8 Ways To Boost Your Natural Immunity This Winter
The immune system is the body’s first line of defense against harmful invaders such as viruses or bacteria. It is designed to help the body ward off disease by sending signaling cells that will seek out and destroy pathogens. This year in particular, you may be wondering how to boost your natural immunity this winter.
To understand how to boost immunity, first you need to understand the difference between innate and adaptive immunity. The innate system is already present in the body at birth and targets foreign invaders blindly, whereas the adaptive system is built up over time and remembers specific invaders. The adaptive system creates specific antibodies that are able to recognize pathogens they’ve come into contact with previously. This means that our bodies can launch a targeted attack if we are exposed again. This is known as immunological memory, and it is part of a properly functioning immune response.
When the immune system starts to function inadequately, it can leave the body open to illness because its defense systems are down. When this happens, a boost in immunity can mean the difference between warding off pesky winter sickness or carrying around tissues until April.
Does cold weather weaken the immune system?
It was long thought that cold weather itself could make a person sick but that myth has been debunked. However, research has found that cold weather can lead to a higher susceptibility to infections. This is because some viruses, such as the rhinovirus, thrive better in cooler temperatures. Studies have also found that the temperature of the nasal cavity and lungs in exposure to cold weather can hinder the body’s immune response.
Another reason why cold weather and colds go hand in hand is because in winter people tend to stay indoors in areas where ventilation is poor. This could lead to further spread of aerosol droplets. Cold weather can also help the influenza virus survive better by strengthening its coating, making it easier to infect more people.
How can I boost my immune system in the winter?
Avoiding catching a cold or virus in the winter months can be difficult, but there are ways to keep infections at bay. The first way is to practice good hygiene. This means washing your hands regularly and cleaning frequently touched surfaces. Avoiding crowds can also lower the chances of becoming ill with a flu or cold this winter. It’s not always easy to avoid crowds or wash your hands every few minutes, so boosting the immune system can also help keep sickness at bay.
Image by Bhavya Shah on Unsplash: Getting outside for gentle exercise in the winter could help you avoid catching a cold.
You can do this by getting just the right amount of exercise. Research has shown that exercise and immune function are directly linked, but the amount and intensity of the exercise you get will be the deciding factor in whether or not it helps or hurts your immune health. Moderate or mild exercise can boost immune function, while intense bouts of exercise can increase the risk of illness. It’s all about finding the sweet spot when it comes to exercise and the immune system. How often you exercise will also play a key role in immune health, as regular exercise will help immune regulation.
How can I increase my immunity naturally?
Exercise isn’t the only natural way to boost immune function. There are plenty of things a person can do from the comfort of their own home to help limit their chances of falling ill this winter. They include:
Getting adequate sleep
Sleep has been shown to have a regulatory effect on how well the immune system does its job. Adequate sleep is generally a minimum 7 hours per night.
Managing stress levels
Stress can have a negative effect on many processes within the body. It can lead to chronic pain and other illness if left unchecked. When it comes to the immune system, lowering stress levels can help boost its function.
The body needs to be hydrated at all times for all systems to work as they should, including the immune system. Nutrients need to get around the body somehow, and when a person is dehydrated it makes it that much harder for much-needed vitamins and minerals to get where they need to go to assist in immune function.
Getting enough sunlight
Sunlight has been shown to help lymphocytes move around to where they're most needed in the body. This helps the immune system fight off infection.
A bustling social life has been scientifically proven to help improve immune function.
Avoiding immune-suppressing activities such as smoking and alcohol consumption
Smoking and alcohol consumption can hinder the body’s ability to fight off infection and could even make the body an easier target for pathogenic invaders.
How does nutrition affect immune function?
One of the most effective ways to boost immune function is by giving the body what it needs, nutritionally speaking. Adequate nutrient absorption is required for the immune system to function as it should because cells need certain nutrients to be able to do their job. This isn’t just immune cells, but all cells within the body. When it comes to immunity, the cells that are required to fight off pathogens need certain nutrients to be able to initiate a response.
On the opposite end, bad nutrition can hinder the immune response by causing immune cells to become too tired or weak to attack germs or bacteria. The food you eat provides your body with energy, and good energy is needed for a good immune response. If all the body is getting is sugar or carbs, the cells are going to burn out and be unable to fight off infection as well as they should.
Image by Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash: Elderberry is a huge immune booster because it’s loaded with vitamins and antioxidants.
Nutritional supplements for immunity
Some foods are better than others when it comes to boosting immunity. Turmeric, for example, can help boost immune function by acting as an immune system modulator. Cinnamon can also have positive effects on immunity by inhibiting the growth of bacteria. It has also been shown to be helpful in the treatment of respiratory infections.
Elderberries are a superfood that are loaded with antioxidants and vitamins that can lead to a boost in immune function. They have also been shown to help lessen the severity of colds and flus. Other important vitamins and herbs that can help boost the immune system include vitamin C, Echinacea, and zinc. Echinacea specifically has been proven to help the body fight off infection and speed up recovery from illnesses. GenBoost is releasing a range of immunity-boosting supplements that utilize these incredible ingredients very soon – if you’d like to stay up to date with our launch, please sign up to our newsletter!
Boosting your natural immunity can be done by following a few simple tips and tricks this winter. The best way to keep from catching a cold is through avoidance, but if you do happen to come into contact with a flu or cold bug, having a healthy and fully functioning immune system is the second-best way to ensure you stay well all winter long.
Featured image by Tamara Bellis on Unsplash
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