The beginning of a new year is a good time to evaluate your overall health and take effective steps to boost your immune system. This system is a marvel of biological and chemical design, working tirelessly to keep your body free of pathogens. Keeping it in top shape requires a few simple lifestyle changes that require little effort but result in rich pidends in the short and long term.
Get Enough Sleep
Research conducted by the Norman Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at UCLA has identified that even small sleep losses can have adverse effects on the body by triggering the immune system’s inflammatory response. Nearly every major illness connected with type II diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, some types of cancer, and arthritis are aggravated by lack of sleep. Maintaining a regular and sustained sleep cycle helps repair damaged tissues and increase blood supply to the muscles. As an adult, you need between seven and eight hours of uninterrupted sleep to boost your immune system. Oversleeping can also be harmful, so an optimum sleep cycle is important.
Food and Diet
The adage “you are what you eat” is very applicable today, where the consumption of junk food is more the norm than the exception. Maintaining a balanced diet provides your body with the nutrients it needs to bolster your immune system. Fresh fruits and vegetables, protein and plenty of fluids can shield your body against conditions such as flu. Natural doses of vitamin C can also help your body resist respiratory infections. Mushrooms, garlic, and ginseng have powerful anti-pathogenic properties that help prevent recurring infections and strengthen immune response.
Enjoy Your Time in the Sun
Fifteen to twenty minutes in the morning sun causes your body to produce vitamin D—a key component to improving immunity to infections of the upper respiratory tract. Sunlight also helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle by maintaining the body’s circadian rhythm. Moderate exposure to sunlight has been shown to protect the skin from some types of cancer, to lower blood pressure, and to lift the mood.
Lower Stress Levels
Simple life hacks such as meditation, social interaction, and regular exercise actively counteract the negative effects of a wide range of stress hormones. Constant exposure to stress can suppress your immune system, leaving you susceptible to a wide range of illnesses ranging from the common cold to heart disease. Going on a stress-free vacation or engaging in uplifting experiences gives the mind and body a boost, thus improving overall health and immune function.
A single cigarette contains more immune-suppressing chemicals that can aggravate pulmonary conditions such as bronchitis, leading to serious conditions such as pneumonia and lung cancer. Avoiding direct or second-hand smoke and pollutants gives your immune system the strength to fight off daily infections.
Basic healthy living practices are key to boosting the immune system. So, start the New Year right!
Hamid Moaref has always been fascinated by cars and the automotive industry. His family has a longstanding association with the industry and has been in the tire business for the past 35 years. Raised in Dubai, Hamid attended Capilano University in Vancouver where he graduated with a BBA in marketing before attending an intensive course in magazine publishing in 2005. He has been the publisher and chief editor of Tires & Parts magazine for the past ten years.
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