BY  CHIOMA OBINNA

Undoubtedly, a strong immune system is not just your body’s first line of defense. It is your body’s best line of defense. Your immune system is a complex network of cells, tissues, and organs designed to defend you against germs, viruses, and other form of body toxins. As microbial invasions attempt to pass through your natural barriers, your immune system alerts your body’s defenses and calls to action the natural processes that keep you safe and healthy.

Some nutrients that may be especially important for immune system health include selenium, vitamins A, C, D, and E, zinc, and magnesium.

However, like nature, your body has the natural ability to protect and heal itself. This happens through your immune system. Research shows a healthy immune system helps prevent most common illnesses. However, stress, poor diet, lack of sleep and even medications can reduce your immune system’s ability to work at its best. Experts say strengthening your immune system increases your ability to defend from invasive microbes and strengthens your body’s response to pathogens. Also, it shortens infection times and allows for quick healing, enhances vitality and instills a feeling of well-being.

In addition, the immune system’s effectiveness increases from birth until your teenage years, but then it undergoes a subtle decline throughout the rest of your life. This decline leads to impairment in coping with infectious agents that can cause disease and illness.

Here are 12 ways to strengthen your immune system:

Enjoy regular sex: It turns out that sex doesn’t just make you feel good, it’s good for you, too. Studies have shown that a good sex life can be a boost to health.

Keep a positive attitude: Positive thoughts can give your immune system a healthy boost. To increase your optimism, take time to savor the things you enjoy, look for the silver lining in difficult situations, and try not to dwell on negative thoughts.

Reduce your stress: Some stress can be a good thing. It’s your body’s way of preparing for a challenge, such as giving a presentation.

Reduce your stress by avoiding whatever stressors you can. Take the time to relax and do things you enjoy.

Have a laugh: A good belly laugh might be good for you. While there’s some evidence that laughter may help boost our immune system, overall research results have been mixed. A group of researchers who looked at several studies about laughter and immune function found that people who laughed out loud at funny videos had higher immune function after watching the video.

Get a pet: There is a reason dogs are called “man’s best friend.” Dogs and other pets can offer us companionship, exercise, and even good health.

Build a strong social network: We all know friends are important, but strong social ties can also have a big effect on your health. A recent study found that people with strong relationships were 50 per cent more likely to survive than those with poor social ties.

Eat your antioxidants: Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can help you get a healthy dose of antioxidants.

Take your vitamins: If you have a feeling your diet is lacking, consider taking a multivitamin. A daily multivitamin will help ensure that your body is getting all of the building blocks for a healthy immune system.

Avoid empty calories: Processed foods such as fast foods, snack foods, candy, and soda don’t provide much in the way of vitamins, fiber, or other nutrients.

Consider herbs and supplements: Many people take herbs or supplements to improve their overall health. Some supplements have been shown to affect the immune system.

Get a good night sleep: Without enough sleep, your immune system may not have the resources it needs to fight off illness.

Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.