Your immune system is like the white knight guarding its castle. It’s a protective barrier composed of white blood cells that shields you from viruses and bacteria. The white knight works best with the support from those being protected – so what can you do to strengthen your precious immune system？
1️⃣ Laughter and hanging out with friends 😁😁
This sounds simple enough but many people are victims to stress, making it hard to let go and relax. When you’re stressed your body produces cortisol – a hormone that affects your body’s ability to function. A little cortisol is okay but too much hurts your immune system. Laughter and positive feelings release dopamine and other chemicals to help your brain de-stress and strengthen your immune system.
On top of that, making new friends and spending time with old friends makes your pleasure receptors happy. Hanging out with people and expressing your feelings, rather than locking everything in, helps you to destress as well as strengthen your immune system.
2️⃣ Don’t be too clean 😏😏
Yes, you read that right. Don’t be too clean. The common myth is that all germs are bad and must be kept away from your bodies. However, the truth is that our bodies are naturally filled with tons of good bacteria that keep us healthy by providing us with nutrients to fight bad bacteria. Gut bacteria, for one, helps with digestion and nutrient absorption so that we can prevent bad bacteria from spreading.
The germs outside of your body are just as important. Just as the white knight becomes more adept at overcoming his enemies with practise, your immune system learns to adapt each time we’re being attacked by foreign pathogens. Your body remembers these attacks so the next time these bad bacteria appear, it knows how to protect us better. If your immune system never has the chance to face its enemies, it won’t be able to develop properly and work effectively when you are suddenly faced with a virus.
Of course, we’re not saying you should completely throw away your principles of hygiene and general cleanliness. All we’re saying is that there is no need to be too worried about germs the next time you forget to wash your hands before a meal.
3️⃣ Sleep Sleep Sleep 😴😴
The cells in your body that make up your immune system regenerate every day, with new cells replacing your old ones. In other words, your immune system is ‘reborn’ every day.
This happens because the white blood cells making up your immune system need to be nourished daily to maintain your body’s defence system. Those seven to eight hours of sleep gives your body the chance to do just this. Without sleep, your body becomes more vulnerable to viruses and may lead to increased health risks such as diabetes and obesity in the long term.
So the next time you feel like skimping on some shut-eye, consider your internal white knight and get in those much-needed hours of sleep.
4️⃣ Don’t exercise too much🚫💪🏻
Exercise is important but a study published in the British Journal Sports Medicine found that intense endurance exercises hampered participants’ immune systems by destroying white blood cells and causing whole body inflammation.
However, this is not an excuse to not do exercise. Moving around improves your blood flow by allowing the antibodies and white blood cells in your system to circulate easier. As such, moderate exercise helps get rid of your body’s toxins, increase ‘feel-good’ chemicals and help you sleep better. All this makes your immune system stronger so when given the option of walking or driving, always go for the former.
5️⃣ Improve your skin ✨✨
This might come as a surprise but your skin actually ties in to how your immune system functions. Sweating helps get rid of bodily waste with your skin being your first layer of defence. While your white blood cells act as your white knight, your skin is the castle that the knight strikes from.
Your skin is the largest organ in your body and works as a sturdy barrier against infection. The cells scattered throughout your skin’s layers attack the bad germs that try to invade your body. Its surface creates an unfriendly environment for bad bacteria, helping us defend your body from pesky germs.
Now that you’ve learned about your white knight, think about how you can help defend your body. The white knight is mighty but without support it cannot effectively attack all the bad bacteria. If you feel like your immune system needs a boost, have a go at these tips.
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