These days, it seems like we are all on a budget. However, there are few things as invaluable as our health. Medical care can be expensive, but did you know that there are simpler, cheaper ways to protect your health? In fact, investing in a few small and inexpensive ways to boost your immune system can pay off greatly—both for your wallet, and your wellbeing.
Here are 4 ways for you to boost your immune system without you going broke in the process!
1. Get Some Sleep
As our society becomes busier and busier, sleep is something we commonly sacrifice just to keep up.
However, sleeping less may be counter-productive, since getting enough sleep is crucial for maintaining a healthy immune system.
By sacrificing sleep, you may be subjecting yourself to unwanted downtime from illness—not to mention poorer focus and higher accident susceptibility.
This is because the less we sleep, the fewer immune-boosting T-cells we produce. Additionally, we produce more inflammatory cytokines. This leaves us at a higher risk of contracting illnesses like colds or flu.
The bottom line?
Aim for at least 7-hours of sleep every night to ensure the health of your immune system.
2. Get Some Bacteria
No, we’re not suggesting that you roll around in the dirt.
What we’re referring to is maintaining a healthy level of gut bacteria, which is a key factor in keeping your immune system up and running.
Around 75% of your immune system is within your gut, and insufficient probiotic colonies can lead to unwarranted inflammation or illnesses.
Additionally, a healthy ecosystem of gut bacteria ensures strong epithelial tissues in your digestive tract. This ensures that your body is well guarded against pathogens and other dangerous diseases.
To ensure your gut is healthy and contains balanced levels of bacteria, make sure to consume cultured foods such as yogurt, kefir, or kimchi. These cultures are live microbes, or microorganisms, that act as catalysts during the process of fermentation.
However, do remember to make sure that what you consume is raw, and contains live and active cultures. This ensures its effectiveness.
Additionally, if you’re not a fan of cultured foods, you can choose to consume probiotic supplements. These supplements will help boost your immune system’s health.
So, get your microbes—they’re inexpensive and extremely beneficial!
3. Get Some Exercise
Studies show us that as little as 20 minutes of exercise a day can help keep your immune system strong and healthy.
But how does exercise help?
Simple! By increasing your heart rate, blood pressure and respiratory rate, exercise releases certain hormones, which suppress substances responsible for inflammation.
Additionally, inflammation is one of your immune system’s biggest enemies. Thus, the less inflammation there is, the more your immune system can focus on fighting other illnesses, such as the flu bug.
But for those who aren’t fans of exercise, fret not!
It only takes around 20 minutes of easy to moderate movement each day for you to keep your immune system healthy. This can be as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walking to the store rather than driving.
So get off the couch and get moving!
4. Get Some Sun
Vitamin D plays a key role in your health, with the ability to stimulate certain antimicrobial peptides in your immune system, as well as to trigger genes responsible for maintaining your body’s wellbeing.
However, with our modern day indoor lifestyle, combined with our habit of smearing on sunscreen when we do go out, it is no wonder Vitamin D deficiency has become so common!
Instead of staying indoors all day, aim for 10 – 20 minutes of direct sunshine a day. And yes, this means leaving the sunscreen, long sleeves and wide-brimmed hats inside!
Getting some sun may indeed be beneficial, however, do be careful if you are fairer-skinned. Lighter-skinned people have an elevated risk of sun burning with excessive sun exposure. Additionally, avoiding excessive sun exposure aids in the prevention of skin cancer, which is caused by the exposure of your body to extreme Ultra Violet radiation. Skin cancer can also be invasive, growing across the surface of the skin, or sometimes even growing down through the layers of skin and affecting other parts of the body.
But if you don’t see much of the sun, why not stock up on Vitamin D rich foods?
A few delicious examples include salmon, sardine, and eggs.
However, if you’d rather opt for an inexpensive way of getting your dose of Vitamin D, simply use a supplement!
It’s Your Health
With this unnaturally cold weather upon us, be sure to ensure that your immune system is in tip-top condition. With many ways to boost it for little to no cost, there is no reason for you to fall sick!
Take a walk in the sunshine, eat some fish, and get enough sleep.
Your immune system will definitely thank you!
If you’re interested in learning more about White Blood Cells and your immune system, read on more about it in our biomarker post here!