7 Tips To Boost Your Immune System
Patrick Mulligan | 6th November 2020
At Compass Physio we pride ourselves on being here for you during the good times and the bad.
Now more than ever it is crucial to look after yourself as well as your immune system to ensure it can fight off infections.
Below are a few tips and ways that could make all the difference during this tough time.
Firstly, here are some interesting facts about your immune system:
The immune system is a complex fighting system powered by five liters of blood and lymph. Lymph is a clear and colorless liquid that passes throughout the tissues of the body. Together, these two fluids transport all the elements of the immune system so they can do their jobs.
Your body creates new antibodies whenever it’s infected with a new antigen. If the same antigen infects you a second time, your body can quickly make copies of the corresponding antibody to destroy it.
Your immune system is ready for anything you can throw at it. But it can only handle so much. Stress has a significant effect on your immune system. If a person is chronically stressed, stress hormones can affect the way the body functions over time and increases your risk of health problems.
The saying goes that laughter is the best medicine, and there’s truth to that. Laughter releases dopamine and other feel-good chemicals in the brain, all of which can help decrease stress. Twenty minutes of laughter a day may not keep the doctor away, but it can help keep your immune system working properly.
Ways to help your Immune System:
Most of us know the benefits of exercise for our hearts, waistlines, muscles and bones. However, less are aware of how it impacts our immune system, especially as we get older.
Unfortunately as we age our production of antibodies slows down making us more susceptible to infections and the flu etc.
However, recent studies have shown that partaking in moderate to vigorous exercise helps us to not only keep generating a high level of cells to fight off infections, it also reduces the risk of upper respiratory tract infections such as the common cold!
Sleep is so important for our immune system. Research have shown that infection fighting cells in those aged 65 + who sleep for less than 6hours a night are less effective in dealing with invading infections than those who sleep more. Sleep deprivation also leaves us open to colds and flu.
Our guts contain trillions of cells that play a vital role in our immune system. For example, they produce T cells, which help to trigger immune responses and prevent autoimmune diseases. Having a low-fat, high-fibre diet with plenty of vegetables promotes a broad range of gut bugs and boosts our levels of beneficial bacteria. Studies have shown that a varied diet is better for your good bacteria, which is, in turn better for your immune function. So eat those greens!
Good Bacteria :
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for you, especially your digestive system. We usually think of these as germs that cause diseases. But your body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are often called “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy. You can find probiotics in supplements and some foods, like yogurt and doctors often suggest them to help with digestive problems.
How Do They Work :
Researchers are trying to figure out exactly how probiotics work. But it is understood that when you lose “good” bacteria in your body, for example after you take antibiotics, probiotics can help replace them. As well as that, they can help balance your “good” and “bad” bacteria to keep your body working the way it should.
As if a hangover wasn’t bad enough but drinking to excess also reduces our levels of white blood cells, which combat infections and cancer, for up to 5hours after peak intoxication! Heavy drinking has also been found to disrupt our ability to fight infection by making our immune system less active and slower compared to when sober.
Smokers are more prone to inflammatory diseases and infections such as pneumonia and the flu compared to non-smokers. Research suggests this may be due to nicotine reducing the ability of white blood cells to kill harmful microbes. Smokers also have less good bacteria and more pathogens in the upper part of the throat behind the nose, further increasing their risk of infection.
Our bodies naturally produce vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D helps to keep our immune systems in balance by promoting the development of cells that prevent the autoimmune responses seen in conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Vitamin D is also used to help kill harmful bacteria, and supports our defences against colds and flu. A fair-skinned person only needs about 10 minutes on a sunny day to get all the vitamin D they need. Remember some sun is good, but you need to protect your skin when you plan to spend time outside.
How Can Physiotherapy Help?
If you are finding it hard to complete regular exercises due to pain, fatigue or simply time schedules speak to us at Compass Physio.
Exercise is for everybody. At Compass physio we will complete a full physical assessment and will help identify any possible underlying causes that may limit your exercise regime.
Our chartered physiotherapists will help you to build strength and strategies which will help tackle any problem.
At Compass physio we will help you succeed and reach your goals.
You can also email any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Paddy Mulligan – MISCP Chartered Physiotherapist Compass Physio