How to Boost Your Immune Strength Through Fitness


  • The immune system is a network of tissues, organs, cells, and substances.
  • Your immune system protects your body against illness, infection, and toxins.
  • You can increase your immune strength by eating certain foods.
  • These foods include dates, probiotics, anti-inflammatory foods, and more.
  • Keep your immune cells strong by exercising and strengthening your body.

The immune system is essential in your body. Without this, you are vulnerable to illnesses and more. There are various ways to increase your immune strength. For example, you can change your diet, reduce stress, and exercise more. In this article, we will discuss exactly what the immune system is. We will also find out which foods and nutrients you need to consume to strengthen immunity. There are also some exercises you could follow as well.

What is the Immune System?

The immune system is a complex network of tissues, organs, cells, and substances. They all work together to keep your body protected from illness, infections, allergens, toxins, and more.

This system is composed of various organs. They include the spleen, thymus, tonsils, lymph nodes, bone marrow, and white blood cells. For the most part, healthy kids and adults are not so aware of their immune systems. This is because the system doesn’t really normally work too hard. However, when something big happens you might notice signs that the immune system is hard at work. You can really feel it when you have a disease like chickenpox or strong flu.

It might be hard to understand how your immune system cells and tissues work. Therefore, we must understand their jobs first:

  • They fight pathogens that cause illness. These include bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites.
  • They recognize toxins and other harmful substances. They also help neutralize them.
  • They fight changes in the body that can lead to illness. These include the formation of tumor cells.

There are two subtypes of the immune system in your body:

  • The innate system, or non-specific, provides a general defense against harmful substances and germs. The immune system cells here include the natural killer cells and phagocytes. This system fights germs that come through the skin or digestive system.
  • The adaptive system, or specific, makes antibodies that can fight specific germs. The cells here have adapted to these germs beforehand. This system can change and adapt to fight new viruses and bacteria.

Not everyone always suffers from a weak immune system. However, there are cases in which a healthy individual experiences low immunity. This may be due to stress and lack of adequate sleep deprivation. It may also be due to vitamin deficiencies and a bad diet.

One common sign of weakened immunity is feeling weak or sick after an emotional situation. Studies have shown that physiological stress can suppress your immunity. It may also weaken your response to outside factors. In most cases, having stress can decrease the lymphocyte count. This refers to the number of white blood cells that fight infection. Another sign of having low immunity is getting colds often. Most people get a cold once or twice a year. However, they likely bounce back quickly. If you get a cold that never passes or returns quickly, your immune system could be lacking.

Other signs include frequent stomach bugs or indigestion. This may be related to your immune system because about 70% of it is located in the gut. Your gut microbiota is important because it supports and regulates your immune system. There are several causes as to why they might not be present. It may be due to a bad diet or a lack of fiber. 

One final sign that you have a weakened immune system is your body’s inability to heal quickly. It may take longer for you to get well from wounds, burns, scrapes, or even infections. This is because your immune system is also responsible for this. When you have an injury or illness, your immune cells respond by regenerating new skin. They also help heal tissue. If you notice that you cannot heal properly or get over an infection, you should be alarmed. Your immune system could be too weak to protect and heal your body.

Lifestyle and Exercise Changes for Immune Strength

Stress, a bad diet, and lack of sleep can cause low immunity. Obesity and anxiety may also weaken your system. However, there are certain things you could do to strengthen it.

Lifestyle Improvements

There are Some easy methods to try and improve your immune responses include: 

  • Reducing stress: You can do this by practicing yoga, meditation, and exercise. Journaling and therapy may also help. If you reduce your physiological stress, your immune system can begin to work more efficiently.
  • Sleep: Some individuals may become stressed and fatigued. Part of the reason is a lack of sleep. Adequate sleep is a key factor in improving energy levels. It also reduces the risk of illnesses. These include diabetes and heart disease.
  • Healthy Diet: As mentioned above, there are various strategies to increase immune strength. One of them is improving your diet. We recommend focusing on leaner meats, vegetables, and fruits. Adding low-fat dairy, probiotics and prebiotics, fiber, and antioxidant-rich foods to your diet is also a good idea.
  • Stop smoking: One of the most common contributing factors to illnesses is smoking. If you can stop smoking, you are giving your immune system more ways to stay strong.
  • Moderate your alcohol intake: Drinking alcohol promotes inflammation and cell damage in your body. By reducing the amount of alcohol you drink, you can prevent inflammation and stop cell damage. We also recommend choosing beverages that are high in antioxidants like wine.

