the foods that contain the core antioxidant vitamins:
- Beta-carotene and other carotenoids: Apricots, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, corn, green peppers, kale, mangoes, turnips, nectarines, peaches, pink grapefruit, pumpkin, squash, spinach, sweet potato, tangerines and tomatoes.
- Vitamin C: Berries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, grapefruit, kiwi, mangoes, nectarines, orange, papaya, red, green or yellow peppers, snow peas, sweet potato, strawberries, and tomatoes.
- Vitamin E: Broccoli, carrots, mangoes, nuts, papaya, pumpkin, red peppers, spinach and sunflower seeds.
When considering a healthier diet, opt for foods within each of the three food groups; proteins, fats and carbs. Stick with whole grains as much as possible and try to add antioxidants to your meals like berries or seeds with your cereal.
2) Limit the Stress and Sleep it off
Anxiety, tension and stress limit the body from breaking down foods as fuel. Without fuel (energy) we begin to fatigue. The effects of stress are evident from our physical appearance to digestion and ability to think.
If you know you suffer from stress and it’s work-related, then our post on ‘work-life balance’ is worth reading as it contains tips for stress reduction. If your stress is financial, then spend some time evaluating your finances and use the skills of a financial advisor.
Our body and brain requires sleep to repair. Eight hours of sleep is the recommended nightly amount, although we will find that each of us has a different level. Sleep allows our bodies to heal and repair themselves. Without sleep we just wouldn’t be able to function normally.
If you have trouble sleeping, then watch Dr Ben’s ‘Sleep Easy’ video.
Or read up on some of our client/fan questions on getting a good night’s sleep:
Yoga has been praised as one of best ways to aid digestion and keep the body supple. Boxing is helpful for agility and coordination, along with dance. Cycling, running and aerobic activities get the heart pumping and reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and – wait for it – viruses.
Exercise in general stimulates the body in every way and those who partake in regular exercise have higher degrees of energy, focus and stamina. Exercise can reduce stress levels and works as a social activity – running with a friend, playing squash in pairs or Salsa dancing at a local club.
The immune system is bolstered by exercise as exercise boosts the cells in your body that attack bacteria. Studies suggest that this is a short-term action, but regular exercise boosts your immune system each time and this leads to a long-term boost.
Our interview with Eoin Fehily of Fehily’s Fitness highlights the role of exercise and indeed diet:
It’s suggested that we drink 2 litres of water per day to maintain the balance of water in the body and replenish the water we expel. When exercising and sweating, we should double this amount. It’s ideal to drink natural water, although juices will work as well. Teas and coffees should be limited as these are diuretics and leach the body of hydration (green and herbal teas are ok).
Alcohol dehydrates the body and interferes with the brain cells, so when drinking alcohol, consume water in-between. This also works to keep you sober for longer!
Topping up on our water levels, balances the body and a balanced body is a healthy body.
5) Get Adjusted
Lastly, Chiropractic adjustments are a natural way of clearing interference in the body that leads to imbalances. By re-balancing the body, chiropractic adjustments promote good health.
Our post on How Chiropractic Care Boosts the Nervous System explains how Chiropractic adjustments increase the body’s healing mechanism:
A Word from Dr Ben
‘Our adjustments are perfect for re-balancing the body and giving the immune system a boost. Many patients have an almost instant feel-good feeling.’
Be sure to look after your bodies and boost your immune system with five features above. For Chiropractic adjustments, we’re always available on 021 487 8465.