BOOSTING YOUR IMMUNITY
By Ma. Rachell Ann Makayan, OH Nurse
Health – the being and keeping of it – has always been an important concern of many. If anything, over two years of living amidst a pandemic has only put health and wellbeing at the forefront of everyone’s priorities. People wanted to be stronger and improve their natural immunity to help them fight off the looming threat of disease.
But what does that really mean?
Boosting your immune health is easier said than done. Our immune system, from the term itself, is made up of a complex system of organs and organ systems, as well as individual cells and proteins that all work together to form our immune response. There isn’t a set of rules that can guarantee you perfect immunity, given the elaborate workings of our immune system. However, there are still several steps that can help you bolster your natural defenses. Below are some of them:
Practice safe and healthy habits
The simplest way of boosting your immunity is by practicing safe and healthy habits. Eating a healthy and balanced diet plus regular exercise help strengthen our bodies. Getting adequate and quality sleep is also crucial as it allows our bodies to undergo its natural repair and recovery. Meanwhile, safe and healthy habits such as hand hygiene, quitting smoking, and drinking alcohol in moderation help us avoid or, at least, limit further damage to our bodies and, in the long run, contribute to our overall wellness.
Managing our stress and anxiety levels is another key factor in maintaining our overall health. Experts continuously study stress and anxiety, but these have already been linked to several health problems. Long-term stress, according to a 2014 study, dysregulates innate and adaptive immune responses and promotes chronic low-grade inflammation, suppressing the count and function of cells involved in the immune response. Activities like yoga, meditation, journaling, and other mindfulness practices may help you lower and manage your stress levels, in turn, keeping your immune system functioning well.
Take supplements wisely
With so many claiming to help you boost your immunity, relying on supplements is highly enticing. Although, like anything, these should be taken wisely. A few of the supplements that actually have some effect on our bodies’ immune response are vitamins C, D, and A, as well as zinc and selenium. However, note that most of these supplements’ claims are largely unproven, and natural sources of these vitamins like fruits and vegetables, will always be the healthier choice.
While our immune system can fight off most disease-causing microorganisms, it still fails at times. Vaccines have been proven to reduce the risks of diseases by helping your body’s natural defenses, training it to fight specific disease-causing organisms. Vaccinating not only protects the individual vaccinated, but it also protects those that have weaker immune responses.