It’s a sad fact of life: Everyone gets sick. Although, the frequency and severity of the sickness depends on the strength (or weakness) of your immune system.
The immune system, more specifically known as the lymphatic system, is the system made up of the organs such as your lymph nodes, tonsils, spleen, and others. The system’s main purpose in the body is to store and distribute white blood cells, which are the cells in your body responsible for fighting off infection. While this system is what transmits the white blood cells, it doesn’t create them. This job belongs to a source you may not believe: the bones. The marrow inside your bones is responsible for creating the white blood cells that protect your body from foreign antigen invaders (viruses, bacteria, etc.). These blood cells are the body’s protectors. Alone, they are efficient, but there are several things you can do to help them out and make your immune system even stronger.
The most important component of having a strong immune system is to live a healthy lifestyle. Exercise often and stay active. Having an active lifestyle can be difficult for some in this fast paced and hectic world, but not only is being active good for your body, it’s good for your mind. Many people spend their entire day behind a desk then go home and sit on the couch. This isn’t only bad for your whole body in general, but it also weakens the immune system along with it. The stronger and healthier the rest of you is, the better your immune system.
Eat a healthy and balanced diet (especially one containing lots of fruits and vegetables). A good rule of thumb is to have a colorful diet, which doesn’t mean artificial dyes or candies! For at least one meal a day, but preferably more than one, have a wide array of colorful vegetables on your plate. These vegetables are packed full of vitamins and nutrients which will not only provide great fuel for your body but will strengthen it and keep it healthy.
Don’t go crazy with the vitamins. Vitamins are meant to fill in the gaps in your diet, so don’t depend too heavily on them. Find a great multivitamin that makes up for what you are lacking in your diet. Important vitamins to focus on, though, are vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin E. These vitamins support biochemical reactions in the immune system and help your body fight off infection.
In the same vein, it is wise to take probiotics as they are not only just beneficial to your immune system, but are beneficial to the whole body. Probiotics are good for boosting the immune system’s response rate, which makes it easier for your body to fight off potential invaders.
Not many people would think it, but sleep plays a huge factor in your immune health (and your health in general). Everyone requires different hours of sleep. Some get by just fine on 5 to 6, while others can’t function properly without a full eight hours. Sleeping the proper amount of time keeps your mind and body sharp. The healthier and more rested your brain is, the better it is at regulating the rest of your body, including your immune system.
The key to a stronger immune system is to just lead a healthy life. Don’t push yourself past your limits and keep a healthy diet. The healthier you are in general, the better you’ll feel. With the proper energy and nutrients your body will be able to keep the immune system working at its peak, fighting off infections and illnesses like it was meant to.
Don’t know where to get a good multivitamin or probiotic? Check out the selection we carry at your local HealthCARE Express clinic. We have a great selection if I do say so myself.
Stay healthy everyone,
Timothy Reynolds, M.D.