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Nutrition Tips for a Healthy Immune System

The immune system is the body’s way of protecting itself from disease and infection. Your immune system fights off cold and flu viruses, to more serious conditions such as cancer.

Our immune systems are complex and are influenced by many factors. There are ways to build your immune system which includes vaccines that build immunity against specific diseases, but there are additional and natural ways you can build your immunity.

Building Your Immune System Naturally

There are many things you can implement into your everyday life that will naturally strengthen your immune system. Your first line of defense when it comes to building your immune system is choosing a healthy lifestyle. Every part of your body, including your immune system, functions better when one practices healthy living strategies.

Tips to build your immune system:

  • Maintaining a healthy diet: a good start to eating well is to implement plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and fat-free milk and dairy products into your diet. You may also consider limiting saturated fats, cholesterol, and added salts and sugars. Eating well provides multiple nutrients that support immune health and function. Talk to your healthcare provider before adding any supplements or vitamins to your daily diet.
  • Regular exercise: regular physical activity naturally makes you feel better, sleep better, and reduces anxiety. When combined with healthy eating, physical activity can help a person maintain a healthy weight. Following a daily regimen or getting regular physical activity provides immediate and long-term benefits.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight: excess weight can affect your body’s normal functions. Being overweight increases your chances of being susceptible to conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancers, sleep apnea, and fatty liver disease. These increase your chances of decreased immune function and increased chance for various infections.
  • Getting enough sleep: research has shown that lack of sleep can negatively impact the different parts of the immune system. This can lead to the development of a variety of disorders. During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines which help promote sleep. Certain cytokines need to increase when you are fighting an infection or illness, and even when one is under a lot of stress. A decrease in sleep affects the production of these cytokines, having a negative impact on how your immune system functions.
  • Avoiding alcohol and tobacco: smoking and the use of alcohol already poses a threat to your overall health but they can directly affect sleep. Excessive alcohol use and smoking weakens the immune system while increasing the risk of immune system problems such as rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease, and more. By quitting smoking and decreasing your alcohol intake you can reduce the risk of short term and long-term health risks.

To get more tips and information on maintaining a healthy immune system, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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