Over the past few years, many people have found a renewed focus on the health of their immune system. There are simple steps we can take to maintain a healthy immune system, however, it is not as simple as just taking a pill (although that helps). There is no magic bullet for a strong immune system. Instead, we should consider a holistic approach to improving immune health. This article reviews 9 pro tips that can strengthen and improve your immune system.
Here are the tips at a glance:
- Get quality sleep
- Improve your diet
- Support your gut
- Exercise moderately
- Reduce stress
- Improve hydration
- Eliminate smoking and drinking
- Avoid contagions
- Take an Immune system supplement
Get Quality Sleep
It is important to get enough sleep, but it's more important that your sleep is high quality. When you don't sleep well, your body's natural defenses are compromised, which can lead to an increased risk for illness. It is actually more important that you get quality sleep over quantity (how many hours of sleep you get). Creating a sleep routine can help you feel more refreshed and improve quality of sleep. Consider a consistent, regulated sleep routine to create better habits with regards to restful sleep. It's also important to turn off electronics one full hour before you go to bed, including your cell phone, TV, tablet and computer. If you have difficulty sleeping, check out a natural sleep aid, like REM Sleep by Healthycell.
You can also read our article: How to Sleep Better: 12 Pro Tips for Better Sleep Tonight.
Improve Your Diet
It is important that you have a balanced diet, full of fruits, vegetables, and immunity-boosting foods. As a general rule, you want to focus on a diet that contains whole plant foods, healthy fats, and limit your sugar intake. Your body needs foods that are nutrient-dense, rich in antioxidants, and full of anthocyanins . Studies have proven that anthocyanins help your body fight viral infections. You can give your body the nutrients it needs to produce immune proteins, enzymes and cells by consuming these types of foods. Adding food with anti-inflammatory properties, like garlic, ginger, onion, turmeric, and oregano to your diet can also help to boost your immune system.
Gut health refers to the balance of microorganisms that live in your digestive tract and is an important component to overall well-being. Microorganisms in your gut include several types of bacteria that can affect the way you feel on a daily basis, from improved immunity and physical fitness, to mental clarity and mood swings. The best way to improve the good bacteria in your gut is to eat fermented foods and take prebiotics and probiotics.
Fermented foods are a great source of natural probiotics. Eating these foods can prevent inflammation in your gut and help you avoid intestinal problems. Try eating fermented vegetables, kimchi, kombucha, and sauerkraut, just to name a few. Many insoluble fibers naturally act as prebiotics, which are non-digestible carbohydrates that feed your good probiotic bacteria. Prebiotics help probiotics be more tolerant to certain conditions like temperature and pH changes. Some of the foods that are rich in prebiotics include bananas, chicory, garlic, onions, and asparagus.
One of the most important things you can do to stay healthy and fight off any illness is exercise for approximately 150 minutes per week . Moderate exercise at the proper intensity level will help maximize blood flow and cellular health to help your body remain strong. In addition to strengthening your immune system, moderate exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight.
Examples of moderate exercise include a brisk walk, mowing the lawn, riding a bike, jumping rope and swimming. When you engage in moderate intensity, you feel your breath quicken, but you are not completely out of breath. You may start to sweat lightly after about 10 minutes. Choose an exercise regime that fits your lifestyle and contributes to your overall wellness.
If you are wondering how to make your immune system stronger, you can attempt to reduce the amount of stress in your life. Stress can cause major problems with your immune system and weaken it as well. Short periods of stress disturb the microorganisms in your gut and can reduce the lymphocyte (immune cell) counts in your body. Lymphocytes are used by the body as natural virus fighters . Stress also causes your body to have an inflammatory response. That response can help fight germs in the short term, but when it becomes persistent, can cause chronic disease.
There are many techniques you can use to help reduce the stress in your life.
- Unplug electronics - constantly being connected to our electronics is stressful. It makes us feel like we must respond immediately. It can also make us feel badly about ourselves when we see other people's lives on social media and compare them to our own.
- Stretching and breathing exercises - stretching and breathing can help redirect your focus as well as promote blood circulation, increase oxygen levels and release built-up tension in your muscles.
