The human body is an incredible biological machine that provides a fierce defense against external and internal attacks from a wide range of parasites, toxins and bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microorganisms. Your immune system is made of cells, proteins and organs that act essentially as your body’s military. Its role is to prevent invaders from causing infections that can seriously injure or even kill you.
An Army Always Ready to Respond to Threats
Every person’s immune system starts with an innate or baseline version at birth that features visible and hidden inherited defenses. For example, the skin and mucous membranes represent visible barriers. It also features cells that attack anything not recognized as a normal part of the body. In addition, it detects threats because of proteins known as antibodies that a baby inherits from their mother.
Over time, the immune system learns to recognize new invaders with a child’s exposure to the world. This adaptive or acquired version creates antibodies after each exposure to an unrecognized, new threat. It also adapts as any invading threats biologically change, which is how it’s able to recognize and fight, for example, new virus variants.
A Breakdown in the Chain of Command
This amazing defensive system breaks down if you don’t maintain it and the rest of the body extremely well throughout your life. If this biological army starts to deteriorate, your body might suddenly have more difficulty fighting off attacks. It might have problems handling mild allergies or a brief bout of the common cold.
It can even become injured far more easily by invaders. As a result, you might experience a higher-than-average amount of inflammation that can damage healthy cells and organs. The heat and swelling can cause permanent damage that eventually allows serious illnesses to occur, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
You Can Keep Your Immune System Combat Ready
Medical researchers, doctors and others have discovered that specific actions people take can further damage or improve their immune systems. For example, any stress on the body, whether physical or mental, wears down the body’s defenses. Specific immediate and gradual healthy-body techniques can keep the immune system in tip-top fighting condition. The following list covers the best ways that you can improve your immune system and keep it ready to protect you:
Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
Both overweight and underweight physical conditions can cause harm to the immune system. When a person is obese, their body has more tissues that cause inflammation. As already noted, chronic inflammation can damage healthy cells, including the cells of the immune system. It can act more slowly or fail to function correctly. Extra weight also stresses joints, the cardiovascular system and other areas. It makes a person less healthy overall. Of course, an underweight condition is also harmful. People who aren’t at the appropriate weight based on their gender, height and other factors often don’t have the correct amounts of nutrients necessary to maintain a healthy immune system.
Tip: Speak to a doctor about their recommendations for decreasing or increasing your weight and intake of nutritious foods based on your gender, height, current weight and health history.
Outside of direct physical injuries, few things are more damaging to the body than a stressful situation. The hormones and other chemicals produced by stress can immediately cause harmful inflammation and increased blood and intracranial pressure. Although brief physical reactions to stress are normal, modern living typically causes repeated and prolonged stressful situations. Additionally, your relationships can impact your stress levels. If you’re in a negative relationship, whether at home, school or work, the stress can cause long-term damage. As a result, you might attempt counseling or even end the relationship. When dealing with school or work stresses, you might speak with a teacher or supervisor about making positive changes, such as altering an overpackaged schedule.
Tip: Determine the sources of your stress and then research methods to reduce it. Consider speaking with a counselor or therapist about stressful problems and situations or learn steps for tackling stress.
Get More Sleep
Believe it or not, a poor sleep schedule can cause stress, over- and under-eating and other related problems that harm the immune system. You can protect your health by creating a more balanced, regular sleep schedule and increasing your time to seven or eight hours. Some people who sleep less than recommended by healthcare professionals need to take at least one nap every day, multiple restful breaks away from electronic devices, or reduce their intake of caffeine or alcohol. They sometimes need to change their bedroom by adding blackout curtains to block light pollution or cool air or linens to their routine.
Tip: Consider switching to a less heavy or weighted blanket to sleep better and longer.
Eat a Healthy Diet
A healthy weight and overall body partially result from a healthy diet. Certain foods cause chronic inflammation, high blood pressure, insulin resistance and other negative physical responses. Many modern food options also contain harmful chemicals that can upset your body’s natural functions. According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Key Recommendations from the “Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020–2025” and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Healthy Eating for Healthy Weight web page, people need to reduce their consumption of foods high in added sugars, cholesterol, saturated and trans fats and sodium. They should stick with a balanced diet that includes colorful fruits and vegetables high in minerals vitamins and other nutrients, beans and soy products, protein-rich foods like eggs, lean meats and seafood, and nuts and seeds.
Tip: Talk with your doctor about your daily calorie intake needs and follow their guidance.
Drink Plenty of Water
Your body isn’t made only of tissues. More than 50% of it is water that helps it keep from overheating, provides an outlet for waste removal and even lubricates and protects joints and tissues. The lymphatic system, a critical part of a healthy immune system, needs water. As part of lymphatic fluid, the water keeps tissues healthy, circulates white blood cells that fend off invaders and feeds into systems that remove the remains of harmful invaders, damaged cells and other waste from the body. Scientific bodies currently debate the precise amount of water needed for a person every day. To play it safe, you should consume approximately 11 to 15 cups of water per day sourced from food and drinking water to prevent dehydration that can cause immune system dysfunction. To guarantee you’re getting enough water, the CDC recommends going everywhere with a full water bottle to form a healthy drinking habit.
Tip: Drink water instead of caffeinated or sugary drinks during meals or add fruit juice or a flavor enhancer to water to make it more palatable.
How Antioxidants Boost Immune Response
Lastly, you must add more antioxidants to your diet to keep your immune system healthy. These compounds undo the damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals that increase cellular damage. The immune system produces free radicals during an attack from an invader. They’re one of the primary weapons used by your body’s army to destroy bacteria, fungi, viruses, et cetera, which means you can’t stop them from existing. The main problem is that too many of them can build up during an attack and then damage healthy cells along the way or after combat ends. You can turn off these weapons and prevent damage with antioxidants.
Carbon 60 (C60) is a recently discovered molecule in the atmosphere. It’s considered one of the most powerful antioxidants available. It’s often called a free radical sponge because it works on cellular levels to alleviate oxidative stress. One of the benefits of C60 is that it helps to optimize mitochondrial function and is believed to promote a balanced immune response according to this site.