How to Boost Your Immune System in 7 Easy Steps
Knowing how to boost your immune system can conjure up a sea of orange fizzy drinks and drugstore vitamins.
Our immune system does so much for us daily without us having to consciously ask it. We fight off many germs and bacteria without even realizing it, however, the immune system can also be overwhelmed and get extra support from us.
That’s why, especially if you’re worried about getting sick at this time, we created this article to walk through specific, tangible ways to help your body fight off “bad guys”.
In this blog, we’re going to cover:
- A few types of immunity
- Easy ways to boost your immunity. naturally
How to Strengthen Immune System
Before we dive into specific tactics (one involves a delicious comfort food), let’s address two of the different types of immunity.
2 types of immunity
Your immune system is a gracious host defense system, made up of different processes and physical structures in the body. An immune system performing in top form detects many types of pathogens, from viruses to parasitic worm.
The real trick (and genius)? Distinguishing pathogens from the organism's own healthy tissue.
The immune system is spread throughout the body and involves many types of cells, organs, proteins, and tissues. Crucially, it can distinguish our tissue from foreign tissue — self from non-self. Dead and faulty cells are also recognized and cleared away by the immune system. (source)
Types of immunity
Immune systems vary from one individual to another, but as a general rule, your immunity usually becomes stronger during adulthood.
Here’s why: By our older years, we have been exposed to more pathogens-- and, in turn, our body has developed more immunity against them. (That is why teens and adults tend to get sick less often than children).
This is the way immunity works, in a nutshell.
Once an antibody has been produced, a copy remains in the body so that if the same antigen appears again, it can be dealt with more quickly.
That is why with some diseases, such as chickenpox, you only get it once as the body. Since your body already has the chickenpox antibody stored, that antibody ready and waiting to destroy any next arrival.
Here are two types of immunity.
We are all born with some level of immunity to invaders. Human immune systems, similar to those of many animals, will attack foreign invaders from day one. This innate immunity includes the external barriers of our body, which are the first line of defense against pathogens: The gut, throat, mucous membranes and the skin (that’s why it is so important to make sure skin is cared for).
This kind of immunity response is more general and non-specific. If the pathogen manages to get through the innate immune system, this is where other steps can come through.
Adaptive (acquired) immunity
This protection from pathogens develops as we get older. As we are exposed to diseases or get vaccinated, we build up a library of antibodies to different pathogens - such as the chicken pox situation shared earlier. This is sometimes referred to as immunological memory because our immune system remembers previous enemies, the same way humans do with other people!
How to boost your immune system naturally
Here are some of the most potent foods, supplements, and ideas to make a part of your daily diet.
Garlic is not only delicious; it has superpowers when it comes to how to strengthen your immune system. Research shows that garlic stimulates and activates your white blood cells – immune system soldiers – supercharging their powers (Arreola, 2015).
Garlic also contains sulfur phytochemicals, which offer a number of health benefits. These phytochemicals act as antioxidants, are anti-inflammatory and help to fight both infection and inflammation in the body.
Whole Fruit and Vegetables
Bursting with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and healthy carbs, the whole version fruit and vegetables are truly irreplaceable. While a supplement may be better than nothing in terms of vitamins, fresh, raw produce is best.
Vegetables are the most powerful either raw or lightly cooked (steamed or stir-fried) so they retain their goodness. Frozen fruit and veg are also very nutritious and often cheaper than fresh.
Aim for at least eight servings a day and include some green leafy vegetables, citrus fruit and berries because these types of produce have the most antioxidants. It’s best to avoid preserved fruit and pasteurized fruit juices, which have lost most of their nutritional value.
Ginger and turmeric
Both from the same family, ginger and turmeric contain several potent biochemicals that are very strong antioxidants. They also have antimicrobial properties, helping to fight infection.
Ginger is best fresh. Here are some fun ways to use work it into your daily diet:
- Slice it and make ginger and lemon tea
- Grate it and add it to meals, such as stir fries or even your morning cereal can be spiced up with it
Turmeric is widely available as a powder and is perfect for cooking or making ‘golden milk’ – a delicious drink made from plant milk, turmeric, natural sweetener and extra spices (you can add cinnamon or black pepper). The key is to use enough turmeric for it to have the desired effect – about one teaspoon.
Zinc is a mineral we all need but don’t always get enough. It is crucial for how to strengthen immune system.
The easy step to take: Work in an appearance of the following high-zinc products on your daily menu – pumpkin seeds, lentils, tofu, tempeh, wholemeal pasta or wheat germ.
When discussing the immune system, we mustn’t forget protein. Vital to strong immunity, it’s important to include protein-rich meals in our routine. And it just so happens that the best protein sources – pulses, nuts and seeds – are also excellent for many other important vitamins and minerals.
Meals like chickpea curry, lentil dhal, tomato and lentil soup, bean chilli, tofu stir-fry or falafel wrap are perfect options. So not only is a hearty curry a comfort food, it is actually helping with improving your immune system.
Other great sources of protein, including as snacks, include nuts and seeds, or fruit slices with nut butter.
Look to beets to get your blood pumping, while also lowering your blood pressure. Both the roots and the greens come packed with health-boosting nutrients that your immune system will truly appreciate.
While washing your hands is vital to support immunity...this is often forgotten
In addition to natural methods above, it’s important to remember this.
In these times when frequent & thorough hand-washing is recommended, it is important to remember the importance of moisturizing your skin, as well. Nourishing with an all-natural, vegan moisturizer goes a long way in protecting it, by creating a barrier from harsh weather elements, keeping this immunity layer protected & providing great hydration.