Along with diet and exercise, taking an advanced probiotic complex is a great way to maintain the level of health needed to fight off disease and infection. Let’s look at the top tactics you can use to stay healthy by boosting your immune system.
Understand the Importance of a Healthy Immune System
It’s hard to overstate the value of a strong immune system. Your immune system is the body’s first defense against disease, doing constant battle with micro-organisms that can make you sick. But, as we’ve all experienced, germs do breach this natural defense system and cause illness. That’s when the counterattack begins. The immune system is an amazing action/reaction mechanism that strikes back after an injury or an infection hits the body. That rundown feeling you get when you have a cold is a good thing! That’s your body fighting to restore you to a healthy state.
So then, naturally, you want the strongest immune-system response possible, right? Wrong. That’s what many people believe — that the bigger the response from the immune system the better. You just simply overpower the infection with overwhelming force. But, no, while a weak response from your immune system is bad, so too is an overly aggressive response. What you want is balance.
Consider a Probiotic Complex for Balance
A probiotic complex is a great way to help you achieve the balance needed to boost your immune system. Made of natural yeast and/or live bacteria, probiotics are good bacteria that take on bad bacteria to create a healthy equilibrium between the two. While you can find probiotics in some foods, such as yogurt, pickles, and sauerkraut, one of the best ways to get good bacteria is to take probiotic complex supplements, available from a variety of sources including the great new company Hey Nutrition.
It’s also about disease prevention. Evidence published by Harvard Medical School suggests that a probiotic complex may aid with the prevention of urinary tract infections, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease, to name a few preventative benefits. And don’t forget dental health! Probiotics can lower the risk of periodontal disease and decrease the chance of tooth decay.
Make Sure You Have Enough Micronutrients
Other findings published by Harvard show that a deficiency in micronutrients has a negative impact on the immune system. What are micronutrients? As opposed to macronutrients — carbohydrates, fats, and proteins — micronutrients are the minerals and vitamins that your body needs in smaller, but equally important, quantities. There are about 30 essential micronutrients that the body doesn’t produce enough of.
When it comes to maintaining a strong immune system, there are five micronutrients in particular that are key: zinc, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), and vitamin C. You can both take supplements and eat specific foods to get these micronutrients. What foods should you look for? Cereals, chicken, and bananas are among those with vitamin B6, while vitamin E is found in sunflower seeds and peanut butter. Tomatoes and citrus fruits are good sources of Vitamin C. Look to seeds, nuts, and whole wheat for magnesium, and for zinc, you can consider red meat and seafood including crab and lobster.
It’s Time to Lessen the Stress
The world-renowned Cleveland Clinic points out that stress takes a major toll on one’s immune system, triggering the body to release too much of the hormone cortisol. Elevated cortisol levels make it harder for the immune system to combat infection. It’s something most of us know anecdotally — your body feels lousy when in a stressed-out state, be that stress in sudden bursts or continual low levels of constant stress.
So how can you lower your stress levels? Sleep, for one, as getting between seven and eight hours of nightly sleep really helps with stress. Exercise is also good for managing stress; try to get up to 30 minutes of exercise each day, and best if it’s a mix of strength training and cardio. Meditation is another great stress reliever. You don’t have to be a yogi sitting atop a mountain to set aside a few minutes each day for focused breathing, which is proven to reduce anxiety and lower blood pressure.
Adopt an Overall Healthy Lifestyle
You can’t just flip a switch, pop a pill, and take some deep breaths to kick your immune system into high gear. It’s a complex, interconnected system that isn’t even 100% understood by modern science. Managing your health by maintaining a healthy immune system takes a multi-pronged approach. And time.
But it’s never too late to take proactive steps to improve your immune system. So ease off on the fast food in favor of some fruits and vegetables, turn off the late-night TV and get yourself some solid slumber, and make sure you’re maintaining the right bacteria balance with a good probiotic complex.