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Improving Your Immune System

Updated on November 24, 2009

Maintaining a healthy immune system is just as important today as it has always been. With all the diseases that are prevalent today and increased travel among large crowds, having a healthy immune system can protect you against avoidable diseases. This is particularly important during the fall, as cold temperatures set in and our consumption of sugary foods increases. Here are some simple tips to improve your immune system.

1. Get enough sleep. Everyone needs a different amount of sleep to feel well rested. But most people need between six and ten hours of sleep per night for their bodies to function as well as possible. Getting enough sleep will balance your hormone levels, help you think and reason more clearly, keep you at a constant weight and contribute to healthy skin and good moods.

2. Increase your protein intake. Protein is very healthy for your body. Eating high protein foods strengthens your muscles, sharpens your mind, and boosts your immune system. If you’re not getting enough protein, you are probably overloading on carbohydrates which have negative effects on your body, such as raising your blood sugar level and giving you sugar-induced energy swings.

3. Increase your water intake. Drinking enough water to properly hydrate your body is critical to a healthy immune system. If you experience headaches throughout the day, you may be dehydrated. Your body needs half your body weight in ounces of water to function properly. So a 120-pound person would need 60 ounces of water per day. Another way to use water to boost your immune system is to end your daily shower with 20-30 seconds of cold water. Cold water stimulates nerve endings in your skin, which in turn stimulate endorphins in your brain that bolster your immune system. However, this can be an unsuitable treatment for people with high blood pressure or other health problems, so consult your physician before incorporating it into your routine.

4, Cut down on your sugar intake. Sugar is detrimental to your immune system. It also decreases your energy levels, contributes to weight gain, and weakens your body’s ability to fight off diseases. In the winter season when the cold and flu are making the rounds, many people are increasing their sugar intake through holiday meals, leaving them more susceptible to getting sick.

5. Cut down on your caffeine intake. Caffeine exhausts your body’s vitamins and minerals and causes dehydration, which damages your immune system. If you drink soda or coffee regularly, cutting down on these things can really help your immune system.

6. Exercise! Exercise triggers endorphins which strengthen your immune system. Exercising on a regular basis—even a brisk walk once per day—can also increase your mood and energy levels.

Image Credit: albertopveiga, Flickr


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  • Papa Sez profile image

    Papa Sez 8 years ago from The Philippines to Canada

    Hi Lela, you made a pretty good list in this hub. Exercise is the one I have to do more of. There's a new hub that emphasizes the link between proper nutrition and immunity that you might want to check out. Thanks.