How To Fortify Your Immune System

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Your immune system is your body's overall system for fighting off pathogens. Pathogens are microbes that cause disease. Your immune system is constantly scanning what is entering the body to check whether it's meant to be there, or whether it's a foreign entity that could cause harm.

There are a number of factors that can help to greatly strengthen your immune system.

Vitamin D doesn't get a lot of recognition as an immune booster but it is essential for a healthy immune system. The best source is plain old sunlight, not through glass. You may be concerned about getting too much sun. You don't need to lie in the sun for hours. Just get some sunshine on your skin, preferably not in the hottest part of the day and without wearing suntan, as that defeats the purpose.

Vitamin C is generally recognised as a strong antioxidant and antiviral, it can be easily sourced from foods. Some of the best sources are sauerkraut, red bell peppers and citrus fruits. Freshly squeezed orange juice is good. I wouldn't recommend store bought juice which has added sugar. Also, adding some lemon juice to your water is a good idea.

Probiotics are definitely recommended. it is now known that a large factor in immunity is gut heath and a healthy intestinal flora is essential. Yoghurt is a source of some of these healthy bacteria but a good quality probiotic is required to get a wide spectrum of healthy bacteria. Sauerkraut and kimchi are also great for the microbiome.

Rosemary is a rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which are thought to help boost the immune system and improve blood circulation. Laboratory studies have shown rosemary to be rich in antioxidants, which play an important role in neutralizing harmful particles called free radicals.

Zinc is a nutrient that people absolutely need to stay healthy. Zinc is required by cells throughout the body. It helps the immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses.

Exercise is key. To be immunologically fit, you need to be physically fit. White blood cells can be quite sedentary. Exercise mobilises them by increasing your blood flow, so they can do their surveillance jobs and seek and destroy in other parts of the body. Adults should be physically active in some way every day, and do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity (hiking, gardening, cycling) or 75 minutes of vigorous activity (running, swimming fast, an aerobics class).

Sleep is more important than you think. Research has shown that there is a direct link between sleep and the immune system. One of the consequences of sleep deprivation is a weakening of this system which leaves us less protected from pathogens.

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