Why Boosting Your Immune System is Essential to Healthy Living
Why Boosting Your Immune System is Essential to Healthy Living
by Jackie Edwards

Salmon Salad plate

Could eating a mushroom a day keep the doctor away? Will staying active benefit your immunity, even if you are in isolation? These questions have been answered affirmatively by scientists and health professionals, who have concluded that the lifestyle choices we make and the food and supplements we take have an effect on our health and wellbeing. For instance, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology found that fish oil (rich in DHA and EPA) can significantly improve the immunity by enhancing B-cell (a white blood cell) activity. Fish oil is just one of many nutrients that can make a difference to how you think and feel. Although you should always discuss a change of diet, a new or more intense exercise regime, and supplementation with your doctor, these are just some reasons why the change you are thinking of making to your lifestyle could very well be worth it.

A Strong Immune System Protects Your Body against Various Types of Disease

Immune system issues range in scope and nature from temporary acquired immune deficiencies (caused, e.g., by taking certain medications) to overactive immune systems (such as occurs in asthma, eczema, and food allergies). Immunity-related problems can cause other issues too— for instance, with your oral health. Something as common as inflamed or irritated gums (also known as gingivitis) can occur in people with weakened immune systems. These include people battling HIV and diabetes. Because immune deficiency or overactive immune systems can affect so many aspects of your health, it is important to make the right choices when it comes to food, exercise, and, if required, supplementation.

Known Immunity Boosters

When selecting a supplement or food to consume, it is important to opt for proven substances that are more than just a placebo. One immunity powerhouse is the Shiitake mushroom, found by University of Florida researchers to boost immunity in those who consumed it every day for four weeks. This food not only enhances the immune system itself, but also keeps inflammation at bay. Other foods and supplements that have shown promise include fiber-rich foods like apples, and inflammation-fighting foods and supplements like green tea, turmeric, and acai berries. Like Shiitake mushrooms, all these also keep inflammation at bay.

Exercise and Stress Reduction

Exercise can also fortify the immune system — even against certain cancers, say scientists from the American Physiological Society. It can also improve the prognosis of cancer patients and reduce the risk of recurrence. Lab studies also indicate that moderate exercise can potentially reduce the mortality rate caused by the influenza bug. It can also keep stress at bay, which is key to a good immune system. This is because stress affects the balance of healthy bacteria in your gut, thereby altering your immune response.

Boosting your immunity is a multifaceted approach that begins by making healthy lifestyle choices. These include consuming a healthy diet that is rich in fiber and in exercising regularly. It is also important to battle stress proactively, since stress can affect the delicate gut bacteria, thus making the body more vulnerable to disease.

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