Having a strong immune system should be everyone’s priority in life. The immune system is a host defense system against diseases and viruses. We all have an immune system by default, but some of us have stronger immune system than others. The good news is, it can be improved, just like any skill. Here are the 5 simple steps to boost your immune system:
1. Drink enough water.
Up to %60 of the human body is water. Our brain, heart, lungs, and many other organs are mostly water. Water is literally life. To be more scientific, there is a liquid in our circulatory system called lymph, which carries bacterias to lymph nodes, where they are being destroyed. Lymph is basically an important part of our immune system. It contains largely water and being dehydrated causes it to move slower. That makes our immune system weaker.
In addition to this scientific explanation, feeling tired for no reason is one of the indicators of having a weak immune system. Have you ever felt tired and had no idea why? There might be many reasons, but the most common one is being dehydrated. Try drinking water whenever you feel tired. Within half an hour, you will realize that you are not tired anymore. I’ve tried it myself many times, it works.
Working out should be a part of our lives. Just like eating, sleeping, and drinking water, exercising should be a non-negotiable for everyone. Before you tell me that I don’t have enough energy to exercise, or I’m too fat to workout, I’m not telling you to go run a marathon. Start with walking around the block, jump, do yoga, at least move and do something. Soon after you start moving, you will keep doing it naturally. Even though it will be a struggle to start working out, once you are done, you will feel great physically and mentally.
In terms of boosting our immune system, exercising increases the exchange of white blood cells between tissues and helps with the circulation of lymph vessels which supports the body’s immune response.
3. Eat healthy
I can’t stress eating healthy enough. Every time I see a kid drinking a large sugary milkshake or eating donuts for lunch, it makes me sad. In today’s society, eating processed junk foods is very normal, even though I believe all of them should have warnings on them, just like cigarettes. Refined sugar has significant effects on the human body. Think of the gas you put in your car. You can’t just put water in the gas tank and expect your car to go, it’s just not possible. Just like a car, your body needs quality fuel to function well. If you put junk in your body, don’t expect to feel good.
Other than feeling good, healthy diet is important for immune system. Your body needs specific vitamins and minerals in order to fight diseases such as Vitamin A, B6, C, D, zinc, and iron. Eat your fruits and vegetables, take vitamin supplements and zinc. Don’t think of them as an extra expense, your health must be your number one priority.
4. Sleep well
Sleep plays a critical role in our health. There is a reason why we sleep almost 1/3 of our lives. There is a great book called Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker. He dives deep into the importance of sleep and it is recommended by many people. Sleep is very crucial for testosterone hormone, which also supports our immune system. Besides testosterone, our body heals itself while we are sleeping. If we don’t get enough sleep, our body doesn’t produce enough cytokines, a protein that targets infection and inflammation, which has the role of creating an immune response. Cytokines get released during sleep, so without enough sleep, your body wouldn’t be able to produce them as much as it needs.
5. Take cold showers
This one might sound weird. Does it really affect your immune system? I first heard of a cold shower from my Taekwondo trainer when I was 14 years old. It was more about muscle recovery, but I started doing it back then. After I came to the US, I started paying attention to guys like Joe Rogan and Paul Chek. They both swear by cold showers. I’ve done my research on it. I found out that taking cold showers increases the amount of white blood cells in your body. As it was mentioned earlier, white blood cells help your body fight diseases. This is due to the increased metabolic rate, which quickens the immune response, caused by the shock of temperature change.
Overall, the answer to how to boost your immune system is very simple; take care of your body. Keep your engine smooth, change your oil, change your spark plugs if you will. If I were to summarize those 5 steps with 2 words, that would be living healthy. Our health should be the number one priority in our lives. It shouldn’t be something that’s brought to our attention through the pandemic. Unless you have a chronic disease, if you live healthy, viruses wouldn’t scare you, if not, good luck with freaking out.