Exercise

Being more active is always a good idea. This is particularly true when it comes to improving your health. Not all exercises are the same. You will find some examples of ways to stay healthy and promote immunity. Some of these include strength training,  HIIT, and walking.

  • Strength Training: Many forget to focus on strength training when it comes to working out. This type of exercise includes using bodyweight and equipment. It promotes healthy muscle function and strength. By pushing your body to work harder, you increase blood flow all throughout your body. This could help your immune system work more efficiently. Lifting weight, doing planks or sit-ups, can make you feel and look better.
  • High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): HIIT is a type of interval exercise. It involves short bursts of high-intensity cardio followed by periods of rest. This exercise raises your heart rate enough to pump blood more efficiently. It also burns a lot of fat and calories. Doing HIIT workouts a couple of times a week is a vigorous exercise. When you do it right, it can help your body work better at fighting illness.
  • Walking: Even when you are unable to exercise, it does not mean you are unable to be active. Walking is one of the easiest ways to help your health. If you walk as little as half an hour a day, you will obtain more health benefits. These include low blood pressure, weight loss, and reduced inflammation. More important is it also provides more oxygenation.

Dates for Immunity

One good example of good fruits for your immunity are dates. The date palm is a nutritious fruit. It can provide you with various essential nutrients. Some of these include fiber, protein, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. It is also full of vitamin A and antioxidants. All these nutrients provide support to metabolic processes. This includes your immunity. 

Furthermore, dates are studied for several properties. This includes their antioxidant activity. Antioxidants are very good for the body. They can help neutralize free radicals and toxins. These free radicals can cause chronic and acute damage to your body. Thanks to various phenolic compounds, such as flavonoids, dates are considered very high in antioxidants.

Dates are also known to contain beta-glucan fibers. These fibers are important because they have antitumor properties. They help stimulate your immune system by increasing the chemicals that help prevent infections. Overall, eating dates could help prevent tumor activity in your body. It also helps your immune system fight off cancer cells.

Finally, dates contain methanol and acetone. These chemicals have antimicrobial activities against viruses, bacteria, and fungi. They are especially important in your adaptive immunity, which deals with changing microbes. Therefore, using dates extract is a good method to prevent recurrent infections.

There is another great way to prevent infections and strengthen your immune system. You may do this by increasing your consumption of anti-inflammatory foods. Dates are great anti-inflammatory fruits and can help regulate the inflammatory pathways in your body. The same antioxidant phenolic compounds in dates are also good for your immune system. Not only does it prevent acute and chronic inflammation. It also prevents your body from overreacting to an immune response. 

Your immune system is an essential part of your body. It helps reduce inflammation and illness. Working on improving your immune strength can seem hard to do. It is not impossible, however. You can achieve better immunity in a lot of ways. This includes following a healthy diet that includes dates, vitamins, antioxidants. You may also change your lifestyle and move more. Let’s do what we can to strengthen our immune system.

Summary

Our bodies rely on our immune systems to fight infections, illness, and toxins. Sometimes we suffer the consequences of having low immunity. This may lead to acute and chronic illness. By doing things you can promote immune strength to keep your body working more efficiently.

Scientific Information

  • Autoimmune disease – A disease that occurs when the immune system attacks healthy tissues and organs. 
  • Pathogen – An organism that causes disease or damage to its host when inhaled, absorbed, or infected. Examples include viruses, bacteria, and fungi.
  • Phenolic Compounds – are a group of compounds also known as phytochemicals present in plants, vegetables, and fruits. Phenolic compounds are antioxidants and can be anti-inflammatory too.
  • Antioxidant – compounds that help fight free radicals, chemicals, and harmful toxins that cause damage to the body.
Written by:

Juliana Tamayo, MS

Nutritionist

Reviewed by:
Registered Dietitian
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