Your health is your #1 priority, right? But more importantly, let’s discuss your immune system health. Obviously, we all have an immune system; however, not all immune systems are created equal – they do not all work or respond exactly the same to given stimuli.
Believe it or not, your immune system is actually the lifeline that helps to promote, sustain and keep your overall health headed in the right direction. Without your immune system and its responses, your body would be in a constant state of flux and illness.
So, let’s take a deeper dive into what our immune systems entail, the possible signs of weakened immune systems and how to give your immune system an added boost!
Let’s get into it!
What is Your Immune System?
Your immune system’s primary job is to protect your body’s cells and tissues by producing an immune response when necessary to fight whatever antigen, virus or toxic substance is disturbing the healthy equilibrium in your body.
The immune system is made up of a complex network of organs, tissues and cells, with the lymphatic system primarily as its headquarters. This is why your doctor feels your lymph nodes at a visit if you don’t feel well--swollen lymph nodes can be a sign that your immune system is hard at work producing immune-system fighters like white blood cells, T cells and neutrophils to help fight infection!
An immune response can be explained most basically as the reaction of immune cells and fluids in the body to the presence of a substance that is either threatening or causing harm to your body.
One great example of a common immune response is the common cold. As your body falls ill, your immune system begins working to mount an immune response to fight that cold virus and, over time, ensure you’ll be feeling like your normal, healthy self again soon!
The Signs of a Weakened Immune System
Will you see signs if your immune system is compromised or not functioning properly? Absolutely! There are certainly signs that indicate your immune system’s been compromised and you may need to seek medical attention. These signs may show you’ve been exposed to or are developing an illness.
Whatever the scenario might be, look for the following signs if you think your immune system has been weakened:
- Cold hands
- Bathroom issues
- Mild fever
- Aching joints
- Repeated infections
- Tingling or numbness in the hands and feet
- Unplanned weight change
Have you previously experienced any of the above symptoms or something similar? If so, make sure to partner with a medical professional to better understand what you’re experiencing and get to the root of the problem. Your health and safety are vital, so it’s especially important to know what might be happening to your body and get medical attention if you need it!
Ways to Boost Your Immune System
To make sure your immune system is healthy and strong, it’s particularly important to take the right measures. From switching up your daily routine to being more health conscious, you’d be doing your body a favor!
Here are a few easy ways to boost your immune system health with simple daily actions that can make a big difference!
Maintain a Healthy Diet
By incorporating a few of these amazingly healthy food groups into a balanced diet, your body will be better able to digest and transport the needed nutrients throughout your body, keeping your immune system function strong while promoting overall healthy living! Want to know what you should grab at the grocery store to boost your immune system? Throw a few of these immune-boosting goodies in your shopping cart:
- Vegetables: bell peppers, spinach, broccoli, garlic
- Fruits: elderberry, citrus fruits, strawberries
- Whole grains (which also help keep heart disease at bay)
- Healthy fats like avocado and nuts
- Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir, probiotics
And of course, supplementing your diet with multivitamins is a beneficial way to help boost your immune system too!
Here are some specific immune-supporting vitamins found in a variety of different foods.
Vitamin B6: This powerhouse vitamin can be found in potato skins, green vegetables, chicken, salmon, tuna and bananas.
Vitamin C: This vitamin is famous for its immune-boosting capabilities! It can be found in citrus fruits such as oranges and strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli and spinach.
Vitamin E: Another great asset to have on your side, this vitamin can be found in sunflower, safflower oil, sunflower seeds, peanut butter and spinach.
Implement a Regular Exercise Routine
Your exercise routine doesn’t have to be a time-consuming, elaborate ordeal. Just make sure that you’re making the effort to move your body on a regular basis to stay in good health. Exercise also increases circulation, which is what allows immune cells to travel to all different parts of the body. Give your immune system the power of movement!
Make sure to stay hydrated because there’s never a time where your body doesn’t need water. When water enters your circulatory system, it acts as the travel agent helping to carry immune cells all over your body to elicit necessary responses and keep you healthy. Make sure you have a water bottle with you at all times, so you won’t have an excuse to not stay hydrated and healthy!
Soak Up the Sun
Sunlight is key for your overall health. It’s important to make sure you’re getting the needed exposure at least a few times per week. Plus, it’s a great source of vitamin D and a fantastic opportunity to breathe in some fresh air. Go for a nice long walk with your pup or sit outside in the backyard with a good book in hand. Just don’t forget the sunscreen!
Make it your mission to do this after a long, hard day at work or during a break to help switch up your day and give your immune function a little boost!
Some of the easiest ways to do this are to meditate and give your brain some down time from life’s daily happenings--you'll keep your immune system happy while reaping mental health benefits, too!
Rest, Rest, Rest.
Sleep is such a beautiful thing! While getting enough hours of sleep may seem elusive when your life’s in a constant state of go, go, go, always prioritize getting adequate sleep, and quality sleep at that. Getting enough sleep is important, but you also need to make sure you're actually going through the full sleep cycle and staying asleep so your body can recharge. Without it, next thing you know, your weakened immune health won’t have the strength to fight!
Minimize Any Feelings of Stress
We already mentioned this, but it’s really important. Chronic stress on the body has a directly negative effect of weakening your immune system. When stress levels build up over time, your body has to work extra hard to not only fight foreign invaders, but fight the stress hormone you yourself are producing! Eliminating or managing stress is a strong way to boost your immune system.
Here are a few of the best ways to reduce stress:
- Add a daily stress management supplement to your routine
- Let yourself laugh
- Eliminate or reduce caffeine consumption
- Learn that it’s okay to say no
- Avoid procrastination
- Light a scented candle
- Take a yoga class or meditate
- Practice mindfulness
- Write in a journal
- Listen to relaxing music
- Enjoy time with your partner, family and friends
- Practice deep breathing exercises
- Spend time with your pet
Add in These Daily Habits
Small things can make a big difference! There are plenty of small daily habits or routines that help make sure you’re feeling your best and prioritizing your health and wellness. Best of all, these little daily habits are all small enough that you won’t have to significantly alter your routine. Think of them as little sprinkles of healthy habits that you’re adding to your daily mix!
These are small daily additions to make your immune system’s job just a little bit easier:
- Wash your hands
- Use sunscreen
- Take an immune-boosting supplement
- Be mindful of your blood pressure
- Treat yourself (something chocolate is always good--your brain will thank you!)
Does anything in this list already sound enticing, relaxing or needed? For us, we’re always open to getting a little extra immune support from herbal remedies!
Our Final Thoughts
We all know that a healthy immune system is vital for the rest of your body to truly thrive. By taking the necessary precautions, your body stands a much better chance of staying healthy. Not only that, it’s important to know what could be weakening your immune system in order to know how and when to respond.
Prioritize your health by giving your immune system the daily boosts it needs to stay active and responsive to your body’s needs!