What is the immune system?
The immune system is a complex network of different cells, tissues and organs that help the body protect itself against infections. When it is working properly, it can recognise and remove or destroy foreign substances that have entered the body or cells that are not functioning properly (e.g. cancer cells). The most common problems are caused by viruses, bacteria and fungi, but there are also complex parasites (e.g. mites, and worms).
Since the human body is exposed to infections every day, it is worth doing everything we can to boost our immune system so that we can live healthy, long lives.
Here are 13+1 tips to boost your immune system:
Get regular physical activity
Many studies have shown that regular exercise has a positive effect on the immune system. Plus, you don’t have to over-exert yourself.
Walking for 40 minutes 4-5 times a week has been shown to boost the immune system.
Exercise boosts the production of immune cells in the body, and because the blood circulates faster through the veins when you exercise, these cells get to the right places in the body faster, so they can fight pathogens more effectively.
However, you should not overdo it here either. Intense sport lasting longer than one and a half hours already weakens the immune system. So avoid marathons if you want to boost your immune system.
A healthy diet is a foundation for boosting the immune system.
Studies show that people who eat a diet high in fibre and low in processed foods have a stronger immune system.
Let’s look at what foods and nutrients can help boost your immune system.
Fruits and vegetables
Vegetables and fruits play an important role in the diet as they are high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that boost the immune system and help keep the body healthy.
Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C. Just one medium-sized orange or grapefruit contains 100 % of the recommended daily requirement of vitamin C. They are also low in calories and delicious. Bell peppers, broccoli, spinach, strawberries and melon are also excellent sources of vitamin C.
Beetroot owes its beautiful reddish colour to pigments called betalains. These compounds have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help the immune system fight infections.
Apples not only contain a lot of vitamin C, but also flavonoids, which have strong antioxidant properties, so it is worth eating them regularly.
Vitamins boost the immune system
Three vitamins are particularly important for boosting the immune system: vitamins C, E and D.
Vitamins C and E are powerful antioxidants that bind free radicals, support the body’s immune system and reduce the risk of cancer. Peppers, broccoli, spinach, strawberries, melon and the citrus fruits mentioned above are all excellent sources of vitamin C. Vitamin E is also found in larger amounts in various seeds and nuts, as well as in spinach and broccoli.
Scientists believe that vitamin D may help prevent viral infections, including respiratory diseases, by reducing the production of inflammatory substances in the body. Vitamin D is mainly made in the skin by sunlight, but you can also get the amount you need from food. Foods rich in vitamin D include vitamin-enriched cereals, plant-based milks and a range of supplements.
Fulvicherb – Synergy
Fulvicherb – Synergy is a special food supplement based on fulvic acids. Fulvic acids are compounds that are formed when microorganisms in the soil break down organic material. Fulvic acids have strong antioxidant properties and anti-inflammatory effects.
In addition to fulvic acid, fulvicherb also contains a number of other beneficial compounds that together help to strengthen the immune system more effectively. Rosehip is a natural source of vitamin C, and the extract from blueberry leaves improves blood circulation and contributes to optimal immune function.
Trace elements boost the immune system
Trace elements play an extremely important role in the functioning of our body. They are involved in a number of functions, including building hair, skin and nails, and are particularly important for maintaining normal immune function.
Since zinc and selenium are trace minerals that play a key role in boosting the immune system, it is important to make sure we get enough of these minerals.
Oysters, seafood, cheese and legumes are all excellent sources of zinc.
Selenium is found mainly in plants that grow in soil with high selenium content. For this reason, it is worth replenishing with food if you have a selenium deficiency.
Spices boost the immune system
In general, spices can help boost the immune system because they have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Prolonged stress from major life events and relationship difficulties can damage the immune system, which can affect the body. Anti-inflammatory spices can help protect against this type of inflammation.
The top three immune-boosting spices are cinnamon, ginger and turmeric. Both have so many beneficial properties that they are often used as ingredients in dietary supplements.
Our body systems – especially our immune system – are highly dependent on the nutrients that flow through us. When we are not adequately hydrated, our blood cannot transport nutrients properly and waste products are eliminated from the body more slowly.
Dehydration can also lead to muscle tension, headaches, malaise and digestive problems, among other things. That is why it is especially important to drink plenty of fluids, even if you are not thirsty.
Get enough sleep
It is a fact that lack of sleep affects the immune system. Insufficient sleep can slow recovery when sick or increase susceptibility to illness after coming into contact with a virus.
Lack of sleep can affect immunity in several ways. Cytokines, signalling molecules that promote immune responses, are released during sleep. At times when you don’t get enough sleep, the amount of these defence molecules decreases, weakening your body’s defences against infections.
In addition, the amount of infection-fighting antibodies and cells is also reduced when you are sleep-deprived. Long-term sleep deprivation also increases the risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Avoiding smoking boosts the immune system
Smoking has been shown to lead to a number of deadly health problems and poorer health for those around you – family and friends.
About 70% of lung cancer cases are caused by smoking. If that’s not enough, smoking can also cause cancer of the mouth, throat, larynx, oesophagus, bowel, bladder, uterus, cervix, kidneys, liver, stomach and other organs.
Smoking also dramatically increases the risk of numerous cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks, strokes and impotence in men. Inhaling smoke can also damage the lungs and lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pneumonia. Smoking can also worsen existing respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis and colds.
In addition, nicotine has an immunosuppressive effect, which means it weakens the immune system.
So if you want to boost your immune system, you should stop smoking.Abstaining from alcohol
Drinking alcohol can cause bacteria to multiply in the intestines, which can later invade the liver and cause liver damage. Drinking alcohol can also damage the immune system and increase the risk of getting sick. If you drink alcohol regularly, you are more likely to get diseases such as colds and flu, because your immune system is constantly weakened by alcohol. For this reason, you should avoid excessive and regular alcohol consumption for a strong and healthy immune system.
Sauna boosts the immune system
Most people spend five to twenty minutes in the sauna, but some stay longer. Sweating in the sauna increases the heart rate to about 120-150 beats per minute, but unlike exercise, muscles are not involved in this process.
Sauna research is usually conducted in Finland, where saunas are an integral part of daily life. In general, it has been found that the more people sauna, the healthier they are.
People who sauna more often have a 60% lower risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and can also avoid lung disease, certain mental illnesses (such as depression), headaches and various painful, inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.
Vitamin D is vital for bone health, immune function and blood cell production, as well as for the absorption and utilisation of certain minerals, including calcium and phosphorus.
Vitamin D is produced by the body in response to UV rays from sunlight, so extensive sunbathing also helps to boost the immune system.
+1 Regular, thorough hand washing
It is occasionally claimed that excessive cleanliness, including regular, overly thorough hand washing, can weaken the immune system. Currently, there is no scientific evidence that hand washing is bad for the immune system. However, regular hand washing reduces the risk of infection and thus the risk of getting sick if you follow basic hygiene rules.
Read the article in German: Immunsystem stärken – 13+1 bewährte Methoden zur Stärkung des Immunsystems
Read the article in Polish: 13+1 sprawdzonych metod, aby zwiększyć swój system odpornościowy