- Declutter - when we see clutter around us, it can bring on stress. Throwing away items and decluttering can help keep you busy and clear your mind.
- Find a hobby - finding something which you have an interest or passion in that allows you to focus on something you enjoy helps reduce stress. Hobbies can include crafting, gardening, hiking, reading or painting.
- Meditation - the physical and mental stress-reduction benefits of meditation are well documented. According to this 8-week study, mindful meditation was proven to reduce the release of cytokines, an inflammatory chemical in the body that is linked to stress .
Water is essential for living a healthy lifestyle. It flushes toxins from your body and prevents illnesses by carrying oxygenated blood cells throughout the system to protect cellular health. You can actually find water in four forms: liquid, vapor, ice, and gel . If you have eaten chia pudding, you have seen water in gel form. When chia seeds mix with liquid, a gel forms around the seed. This is gel water and you can find it in many other foods. While gel water is only 10 percent more viscous than liquid water, it has major benefits to the body like increased hydration and conducting electricity more effectively. When we are more hydrated, our body is better able to protect against disease. When electricity is facilitated more efficiently, it helps our brain send signals to the rest of the body to function and think more clearly.
Eliminate Smoking and Reduce Drinking
One of the best ways to improve your immune system is to completely stop smoking. The dangers of smoking are well known, including cancer, damage to the lungs and heart. Smoking also is harmful to the gut, as it may increase your risk of intestinal conditions. T lymphocytes (T cells) are a group of immune cells that help adaptive immunity. Native T cells activate when they recognize something harmful in the body and create a response to help protect the body. Studies have shown that smoking greatly impacts T cells and their ability to release pro-inflammatory mediators , which depresses the immune system.
Drinking alcohol on a regular basis can also weaken your immune system. Mroszczyk-McDonald states that research has shown high amounts of alcohol have proven to suppress the immune system . When we abuse alcohol, it can increase our risk of infectious disease. The research states that high amounts of alcohol are 14 drinks a week or more.
One of the best ways to keep your immune system strong is to limit your contact with viruses and germs. You already know some steps to take to protect yourself from germs, like washing your hands often, not touching your face, avoiding large crowds, and staying away from those you know are sick.
There are some other risk factors that you may not be as keenly aware of.
- Public door handles
- Credit card pin pads and screens
- Wearing your shoes in your house
If you wash your hands often, especially after touching these surfaces, you can better protect yourself. You may want to consider leaving your shoes at the door and not wearing them in your house.
Immune System Supplement
This is a substantial amount of evidence that supplements can help support a healthy immune system. If you are not certain you are getting the nutrition you need from food (nutrition gaps), supplements are a great way to fill in those deficiencies. They can help keep micronutrients at optimal levels and cells healthy, which helps us fight infections.
Some vitamins and minerals to consider:
- Vitamin C - largest immune system booster as high doses of it help fight viral infections. If you are lacking Vitamin C, you are likely to get sick.
- Vitamin B6 - supports biochemical reactions in your immune system.
- Vitamin E - powerful antioxidant that helps the body fight infection.
- Zinc - a strong mineral that prevents viruses from replicating.
- Immune Boosting Supplement - an all-in-one multi-ingredient supplement to strengthen your immune system.
Improve Cellular Health for Improved Immune Strength
Our cells and their internal DNA are constantly under attack by internal and external sources. [8,9] The body can only repair DNA damage so fast. Eventually, when cellular DNA damage outpaces the body's ability to repair it, it can lead to poor immune health.
Fortunately, there's a supplement that we can take to help protect our DNA from the onslaught of damage that happens around-the-clock.
It's a rare extract called AC-11® from the Peruvian and Brazilian Amazon rainforest with nearly two decades of research and dozens of peer-reviewed, scientific studies.
AC-11 is one of few documented plant phytochemicals proven to support DNA repair  while supporting our immune system's response to inflammation. AC-11 increases the efficacy and life span of lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell important for fighting bacteria and viruses. Healthy lymphocytes are also necessary for enhancing our immune system and preventing inflammatory disorders from causing age-related health issues. [11-18]
AC-11 is sustainably harvested, safe, natural, and has no side effects or drug interactions.
