COVID-19 has not yet receded, and the winter season with colds and flu is already on the nose. And no one canceled other diseases. How to strengthen your immune system so that it successfully repels the attacks of harmful viruses and bacteria?
The answer to this burning question can be found in the Healthyinfo article.
Immune system: on guard of health
To stay healthy, you should not only try to avoid infections, but also, if possible, strengthen the immune system.
What it is and how it works, most of us do not understand very well. But everyone knows for sure that this very immunity needs to be increased, strengthened and stimulated. Basically, that’s the way it is. But how to do it? Take pills?
The opinion of experts is inclined to the fact that the most effective methods are simpler. Although they require constancy and a certain willpower, because for efficiency you need to do all this all the time, and not once from time, as it happens, when you remember. Miraculous remedies are only in fairy tales and in advertising, but in fact, to strengthen immunity, you need a little more.
The immune system is a complex system. Probably the most difficult in the whole body. Therefore, there is no one means of strengthening that is 100% effective. Some habits harm the immune system, others make it stronger. Our task is to form more good habits and get rid of bad ones as soon as possible. Not for a season, but forever.
Looks boring, doesn’t it? What to do, quarantine is even more boring. Or lying in a hospital bed waiting for procedures that are rarely pleasant.
Isn’t it better to take care of your health, forgetting about boredom? Shall we start?
Give up bad habits: smoking, alcohol
Nicotine is destructive to the immune system. There is an increased risk of getting not only a banal cold or a smoker’s expressive morning cough, but also something worse, including cancer.
As for alcohol, in large doses it is simply toxic, but in small doses it acts insidiously: for a short time, the number of leukocytes, the advanced detachment of the immune system, even increases in the blood. But after this, the number of leukocytes decreases sharply for several hours, and the body remains defenseless.
Valerie LeComte, Emergency Medicine Physician
Even after two standard doses of alcohol drunk within 2 hours, the immune system response is blunted for at least 5–6 hours. The link between alcohol consumption and predisposition to various diseases, including pneumonia, has been proven by many studies. Therefore, there is absolutely no need to drink “for prevention.” Not only will it not help, but it will also hurt.
Although there is no food that can guarantee protection against viruses and bacteria, some foods do help strengthen the immune system.
Lisa Baller, Functional Medicine Specialist
If you are familiar with the principles of healthy eating, if you follow them, you are on the right track. This will help your immunity. Choose fresh vegetables in bright colors for your menu, from dark green to red and yellow. They contain many antioxidants that strengthen the immune system. Citrus fruits, nuts and seeds, garlic and olive oil are also helpful.
Movement is not only life. It’s also health. Regular exercise has been shown to boost the immune response, reduce disease risk, and reduce inflammation.
Get yourself a good sleep
“Normal” is not just a continuous one. It means regular, at the same time, not too short and not too long, because sleeping too much is also not very healthy.
Timothy Mainardi, allergist-immunologist
Physical activity and healthy nutrition are two main components of strengthening the immune system. People who lead a sedentary lifestyle, eat excessively and unbalanced meals, get sick with infectious and other diseases more often and more severely. Try to get at least three hours of vigorous exercise a week, and this will bring tangible benefits to your health. It can even be a simple walk around the neighborhood at a brisk pace, or classes in the gym, or swimming, jumping rope, gymnastics — it doesn’t matter what it is. Check with your doctor.
As for sleep, everything has long been studied and confirmed by research. Including the doctors themselves, who sometimes have to work 100 hours a week. Lack of sleep greatly undermines the immune system. At the same time, it is important to sleep well every day. Sleeping in after a few sleepless days will not help, as there is a disruption in circadian rhythms, and this has a negative effect on the functioning of the immune system.
Avoid infections, wash your hands
At the beginning of the 2020 pandemic, all the media, all the doctors paid great attention to how to teach people how to wash their hands properly. Because this is really important: not only coronavirus is transmitted through hands, touches, but also a host of other diseases, including seasonal flu, tuberculosis, etc.
Lisa Baller, Functional Medicine Specialist
Ordinary soap, warm water and a minute of time will help protect against infection more effectively than taking immunomodulatory drugs. Hands should be washed after each contact with surfaces in public places and in transport, after caring for a sick loved one, after using the toilet, after sneezing, forcing you to cover your mouth and nose with your hand.
If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropyl alcohol.
Add probiotic foods to your diet
A healthy intestinal microflora is one of the components of a strong immune system. You can take supplements in capsules, or include more natural yogurt, sauerkraut in your diet.
Ensure adequate intake of foods containing zinc
This trace element is involved in the creation of cells of the immune system. Zinc deficiency leads to an increase in the body’s susceptibility to infections.
Valerie LeComte, Emergency Medicine Physician
People who are deficient in zinc are more likely to suffer from infectious diseases, their wounds heal more slowly. The daily dose of zinc is 8 mg for women and 11 mg for men. If the tests reveal a lack of zinc in the body, you should include more red meat, seafood, whole grain breads and cereals, nuts, and beans in your diet. But in some cases, dietary modification may not be enough. Then your doctor may prescribe a course of pills to make up for the deficiency.
Probiotics, by the way, should also be taken after consulting a doctor. There are some chronic diseases for which they are not indicated.
Unless, of course, there are no contraindications. No matter how many anti-vaccination protesters rallied, mass vaccination at one time destroyed smallpox, almost defeated poliomyelitis and measles. Influenza vaccination significantly reduces the risk of getting seriously ill and getting complications. When it becomes possible to get vaccinated against the new coronavirus, it is best to undergo an examination, and if no antibodies to the infection are detected, there will be no contraindications, get vaccinated. By the way, it is also time to get vaccinated against the flu, this should be done in advance, before the epidemic arrives.
Hardening: the old effective way
The main thing in hardening is to start small, take your time and do not stop the procedure. There is absolutely no need to be heroic on the eve of the cold season. You should start by dousing your feet with cool water, gradually lowering the temperature of the water and increasing the surface of the body to be doused: first only the feet, then the legs to the knees, thighs, arms to the shoulders, dousing to the waist, and then dousing the whole body. After that, you need to rub the skin well.
A contrast shower is also useful. You should also start with a small temperature difference, gradually lowering the temperature of cold and raising the temperature of hot water.
Winter swimming is also not necessary, and not everyone is shown such an extreme activity. As, by the way, and a bath with a cold pool. But if there are no contraindications, then hardening can be carried out in such ways. Again, under medical supervision.
Or learn to perceive reality more calmly, without worrying about trifles. This, by the way, is a more fruitful way. It is easier to manage oneself than the events in the world.
Marvin Singh, Gastroenterologist
Stress increases the levels of adrenaline and cortisol, which negatively affect the immune system. In particular, disrupting the intestinal microbiome, which causes inflammation and other problems to develop. It is advisable to work with a psychotherapist, the organization of proper nutrition, meditation. It is useful to reduce the time spent on social networks and reading/watching the news. The Internet can significantly increase stress, cause anxiety and increase anxiety. Instead of social networks, it is more useful to visit a massage parlor or a spa salon.
These are the usual boring methods that are most effective for strengthening immunity.