6 healthy lifestyle choices to boost your immune system

A strong immune system is the first line of defence against any disease

By Alisha Moopen

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Published: Fri 31 Mar 2023, 2:40 PM

Our immune system plays a vital role in protecting us from harmful viruses and bacteria. A strong immune system is the first line of defence against any disease. But to function well, the immune system requires balance and harmony.

While there is no magic pill to instantly boost your immune system, there are a variety of lifestyle choices and habits that can help enhance your body’s natural defences. Interestingly, your personality, or more accurately, how you process the emotional moments of your life, is related to how your immune system protects your body from disease. Some of us are fighters while some of us are sensitive souls, but our choices are what make us what we are.

Here are six ways to boost your immune system and stay healthy.

1. Get enough sleep: Sleep is critical for our immune system’s health, as it helps regulate our body’s inflammatory response. Lack of sleep can lead to chronic inflammation, which can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of illness. Besides, it also causes anxiety and a lack of focus. Though one size doesn’t fit all, aim for seven to eight hours of sleep each night to help keep your immune system functioning at its best.

2. Eat a healthy diet: While exercise and sleep are both essential to improve overall well-being, food plays a powerful role in one’s journey to becoming holistically healthier. To build a strong immune system, a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals is essential. Foods high in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits and leafy greens, are known to support the immune system. Zinc, found in foods like nuts, seeds and legumes, also plays a role in immune function. If you are consuming excessive amounts of sugars and carbs, they may contribute to inflammation and weaken the immune system. People say you are what you eat, and remember, it’s not just what you eat but what you absorb.

3. Exercise regularly: Physical activity can help boost the immune system by reducing inflammation and increasing the production of immune cells. Moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, can be a great way to support your immune system. Yoga is a great way to work out too since it helps you relax and recharge. Yoga is not only hugely beneficial to overall fitness, it also has benefits that extend beyond the mat.

4. Manage stress: Stress occurs when we feel worried or anxious, but stress can be managed or prevented. Chronic stress can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of illness. Finding healthy ways to manage stress, such as yoga, meditation or deep breathing, can help reduce inflammation and promote immune function. By taking time out to relax and be kind to yourself, you can reduce how stressed you are. Try these techniques to calm yourself: deep breaths, get plenty of sleep, surround yourself with positivity, and listen to your favourite music.

5. Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water is essential for a healthy immune system, as it helps flush out toxins and keeps our body functioning optimally. Aim for at least eight glasses of water per day and avoid sugary or caffeinated beverages to give a boost to your immune system.

6. Community, relationships and purpose: Studies have shown that people driven by purpose, whether for personal relationships, community development or organisational goals, feel a sense of validity and social connection, which also strengthens immunity and longevity. The desire to contribute actively and be valued plays an interesting role in our immune system.



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