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Dietary supplements, changes in diet or lifestyle, other than self-isolation and good hygiene practices, can not protect against infection with COVID-19 and other dangerous viruses. We tell you how to boost immunity for an adult – these methods will help you not get sick and recover faster.

In addition to this dangerous virus, there are many other infections that the body needs to fight no less effectively. These simple tips will boost your immune system to help you fight diseases – both viral and microbial.

The function of the immune system: what is important to know

The whole body, including the immune system, works with energy from the food you eat. That’s why it is so important to eat right, as well as make positive lifestyle changes to promote health and boost the immune system, which protects the body from infectious diseases, inflammation and even cancer. To boost immunity, many turn to folk remedies, but you need to start with basic health indicators.

Active and coordinated work of all parts of the system protects the body from potentially harmful pathogens (bacteria and viruses) and reduces damage from non-infectious effects (sunburn, wounds or cancer).

To better protect the body from aggressive agents, every component of the immune system must function exactly according to the plan of nature. To help her work as productively as possible, it is important to follow some recommendations. These methods also answer the question of how to increase immunity after an illness.

1. Choose the healthiest food

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The nutrients you get from food, especially plant foods (fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices), are essential for the proper functioning of your immune system. Many plant foods also have mild antiviral and antimicrobial properties that help fight infections.

According to a review published in June 2017 in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, cloves, oregano, thyme, cinnamon and cumin contain antiviral and antimicrobial ingredients. Prevent the growth of food spoilage bacteria: Bacillus subtilis and Pseudomonas fluorescens, harmful fungi Aspergillus flavus and antibiotic resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

  • Zinc, folic acid, iron, selenium, copper and vitamins A, C, E, B6 and B12, which you get from food, are nutrients that the immune system needs to function actively. Each plays a unique role in supporting the functioning of the immune system.

  • For example, vitamin C deficiency increases the chance of catching a cold. Our body does not produce this important, water-soluble vitamin on its own, so we need to get it from our diet. Citrus fruits, kiwis, red peppers and the cruciferous vegetable family are useful.

  • Protein is essential for the health of the immune system. Protein amino acids help build and maintain immune system cells, while a deficiency of macronutrients can reduce the body’s ability to fight infections.

  • A diet that supports immune health includes plenty of plant-based foods and protein. Add fruits and vegetables to soups and stews, smoothies and salads or eat them as snacks.

  • Carrots, broccoli, spinach, red peppers, apricots, citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits, tangerines) and strawberries are excellent sources of vitamins A and C. Seeds and nuts provide the protein, E and B protein. zinc needed to make new immune cells. Additional sources of protein and zinc include seafood, lean meats and poultry.

Check your stress levels

In a 2015 study in the Current Opinion in Psychology, researchers observed that prolonged stress leads to chronic elevated levels of the steroid hormone cortisol. The body needs stress hormones during the short-term effort when it reacts in a fighting or flight manner.

Cortisol slows down the immune system’s response before the stressful event is over so that the body can respond properly. However, when its level is constantly high, it blocks the immune system and protects the body less from possible threats from viruses and bacteria.

There are many effective ways to reduce stress: yoga, outdoor recreation, sports, pets or hobbies. Try to make time for at least one activity each day. Tight schedule; Start small. Take five minutes to relax and unwind and increase these intervals as much as possible.

3. Pay attention to sleep

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A way to boost immunity after antibiotics. The body repairs itself during sleep, repairs cellular damage and fights infections, making a good night’s rest essential for a healthy immune response. Sleep is the time when your body produces and distributes key immune factors:

  • cytokines (a type of protein that suppresses or promotes inflammation),
  • T cells (a type of white blood cell that regulates the immune response),
  • interleukin-12 (pro-inflammatory cytokine).

When you do not get enough sleep, the immune system does not have time to synthesize the necessary factors, making it less active against harmful invaders and increasing the chance of infection.

A study published in the July-August 2017 issue of Behavioral Sleep Medicine found that healthy young adults with insomnia are more susceptible to the flu even after vaccination than those who sleep well.

Sleep disturbance also increases cortisol levels. As a result, the immune system weakens, reducing the reserve for fighting or recovering from illness.

Adults need at least seven hours of sleep a night. To ensure quality sleep, turn off the electronics two to three hours before bedtime, avoid worrying, watching tragic news and worries before bedtime.

4. Regular exercise

Regular physical activity (outdoors when possible) reduces the risk of chronic diseases (obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease) as well as viral and bacterial infections. Exercise increases the release of endorphins (a group of hormones that reduce pain and create feelings of pleasure) and is a great way to deal with stress.

People who are more active are less likely to develop acute illnesses (colds, flu, SARS) and chronic illnesses (cancer and type 2 diabetes). Studies examining the effect of exercise on the body at the cellular level show that regular physical activity makes the immune system more alert, dispersing immune system cells throughout the body to look for damaged or infected cells.

Adults should engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (walking, running, or cycling) or 75 minutes of high-intensity aerobic exercise (such as running) per week. Strengthening training is required twice a week.

Exercising outdoors is even more beneficial. Exercise in nature supports mood, lowers blood pressure, reduces inflammation and stimulates the activity of immune cells. Sunlight increases the level of vitamin D in the body, which strengthens the immune system.

5. Keep alcohol to a minimum

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Before using immune boosters, stop drinking alcohol – it suppresses the function of the immune system.

When you drink a lot of alcohol, the body is very busy trying to get rid of toxic metabolites and the immune system slows down.

According to a review published in the journal Alcohol Research in 2015, high alcohol consumption reduces your body’s ability to fight infections and slows down recovery time. People who drink a lot of alcohol are more likely to develop pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, alcoholic liver disease and certain types of cancer.

6. Quit smoking

Like alcohol, traditional smoking, vaporizing or e-cigarettes negatively affect the immune system. Any toxin can endanger the functioning of the immune system.

Chemicals released in cigarette smoke – carbon monoxide, nicotine, nitrogen oxides and cadmium – interfere with the growth and function of immune system cells (cytokines, T cells and B cells).

Smoking also worsens the course and severity of viral and bacterial infections (especially lung disease: pneumonia, influenza, and tuberculosis), postoperative inflammation, and rheumatoid arthritis (an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks).

7. Treat Chronic Pathologies

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Asthma, heart disease and diabetes can affect the immune system and increase the risk of infections. If people with type 2 diabetes do not control their blood sugar levels, this leads to a low-grade chronic inflammatory response that weakens the body’s defense system.

People with asthma are more likely to get the flu and even die from it, they are more likely to have severe pneumonia and bronchitis.

What boosts human immunity is the treatment of chronic diseases, releasing more reserves to fight infection. Therefore, do not forget to take medication, visit a doctor and healthy habits that will not allow the aggravation of diseases.

Add to that the observance of basic hygiene rules, the fight against overweight and communication with loved ones, friends and family – this strengthens immunity.

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