The immune system is one of the most important bits of the organism we like to call the human body.
With an immune system functioning at its peak, you can expect to get the flu at a rate less than everyone with a lowered immune system. That’s the simplest way to explain it, with the exception of chronic health conditions that might impact the immune system’s ability to do its job even further.
Obviously, things like a healthy diet and fair amount of exercise are going to have a positive effect on your immune system – and most people out there already know this. But there are also other things that can impact the immune system that aren’t what you think.
Here are four ways to boost your immune system – and a section that tells you what simply doesn’t work when it comes to immune systems.
1. Investigate Your Cravings Further
Cravings are always worth investigating further.
When the body responds with a craving, it’s actually responding to a lack of something in the body – and it’s usually something you’ll find as a component or ingredient in what you’re craving.
Cravings for beans or meat point to iron deficiencies, whereas cravings for seafood are sometimes related to lacking in specific minerals (like magnesium or iodine). Cravings for sugar could be an early warning sign of diabetes or blood pressure. Odd cravings, such as craving soil or chalk, can point to specific mineral deficiencies instead.
All of them – eventually – mean something.
Getting cravings doesn’t mean you have to respond to them, but it can mean that it’s time to find their cause.
2. Get Screened for Allergies
Allergies and the immune system are linked.
If you want to better your immune system, start with a professional allergy screening.
Allergies can range from mild through to severe, and the truth is that most people have no idea what they might potentially be allergic to until they encounter these allergies for the first time and show a subsequent reaction.
Why wait? It might be fatal – and your allergy could be anything from a bee sting through to walnuts.
Sometimes, allergies can switch: Being allergic to something in childhood doesn’t guarantee that you’ll retain the same allergy as an adult – and the body can also “switch” to suddenly being allergic to something where it didn’t present before.
Take note of any allergy-like symptoms experienced when eating, particularly if they present only with certain ingredients or types of food.
Constant irritation of the body through the consumption of things you are allergic to could mean that it changes to a more severe allergy overnight, or that you’re actually allergic to the food you eat instead of having what you consider to be “regular” stomach upsets.
3. Control Inflammation
Any part of the body can be hit by inflammation and at any point.
Technically, inflammation is another way in which the immune system reacts to triggers.
This is why conditions like gout or inflammation can be set off by certain dietary factors – and why certain chronic conditions go hand-in-hand with episodes of inflammation.
Letting inflammation run wild in the body is a one-way ticket to injury. Additionally, it can have ties to lowering your immune system.
If you suspect inflammation anywhere, it’s time to see your doctor.
Bringing inflammation under control with the avoidance of triggers and the right medication could give your immune system a much-needed boost.
4. A Decent Multivitamin (or More Specific Ones)
A comprehensive multivitamin is a good idea for the majority of people, with a few rare exceptions.
Conditions that affect absorption in the body might not benefit as much from the consumption of multivitamins or supplements; this includes connective tissue-related conditions like Ehlers-Danlos, but can also include others such as Crohn’s.
A doctor’s appointment can be a good way to find the right general multivitamin (or more specific supplements) to benefit your immune system and overall health.
Where multivitamins might not be doing the trick, look into purely nutritional supplements such as Ensure.
What Doesn’t Work
Next, let’s get to what doesn’t work for the immune system.
- Non-FDA Approved Supplements: Avoid any supplements that are advertised as not being FDA Approved; usually, these are barely tested, and might not even contain the ingredients stated in the ads. Many are harmful, and some might be deadly.
- Overloading on Supplements: When it comes to supplements, the body can only absorb a finite amount of anything. Avoid anything advertising as a “super” dosage, and never think that taking more of something has a better effect: It won’t.
Supplements Combined with Nothing: No human being (at least so far), has run purely on supplements from start to finish. That should tell you something. Supplements are only effective when put into motion with the right lifestyle changes, diet and treatments for chronic conditions.