Sudden changes in the climate, winter coming… it is time to strengthen your immune system! It’s natural that during the changing seasons, especially from spring to autumn/winter, a cold catches us there, a sore throat happens here, so it is really important to look for ways to stay as resistant as possible and not have your routine shaken for any type of disease.
To strengthen immunity, some lifestyle changes are needed. We are not only talking about sleep and food, for example, but also about a balance between stress x anxiety x routine, with some small attitudes that you can adopt today.
How does the immunological system work?
The immune system is formed by a complex network of tissues, cells and proteins that act in defense of the organism, fighting harmful invasive agents (bacteria, viruses and fungi) and, consequently, preventing diseases. The normal immune response follows an action plan:
- Recognition of a potentially dangerous antigen;
- Activation of defense mechanisms mobilization;
- Attack on the foreign substance;
- Control and elimination of the antigen.
Several factors can cause immunity to decrease, making the body more susceptible to infections and indifferent to some treatments. But, what few people know is that stress and anxiety are important factors in the math that explains the weakening of the immune system.
This is because stress, initially, also works as a defense mechanism of the organism, since it prepares us for threatening or challenging situations. The problem is when stress becomes frequent and still aligns with anxiety. The encounter between the two immediately impacts the body. Check out some signs that may indicate that your immunity is not doing very well:
- Excessive physical tiredness;
- Headaches and muscle aches regularly;
- Sleep disorders;
- Recurrent infections;
- Eyes often dry;
- Nausea and vomiting;
- Red or white spots on the skin;
- Sharp hair loss.
How to strengthen immunity
It’s important to remember that there’s no guaranteed way to avoid getting sick, with a cold, flu or virus, but supporting your immune system is a great place to start. So here are some tips on what to do to get your body ready to fight invaders that can harm your day to day.
1. Healthy eating
Some foods have nutrients with the ability to eliminate toxins and strengthen muscle, joint and bone structures. Whenever possible, avoid processed foods as they have low nutritional values. Give preference to the consumption of fruits, vegetables, roots, oilseeds, meat and eggs. Some nutrients and foods that support healthy immunity include:
- Garlic, turmeric root, ginger root
- Mushrooms – shiitake, maitake, reishi, enoki, or oyster
- Active omega-3 fatty acids (EPA + DHA), found in salmon, tuna, and other cold-water fish
- Zinc-rich foods, like oysters, crab, grass-fed lean meats and poultry, and chickpeas
- Selenium-rich foods, such as broccoli, sardines, tuna, Brazil nuts, and barley
- Vitamin C-rich foods, like guavas, kiwis, bell peppers, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, oranges, papaya, broccoli, pineapple, cantaloupe, mango, tomato, kale, and snow peas
- Vitamin E-rich foods, including sunflower seeds, almonds, avocados, hazelnuts, spinach, Swiss chard, butternut squash, kiwis, broccoli, and rainbow trout.
- Sleep quality
Good sleep stimulates the immune system, while sleep deprivation can depress your immunity. While minimal required levels of sleep do vary, studies indicate that adults should try to get an average of 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Those with a compromised immune system should get even more sleep.
3. Increase Vitamin D
Vitamin D is crucial for healthy immune regulation and inflammatory response. Failure to get enough vitamin D can lead to health problems and other mental and physical difficulties. If you aren’t getting 10 to 30 minutes of direct sunlight each day, supplementing with at least 2000 IU of vitamin D3 is a good idea.
4. Practice physical exercise
As we always say, the regular practice of physical activities brings several benefits to the body and the mind. Among them, reducing stress, improving cardiorespiratory capacity and stimulating the production of white blood cells (T lymphocytes).
Getting at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity daily will increase your blood circulation and can help strengthen your immune system. The increase in circulation improves delivery of nutrients to your bone marrow, spleen and other organs of immunity. Better circulation also helps clear waste products from the body and transport hormones that keep the immune system alert and active.
5. Stay hydrated
Hydration is key to the functioning of all our organs including those of the immune system. Every organ system in the body needs adequate hydration to function properly. Water helps cleanse the body and remove toxins. By keeping your body systems well-hydrated, you allow them to work optimally so they can maintain healthy immunity.
So, are we going to get ready for winter with immunity up there? Start today with small routine changes and reap the results in a short time. Your body and mind will thank you!
See you on the mats,
Gracie Humaita Sydney.
by Fernanda Monteiro.