Natural Ways to Boost the Immune System

Have you ever wondered why we don’t fall sick all that often even though there are one million bacteria on average per square centimeter (cm²) on our skin?

It is because of the defense provided to our bodies by our immune systems.

A strong immune system fights against all kinds of bacteria, infections and viruses and keeps us healthy and safe from many diseases. Thus our immune systems are the basis of our good health.

A weak immune system means that we will fall ill sooner to all kinds of diseases and therefore it is important to take steps to keep our immune systems functioning properly.

Healthy ways to strengthen your immune system

That is why in this article, we are going to tell you 15 natural ways to boost the immune system.

Let’s get straight into it.

#1. Get Sufficient Sleep- 

Several studies have proved that lack of sufficient sleep weakens our immune system and so you should ensure you get at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep everyday.

Those who do not get enough sleep are more likely to fall ill after getting exposed to viruses and proper sleep also affects the recovery period.

Cytokines are proteins whose production is increased when you have inflammation, stress or an infection. They are an important part of the immune system.

Not getting enough sleep that reduces the production of these protective cytokines.

The levels of antibodies and T-cells which fight infection also fall during periods when you do not get sufficient sleep.

#2. Make Sure You Get Your A-B-C-D-Es- 

The famous saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” might be true after all because eating foods rich in certain vitamins can help boost immune system and keep it functioning healthily.

Vitamin C is one of the biggest boosters of the immune system and the lack of it can cause several diseases like Scurvy. You can get Vitamin C in citrus fruits like oranges and also foods like strawberries, spinach, kale, broccoli, grapefruits and tangerines. The vitamin is found in so many foods that it is usually not necessary to take a supplement for it.

Vitamin B6 and Vitamin E are also important in maintaining the health of the immune system.

You can take a multi-vitamin supplement on the advice of your doctor but it is better to get it naturally from foods as you will also get proper nutrition doing so.

#3. Have a Balanced Diet- 

Having a balanced diet which includes a lot of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds will give your body all the nutrition that it needs thus boosting your immune system.

Have a lot of fresh green vegetables and brightly colored food. Kiwi fruit and Red Bell Peppers have Vitamin C and will keep your tissues and cells healthy so that your body will be able to defend itself against colds and flu.

#4. Use Spices in Your Cooking- 

Spices can make your cooking tasty but did you know that they can also improve the strength of your immune system?

Ginger is great for your health. It has chemicals called sesquiterpenes which fight the viruses which cause the common cold.

It also inhibits salmonella viruses. Ginger has gingerol which fights inflammation. It is also an antioxidant.

#5. Exercise Regularly- 

Just like a healthy diet can help your immune system, regular exercise also can do the same by leading to an overall good health.

Exercise leads to good circulation and causes the proteins and cells of the immune system to move around the body more easily just letting them work more effectively.

#6. Moderate Your Alcohol Intake- 

Research has shown that excess alcohol intake harms the immune system and its pathways in complicated and paradoxical ways thus impairing our body’s capacity to fight infection.

However, a mild to moderate intake of alcohol has been shown to be beneficial to overall health and immunity.Find more –

#7. Stop the Habit of Smoking- 

Smoking is a habit which can cost you your life and not just by causing cancer.

Smoking impairs the immune system. It has a negative effect on both innate and adaptive immunity and can harm the body by increasing the likelihood of developing pathogenic or harmful immune responses and reducing the effectiveness of the immune system’s defences.

#8. Eat Yoghurt

A lot of our gut flora or bacteria living in our gut are useful. They take part in the production of essential vitamins like Vitamin B and Vitamin K.

Our gut flora also protects us from other microorganisms and plays a vital role in our immune systems by providing a barrier effect.

Yoghurt can help replenish your gut with good bacteria and help boost the immune system naturally.

A study has shown that yoghurt can help in enhancing resistance to infection and can even aid in recovering from it.

#9. Consume Mushrooms!- 

Mushrooms are mother nature’s way of breaking down organic matter and converting it to fertile soil.

They are also a superfood rich in minerals and essential nutrients.

Mushrooms contain amazingly effective compounds which boost up your immune system and lead to good health. Being immune powerhouses, they make the immune system strong when it is weak and help reduce autoimmune diseases.

The mushrooms which are best for the immune system are-

  • A Turkey Tail Mushroom- This mushroom has compounds called beta-glucans which are bioactive. These increase the functions of macrophages and natural killer cells- two kinds of cells important to the immune system. Find –
  • Tremella Mushrooms- These Vitamin D and dietary fibre rich mushrooms help combat infections and are traditionally used as a tonic. Read more –
  • Maitake and Shiitake mushrooms- Maitake mushrooms are also called “Hen of the woods” because they resemble a seated hen’s fluffy tail feathers. These mushrooms also have beta-glucans. Likewise, Shiitake mushrooms have been proven to improve gut immunity and overall immune health.

#10. Splurge On a Hot and Relaxing Bath- 

Having a nice and relaxing bath with salts, bubbles and scented candles can help boost your immune system up by causing you to relax and reduce your stress levels.

It will also help you sleep better and as we have already discussed, sleep helps bolster the immune system.

#11. Consider Herbal Remedies- 

Although studies are still going on as to whether herbal remedies like ginseng and Echinacea directly help the immune system, there is no doubt that they reduce stress, help you relax and sleep efficiently. Thus they indirectly help to strengthen the immune system.

You can make an Echinacea tincture to fight respiratory infections.

#12. Go Outside and Get Enough Sunlight- 

Staying indoors for longer periods especially during winters might contribute to us falling ill as we come in contact with people for a longer time.

Taking walks in sunlight for brief durations of 10 to 15 minutes will ensure that your body produces enough Vitamin D.

Other research done by Georgetown University Medical Centre has shown that sunlight energizes T Cells that are central to immunity.

Both helper and killer T Cells become faster when exposed to sunlight.

#13. Try To Reduce Your Stress Levels-

You already know that too much stress is not good for you but do you know that stress harms your immune system too?

Stress reduces the immune system’s capacity to combat antigens and leaves us open to infections

Corticosteroids which are stress hormones reduce the immune system’s effectiveness by causing the number of lymphocytes to fall. Stress might also lead a person to wrong coping mechanisms like smoking or overeating and this might affect the immune system.

#14. Laugh

They say that laughter is the best medicine and this might be true.

Laughter has been shown to boost both the immune system and your mood and increases the levels of antibodies and white blood cells found in our blood.

This directly affects the immune system and helps kill bacteria and viruses. It also raises the antibodies found in mucous membranes.

#15. Sing- 

A study of a German choir showed that laughter activated the spleen of the participants.

Thus Singing boosts the levels of antibodies in the blood and thus makes the immune system strong.

These were our 15 natural ways to boost the immune system.

We might have everything in life but if we don’t have health, then we cannot enjoy it.

We hope you enjoyed reading and we wish you a healthy life ahead.

Authors Bio – Mitravinda is a Nutritionist at DietChart with a doctoral degree in Food Science and Nutrition. She is a teacher, researcher and author. Her passion for the subject prompted her to start writing blogs on various nutrition-related topics such as high protein vegetarian foods, diet chart for weight loss, diet chart for weight loss in 7 days, how to avoid hair fall etc. Through her blogs, she wishes to help people gain a deeper understanding about the relationship between food, nutrition, lifestyle and health.