Understanding your immune system and how to support it is key to a healthy lifestyle. It’s your body’s tool for preventing and limiting infection. The immune system is a complex interconnected network of different organs, cells, and proteins that all work together to defend against disease-causing microorganisms. A strong immune system allows the body to function properly: it helps prevent and fight off infections and viruses. When the immune system is weakened or compromised, you’ll be more susceptible to disease and illness. This article will explore the signs of a weakened immune system and our favorite immune superheroes to include in your diet to boost your immunity!
Signs of a Weakened Immune System
We tend to only think about a weakened immune system when we come down with a cold. While an infection or virus is a sign of a weakened immune system, there are other signs that commonly are missed. Recognizing these signs is the first step to strengthening the immune system and preventing you from getting sick.
If your stress levels are high, you might notice you tend to get sick after an emotional situation in your personal life, or after completing a grueling project at work. Long-term internal and external stress weakens the responses of your immune system, decreasing the body’s lymphocytes, the white blood cells that fight infection, causing your body to be at risk for infection.
Frequent gas, constipation, or diarrhea could be a sign that your immune system is compromised. The naturally occurring bacterium in your gut is important because it supports the immune system. About 70 percent of your immune system is in your gut! Low amounts of these beneficial bacteria weaken your immune system and can even leave you at risk of chronic inflammation and autoimmune disorders. Improve your gut health with Options Probiotics.
Do you constantly feel tired even when you’re getting enough sleep? This exhaustion is not something to ignore, it could be your immune system trying to tell you something. When your immune system struggles, so do your energy levels. Your body will save energy to fuel your immune system so it can fight off infection, leaving you feeling depleted of energy.
Slow to Heal Wounds
After a burn, cut, or scrape, your body works to protect and recover the wound by sending nutrient-rich blood to the injury to regenerate new skin. This healing process cannot happen without healthy immune cells. If your wounds linger longer than normal and are slow to heal, it could mean your immune system is weakened.
Six Immune Superheroes
It’s always important to eat a variety of colorful foods to be sure you are getting the essential vitamins your body needs to function properly and to support your weight loss goals. Most nutrient-dense foods help support your immunity, but these six immune superheroes will effectively boost your immune system. Read on to see how you can incorporate these vitamin and mineral-rich foods into your diet or take as supplementation.
Vitamin A increases white blood cell production, supports T-cell function (a type of white blood cell essential for immunity), and protects against infections. Red peppers, spinach, sweet potatoes, squash, dairy, and liver are all foods rich in vitamin A.
Vitamin D for immune function is crucial, as it helps to decrease the severity of autoimmunity and enables the body to effectively fight viruses by activating T-cells. You can obtain Vitamin D from a variety of sources, including natural sunlight, grass-fed butter, fatty fish, egg yolks, and fortified dairy products. If you are not getting enough Vitamin D from these sources, talk to your primary care physician about adding a daily Vitamin D supplement to your routine.
The benefits of vitamin C are numerous. It is often called the “cold buster” due to its antibacterial and antiviral properties. Vitamin C also enhances antibody production and acts as a potent antioxidant. To get a natural dose of vitamin C, consider adding papayas, red bell peppers, strawberries, and oranges to your diet. Additionally, superfoods like goji berries and camu camu can provide an extra boost of vitamin C.
Zinc and selenium are two minerals that boost immunity. You can add these to your diet by taking supplements or try incorporating foods high in both zinc and selenium: lean beef, oysters, scallops, lamb, oats, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and Brazil nuts.
Herbs not only add flavor to food but are full of plant power to boost immunity. Get creative with your meals by adding garlic and turmeric, or explore herbal teas like black elderberry and echinacea.
Mushrooms contain beta-D-glucan, which helps modulate the immune system. The most common immune-boosting mushrooms are shiitake, maitake, chaga, reishi, and turkey tail. There are multiple ways you can incorporate mushrooms into your diet. You can add mushrooms to any meal, you can try a mushroom blend tea, or you can take them in powdered form and add a scoop to your favorite smoothie recipe.
Eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and regular physical activity are all necessary in supporting a healthy immune system. Without a strong immune system, you’ll be more likely to catch colds, feel low in energy, and have digestive issues that can even slow down your weight loss progress. Next time you feel signs of a weakened immune system, turn to these immune superheroes to give your immune system the boost it needs!
If you find yourself struggling with being healthier and losing weight, then reaching out for a free consultation to one of our weight loss clinics may be an option for you. We offer many different programs and even one-on-one counseling that provides you with a coach in your journey to becoming healthier.