Strengthen your immune defenses for winter
Our immune system is not having an easy time of it again this winter. Flu, colds and new types of viruses are challenging our defenses. With these 6 tips you can strengthen your immune system.
A strengthened immune system usually copes well with attacks from the environment. If it is weakened, it is easy for harmful substances, toxins, viruses and bacteria from outside to invade the body. People with weak immune systems are therefore more susceptible to infections and colds. The human immune system is divided into innate and acquired. Lymphocytes play an important role in immune defense. Specifically, the so-called B cells and T cells. B lymphocytes develop antibodies against bacteria and viruses. They can even recognize the respective germ at a later time by developing memory cells. T lymphocytes are proactive and kill pathogens and support immune cells. The older we get the less B and T cells our body makes. A healthy lifestyle and diet can help slow the steady decline. What else can you do to strengthen your immune system? 6 simple tips to help your body fight bacteria and viruses faster!
1. vitamin D
Vitamins cannot be produced at all or only insufficiently in our body. For this reason, the chemical compounds must be regularly supplied from the outside, e.g. through food. Vitamin D is a very special vitamin, because it is produced by the body's own synthesis, with the help of sunlight, in the skin. In the process, cholesterol is converted into provitamin D. Vitamin D supports the normal functions of the immune system on a large scale, for example by strengthening the T-cells mentioned above. A deficiency of vitamin D weakens the immune defense. Especially in the dark season, you should go out in the sun 3 to 4 times a week for about 30 minutes. If this is too time-consuming for you, you can also supply your body with vitamin D in the form of high-quality supplements.
2. avoid stress and get enough sleep
Stressful situations that last for an extended period of time can have negative effects on our health. No matter if it is stress at work, in the family or repressing traumatic events. In an acute stress situation, the body uses all its energy to fight it. Because stress means for him it lurks great danger. Especially the T-cells are stressed and the immune defense is weakened. In addition, enormous stress demands the consumption of more vitamin C, which in turn can lead to a deficiency. Sleep also influences the T-cells and the immune defense. The more you sleep and the more regular your sleep is, the better for your health.
So in your daily life try to:
1. avoid permanent stress
2. improve sleep with:
- Fixed sleep-wake times
- reduce caffeine
- Do not eat too late before sleep
- Avoid smartphone and laptop lights before going to bed.
3. healthy diet
A varied balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables is crucial to a healthy lifestyle. The gut is home to about 70 percent of all immune cells, so it's even more important to feed it fiber-rich foods and promote the diversity of the microbiome.
Tips for a strong immune system:
- Eata mainly plant-based diet
- Foods with bitter substances such as arugula, chicory,
artichokes, Brussels sprouts, savoy cabbage, coriander, sage, dandelion
Pre- and probiotics - certain vegetables, kombucha,
sauerkraut, yogurt, water kefir
- Drink enough water - 30 ml of fluid per kilogram
of body weight per day
- Avoid fast food
- Healthy fats and proteins
- Rice, bread, pasta in the wholemeal variety
- Avoid too much salt and make more use of spices such as turmeric and ginger
4. moderate sport
Regular exercise in the form of light physical activities also strengthens the immune system. Here, it is important to pay attention to the type and duration of exercise. Too much physical activity can actually put a strain on the immune system. Adrenaline is released during sport. This leads to active defense cells that multiply more quickly. White blood cells and lymphocytes are then present in high numbers in the blood. When the adrenaline drops again after sport, the activated defense cells also drop. However, this is not bad at all, because the short-term activation alone helps the cells to act faster in a real emergency and to react to bacteria and viruses.
We recommend endurance sports such as light jogging, swimming or cycling. But even a relaxing yoga or Pilates session activates the immune cells.
5. vitamin C
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is an essential vitamin in actively supporting the immune system. Our body cannot produce the vitamin on its own and must get it from food. An adult person should consume about 100 mg of vitamin C a day with food. This is roughly equivalent to 100 g of raw broccoli. Vitamin C is actively involved in the defense against bacteria, viruses and other pathogens. It enriches leukocytes and activates T-cells.
Vitamin C is present in high form in various vegetables, for example:
- Red peppers
- Brussels sprouts
- Red cabbage
Vegetables should only be cooked briefly so that the vitamins are not destroyed by the heat.
6. sauna and alternating baths
Regular saunas or alternating showers can help to train the immune system. Above all, the recovery effect and the resulting avoidance of stress can help the body to be prepared for demanding times.
Thanks for reading!