It’s important to lead a lifestyle that benefits your immune system, and you should encourage your family to do the same.
Your immune system is an integral part of nearly all physiological processes, from development, to wound healing, to reproduction. Your immune system helps fight off infections of all kinds, including viral infections like the flu.
The strength of our immune system changes based on factors like age, our diet, and our overall health.
That means it’s essential to do what you can to keep you and your family’s immune system healthy.
In this article, we’ll look at some proven ways to boost your family’s immune system.
Ways to Boost Your Family’s Immune System
1. Ensure Your Family are Vaccinated
It’s well recognized that vaccines are the most effective way to prevent infections.
As you may know, it’s worth getting your annual flu shots, particularly if members of your family are in a higher risk age group, or have a weakened immune system caused by another illness.
Vaccines work by stimulating an immune response that enables your body to react faster against the same pathogen if you re-encounter it.
Vaccines aren’t going to protect you against every illness, though. You get vaccinated to protect you against certain pathogens (usually the more dangerous ones), for example, a strain of seasonal flu. That vaccine won’t protect you against the common cold, caused by a different pathogen. You should still try to keep your immune system in good shape, even if you and your family have had your vaccines.
Your doctor will be able to provide up-to-date information on vaccines for your family.
2. Exercise Regularly
It’s no secret that regular exercise is good for you.
But did you know it can also:
- Enhance vaccination response
- Increase T-cells
- Boost the function of the natural killer cells in the immune system
Ensuring your family gets regular exercise is an excellent step to keeping them healthy and strengthening their immune system.
Exercise can also have trickle-down effects, too. Once you start to exercise regularly, you may end up caring more about your diet and making healthy dietary choices as they’re important to support your active lifestyle.
3. Sleep Well (and Often)
How well you’re sleeping affects your immune system, too. Send your kids to bed at a reasonable time, and make sure you get some rest too.
Sleep affects various functions of the immune system and has been found to:
- Reduce infection risk
- Improve infection recovery rates
- Improve our immune responses to vaccination
Encouraging your whole family to get their eight hours per night has significant health benefits.
4. Get Your Essential Vitamins
As you would expect, the vitamins and nutrients that you get through your diet can affect your immune system.
The European Food Standard Authority highlights that Vitamin C contributes to the normal function of the immune system, and other studies have found it helps prevent and treat respiratory infections.
Foods rich in Vitamin C include oranges, sweet potatoes, and bell peppers.
Ensure your and your family eat a varied and balanced diet that contains all of the essential nutrients you need to keep your immune system up to scratch.
Tip: Get a regular supply of Multivitamins to work alongside a healthy diet, even when the healthy diet occasionally fails.
5. Eat a Balanced, Healthy Diet
Adding on to the last point, a balanced diet will play a role in your family members’ immune systems.
Incorporate foods that have proven health benefits, such as:
- Blueberries (rich in Vitamin C and a source of anthocyanins)
- Bananas (rich in Potassium and antioxidants)
- Green vegetables like brocolli (rich in Vitamin C, K, E, iron, and zinc)
- Eggs (contain high-quality protein and essential fatty acids)
- Meat or fish (for protein, and Vitamin B12)
It can be hard to create a meal plan that’s both healthy and easy enough to cook from scratch every day. But, once you start, you’ll quickly discover that it becomes easy to encourage your whole family to eat well.
Foods are the best sources of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that our bodies need to stay fit and strong, and your family’s immune systems will thank you for helping them eat well.
6. Relax Your Mind
Our built-in physiological system for stress was not designed for “worrying about mortgages, relationships, and promotions“, according to Robert Sapolsky, a well-known neuroendocrinologist.
Our way of life can lead to long-term stress that isn’t good for our psychological wellbeing, or for our immune system.
Take time out of each day to do something you enjoy, and ensure the rest of your family does the same.
Long-term psychological stressors can modify various features of the immune response, so it’s important to find ways to relieve stress when, and where you can.
Your immune system plays a vital role in fighting off infections and keeping you and your family healthy.
There’s no catch-all solution to boosting your family’s immune system, however, there are steps you can take to improve it.
Being vaccinated where possible will improve your immune response to the diseases or infections you’re vaccinated for.
Eating a diet rich in vitamins will help keep your body working as it should be.
You should also ensure your family stays active and take time out of the day to focus on things they enjoy doing. As we’ve seen, a healthy body and mind are both linked to improving immune system responses.
The key thing to remember is that there is no single way to boost your family’s immune system. A range of factors will affect how well your body fights off infections, and your entire lifestyle will play a role in how well your body can do that.