Age and the Immune System
As we age, our immune response is reduced, which contributes to higher risk and frequency of infections and disease. The reduction in the immune response is believed to be, in part, a result of cellular aging. This is where cells become less efficient in repairing themselves and at releasing stem cells that give rise to the cells of the immune system.
As mentioned above, there's a strong connection between cell health, nutrition, and immunity. According to Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Berkeley, Dr. Bruce Ames, "micronutrient deficiency can mimic radiation (or chemicals) in damaging DNA by causing single- and double-strand breaks, oxidative lesions, or both," which in turn are the root causes of many diseases, and accelerated aging. This makes the case for eating healthy and using dietary supplements to support cell health and fill critical micronutrient gaps even greater as we get older.
Inflammation and the Immune System
As we age we produce more inflammatory substances due to changes in gene activity, weakening our immune system. Anti-inflammatory foods like salmon and cold-water fish are excellent sources of key anti-inflammatory fatty acids. Vegan omega-3 and fatty-acid sources include nuts, chia and flax seeds, extra virgin olive oil, Ahiflower oil, algae, and phytoplankton. Vegetables like beets, cauliflower, carrots, kale, and spinach are also packed with anti-inflammatory properties.
In addition, specific immune-focused supplements like Immune Super Boost can help to reduce inflammation and boost immunity. Cellular health supplements like AC-11 and Healthycell Pro (containing AC-11) have been shown in published studies to reduce inflammatory biomarkers in human subjects. Healthycell Pro also supplies key antioxidants as well as probiotics and prebiotics.
By incorporating these immune-boosting tips into our lifestyle, and sharing them with our loved ones, we can help prevent illness and thrive.
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- Mathers JC, Coxhead JM, Tyson J. Nutrition, and DNA repair--potential molecular mechanisms of action. Curr Cancer Drug Targets. Aug 2007;7(5):425-31.
- Tyson J, Mathers JC. Dietary and genetic modulation of DNA repair in healthy human adults. Proc Nutr Soc. Feb 2007; 66(1):42-51.
- Bohr VA: Repair of oxidative DNA damage in nuclear and mitochondrial DNA, and some changes with aging in mammalian cells. Free Radical Biology and Medicine 2 0 0 2; 3 2 :B 04 - B L 2.
- Åkesson, C, Pero, RW, Ivars, F. 2003A. C-Med-100®, A hot water extract of Uncaria tomentosa, prolongs lymphocyte survival in vivo. Phytomedicine 10: 25-33, 2003A.
- Åkesson, C, Lindgren, H, Pero, RW, Leanderson, T, Ivars, F. 2003B. An extract of Uncaria tomentosa inhibits cell division and NF-kB activity without inducing cell death. International Immunopharmacology 3: 1889-1900.
- Confidential report # 1. 2009. ORAC peroxyl radical scavenger study. Request from Optigenex https://www.optigenex.com/topical-studies
- Lamm, S., Sheng, Y., Pero, R.W. 2001. Persistent response to pneumococcal vaccine in individuals supplemented with a novel water soluble extract of Uncaria tomentosa, C-Med-100®. Phytomedicine 8(4): 267-274.
- Sheng, Y., Bryngelsson, C., Pero, RW. 2000A. Enhanced DNA repair, immune function and reduced toxicity of C-Med-100TM, a novel aqueous extract from Uncaria tomentosa. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 69: 115-126.
- Sheng, Y., Pero R.W., Wagner H. 2000B. Treatment of chemotherapy-induced leukopenia in the rat model with aqueous extract from Uncaria Tomentosa. Phytomedicine 7(2): 137-143.
- Sheng, Y., Li, L., Holmgren, K., Pero, R.W. 2001. DNA repair enhancement of aqueous extracts of Uncaria Tomentosa in a human volunteer study. Phytomedicine 8(4): 275-282.
- Sheng, Y., Åkesson, C., Holmgren, K., Bryngelsson, C., Giampapa, V., and Pero, R.W. 2005. An active ingredient of Cats Claw water extracts. Identification and efficacy of quinic acid. J Ethnopharmacology 96(3): 577-584.