The pressure to avoid getting sick is at an all-time high. But is there actually anything we can do to help our immunity? The evidence around eating specific foods or taking certain supplements to help our immune systems is actually quite low; here are some of the proven methods.
Avoiding stress helps your immune system
Sure, we all get stressed out—but studies have shown that anxiety and stress levels can directly affect our immune systems. People under stress have less natural killer cells, which help fight viral infections; this report from the American Psychological Association has more on stress and immunity.
To combat stress, focus on relaxation techniques such as stretching, working on a hobby, phoning a loved one, or seeking professional counselling. This article from the Mayo Clinic has more on chronic stress and how to combat it.
Eating well helps your immune system
Giving your body all of the vitamins and minerals it needs is one easy way to help it fend off sickness. It makes sense: if our body has all of the tools to function properly, it will more likely be stronger and in a better position to defend itself. This article from Harvard Medical School has more on improving immunity through healthy eating.
A good night’s sleep helps your immune system
Sleep is when your body recovers and rejuvenates; getting a good night’s sleep is truly one of the greatest acts of self-care we can partake in. That is because when your body has had enough sleep, it can better handle life when you’re awake. This article from The New York Times has more on all of the ways we can properly help our immune systems.
Limiting alcohol consumption helps your immune system
A glass of wine or two per day is one thing, but if you’re trying to stay healthy, do your best not to go beyond that. Excessive alcohol can disrupt the body’s immune pathways and make us more susceptible to catching a virus. This report from the US National Library of Medicine has more on alcohol and immunity.
Exercising helps your immune system
A moderate-intensity workout can help boost your immune system’s functionality and lower levels of cortisol, which is our main stress hormone. The key is not to overdo it, though, as putting our bodies through too much rigour can have the opposite effect. This article in The Wall Street Journal has more information.
Through it all, try to stay calm, and to listen to your body and your mind.