Now, after Covid, our society has started to open up and we are once again in crowds and in public places. This has been welcomed by many, but it also means an increased risk of contracting respiratory viruses. So it may be a good time to boost your immune system.
The role of our immune system is to protect us from various diseases caused by exposure to bacteria, viruses, fungi and other foreign substances. A poor immune system means that we are easily and frequently infected by diseases.
By boosting your immune system, you can stay alert and healthy, and also recover more quickly from illness when it strikes you.
What is the immune system?
Our immune system is our body’s main protection against infections. Infections can consist of foreign micro-organisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi and more.
The job of the immune system is to find, break down, kill and even store information about these foreign substances. That’s why it’s easier to overcome a virus if we’ve had it before.
Impaired immune system
If you feel you have a weakened immune system, it’s a good idea to do something about it. But how do you know if you have a compromised immune system? These can be signs that your immune system is not as good as it should be:
- Recurrent infections such as urinary tract disorders, various inflammations and digestive problems.
- Ongoing allergies such as pollen and dust.
- Wounds that do not heal or take a long time to heal. This applies to superficial wounds that should heal quickly.
- The flu and colds can be a sign of a lack of sufficient white blood cells.
- Fatigue and weakness. Can be a sign if it happens regularly and for no reason.
- Muscle pain as tension in joints and muscles.
There are things you can do that are good for your immune system and help boost it. Below are tips for doing just that.
Strengthen the immune system food
There are many different good foods for the immune system. A balanced and nutritious diet is the key to strengthening your immune system. The diet should ideally be rich in minerals, antioxidants and vitamins. This is food that strengthens the immune system:
Vitamin C immune system
Carrots, egg yolk and cream are high in vitamin C, as are red peppers and Brussels sprouts. The vitamin is also an antioxidant that helps the body protect the cells in the body. Recommended intake for an adult is about 75 milligrams per day. Keep in mind that Vitamin C in food is heat-sensitive. Food that is reheated several times reduces vitamin C, as does food cooked at too high a temperature.
Vitamin D immune system
Oily fish, such as salmon, tuna and sardines, are high in vitamin D. Edible fat and margarine are also good sources if they are fortified with the vitamin. The vitamin protects against respiratory infections, thus helping to boost the immune system. Vitamin D is also produced when we are out in the sun. By spending a lot of time in the sun during the summer, the body can store vitamin D for the rest of the winter. The recommended intake for an adult with little or no sun exposure is 20 micrograms.
Vitamins immune system
Other minerals, antioxidants and vitamins for the immune system are:
- Vitamin B6: poultry, meat, cheese and pulses.
- Magnesium: almonds, meat, fish and seafood.
- Vitamin A: fatty dairy products, liver, fish, cheese and eggs.
- Zinc: nuts, cheese and meat.
Strengthen the immune system supplements
If you find it difficult to get all these substances into your daily diet, you can also take supplements. Supplements are available in many different shops, just make sure you buy high quality supplements. You should also check beforehand that you are taking supplements that can be combined if you are taking several, so that they do not cancel each other out. An example of this is Vitamin A and Vitamin D.
Increase white blood cells
White blood cells are produced in the bone marrow and help the body protect itself against infections and heal injuries. These can also be measured by blood tests, for example, if a doctor wants to see if you have an ongoing viral infection in your body. Our bodies contain white blood cells that are used as antibodies to fight foreign substances, such as foreign bacteria. An important question then is; how do you get more white blood cells? Vitamin B6 and magnesium support the production of white blood cells. Physical activity is also good for white blood cell production. Just 30 minutes of active movement a day is enough to make a significant difference.
More tips to build up your immune system
Other tips for improving the immune system are:
- Good sleeping habits. Prioritise regular sleep and sufficient hours.
- Stress less. Meditation, yoga, walks in nature are examples that can help you reduce everyday stress.
- Think about your mental health. Here, social relationships play a major role. Hang out and talk a lot with important people around you.
- Stop smoking.
- Drink alcohol in moderation.
Other tips for avoiding illness include washing your hands often and avoiding touching your face, especially your eyes.