Wouldn’t it be nice to never get sick again? Your immune system regulates your response to harmful invaders, like bacteria and viruses. When it’s functioning optimally, it can combat illnesses before they produce symptoms that bring you down. Below are five health tips to boost immunity.
1. Boost Immunity with Better Sleep
Getting adequate sleep doesn’t mean that you’ll never get sick again. However, your body repairs itself while you sleep. If you don’t get sufficient rest, you could end up reducing your body’s ability to heal.
Sleep quality is important. Without enough high-quality sleep, you produce fewer cytokines, a protein that combats inflammation and infection. If you’re chronically exhausted, your body can’t respond to germs effectively.
Do you have trouble getting enough sleep at night? Try taking two 20 or 30-minute naps a day. Studies show that doing so can help offset the harmful effects that sleep deprivation has on your immunity.
2. Try Mindfulness Meditation
Today’s culture prizes constant movement and productivity. If you’re not producing, you might not feel worthy of taking a break. This mentality leads to high levels of chronic stress, which can impact your body’s ability to fight disease.
Mindfulness meditation may boost immune system health. A 2016 review of 20 randomized control trials found that mindfulness meditation correlated with:
- Reduced inflammation markers;
- Increased numbers of signaling cells that tell the immune system to fight infections; and
- Increased telomerase activity, which encourages the stability of chromosomes
3. Do You Need a Change in Diet?
The exact mechanisms for how mindfulness meditation improves your immune response aren’t clear. However, this practice reduces stress, improves immune system communication and shifts the microbiome in the gut toward a healthier balance.
You can also improve your gut health—and therefore your immunity—with a change in your diet. Eating more fresh foods and fewer processed items that contain unnatural chemicals can help. Making sure that you consume foods with a wide variety of colors will ensure that you’re getting a comprehensive dose of nutrients.
4. Move Your Body to Boost Immunity
You can boost immune system strength with adequate exercise. Working out regularly can improve your mood, decrease stress and enhance your overall wellness. Physical activity can flush germs out of your airways, potentially keeping viruses or other illnesses at bay. A rise in body temperature might inhibit the growth of bacteria.
Just don’t overdo it. Pushing your body to extremes can increase your chances of getting sick.
5. Keep a Healthy Social Circle
People who have more social connections and positive relationships get fewer colds. Because your body has a memory of every germ it comes in contact with, it’s more likely to become immune to those that it encounters often. That’s one reason that teachers and health care workers seem to have impenetrable immune systems.
Strong relationships can also boost immune system health. When you have friends that you want to see, you might leave the house and exercise more than someone who feels isolated. Perpetual loneliness increases your risk of inflammation, obesity and high blood pressure.
If you follow all of these health tips, will you never get sick again? You could come down with illnesses—your response to pathogens depends on your exposure and other factors.