Laugh, Move, and Eat Your Way to a Stronger Immune System
Prevention is always better than intervention, so with the cold season just around the corner, take a few moments to review your habits for good immune health.
They say laughter is the best medicine. When you laugh, every cell in your body laughs too. That’s because each cell in your body houses receptor sites for the substance released when you are happy. Your sense of happiness and wellbeing will help shield off those nasty bugs, while stress can have the opposite effect.
According to the Mayo Clinic, hearty guffaws stimulate your organs by increasing your intake of oxygen, relieve your stress responses, and aid circulation, helping your muscles relax.
Too much of the stress-induced hormone cortisol running around in your body actually lowers the body’s immune response, thus making it more vulnerable to ill health. So as the weather gets chillier, remember to take time to read that hilarious book or turn on your favorite comedy.
Regular exercise can boost your immune system in more ways than one. The immune system relies heavily on the functioning of the lymphatic system, a circulatory system that carries fluids throughout the body and plays a major role in maintaining immunity.
Fluids within the lymphatic system move around the body collecting waste materials and toxins for disposal, detoxifying the body to help keep it in tip-top shape. When the lymphatic system is not functioning well, a whole range of illnesses can develop. While involuntary contraction and relaxation of the muscles surrounding the lymph channels guide the fluid, body movement also plays a role in the efficiency of the flow.
Regular exercise not only helps cleanse the body, but also boosts your mood with the extra release of natural endorphins into the bloodstream. So a little exercise can clear your body and mind of the negative substances that slow you down unnecessarily. As little as 30 minutes of brisk walking a day will help.
Help feed your immune system by incorporating the following foods into your diet.
Red, orange, and yellow colored fruits, such as carrots and red pumpkins are rich in beta-carotene, which helps the body protect itself against infections.
Vitamin E-rich foods like almonds, sunflower seeds, and wheat germ oil can also help in fighting off infection.
With their vitamin C power, oranges, lemons, and guavas will enhance the performance of your white blood cells. boosting immune system functioning.
Studies have found that a diet low in folic acid inhibits the body from making enough antibodies with infection-fighting properties, so be sure to make space for lots of leafy green vegetables on your plate.
A mineral essential to boosting the protective action of the white blood cells is zinc. It also plays a vital role in destroying foreign organisms within the body. Crab, oysters, red meats, whole grains, and beans are all naturally rich in zinc.
And to wash all this down, finish your meal with some green tea. Known as a potent source of polyphenol antioxidants, particularly catechins, green tea has cold- and flu-fighting powers.
But be sure to leave the milk in the fridge because when milk proteins bind with catechins, all antioxidant properties are lost.