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How to Boost Your Immune System

By Rachael Attard, Updated Feb 3, 2021

I’m all about trying to help people feel their best! Diet and exercise play a role in this, but so does having a healthy and strong immune system.

When your immune system is weak, you are prone to getting sick, feeling tired, and just not functioning well. Building up your immune system will help you have more energy, limit how often you catch an illness, and improve your quality of life.

I’m excited to share more with you about why your immune system matters, how you can tell if your immune system is weak, and how you can strengthen it through your lifestyle. :)

What Does It Mean to Have a Weakened Immune System?

Your immune system is made up of different cells that all work together to fight off bacteria, viruses, and other things that can make you sick. When your immune system is weak, you are more likely to feel tired, weak, or get sick.

It is possible to have different levels of a weakened immune system. Some people have very weak immune systems. They are considered immunocompromised. But other people might find that their immune system is just not as strong as it should be.

Also, some people can have weak immune systems for life, but many people will find that they can strengthen their immune systems.

If your immune system is just slightly weak, you might be more likely to catch a common cold or feel tired after common activities. If your immune system is very weak, common illnesses might be life-threatening.

What Can Weaken Your Immune System?

how to boost your immune system - signs your immune system is weak

Medical Problems And Treatment

White blood cells are the stars of your immune system. They circulate throughout your body, and they look for any potential problems you are facing.

For most people, especially people who are young and relatively healthy, these white blood cells do their job well. But certain illnesses affect white blood cells, making them less good at protecting your body against infection. Some of these illnesses include:

  • Autoimmune disorders, like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • HIV
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease

Certain medicines, like corticosteroids, also slow down your white blood cells.

Some people are also born with weak immune systems.

Stress And Lifestyle

Even if you don’t have any medical conditions or take medication, your lifestyle can weaken your immune system too. Not getting enough sleep, eating a poor diet, and having high-stress levels can all weaken your immune system.

For example, when you experience stress, your body produces cortisol, which weakens your immune system over time. Stress lowers the number of white blood cells you have to fight off infection.

If you notice that you get sick at the end of the semester or after a busy period at work, your body might be responding to the stress you have experienced. :)

RELATED POST: Is Stress Causing Your Weight Gain

Signs You Have a Weakened Immune System

If you regularly struggle with the following issues, you might have a weakened immune system.

how to improve weakened immune system

Frequent Infections And Colds

This is a big one. If you experience regular illnesses, even if they are just minor colds, you might have a weakened immune system.

It is normal for adults to have 2-3 colds per year. If you have more colds than this, or you find that your colds linger for several weeks, your immune system might be struggling.

Having repeated illnesses can weaken your system over time too, causing a cycle of getting sick, developing a weaker system, and then getting sick again.

If your immune system is weak, you are more likely to catch the following illnesses:

  • pneumonia (especially if you have it more than once per year)
  • meningitis
  • bronchitis
  • skin infections
  • ear infections (especially if you have more than four per year)

You might also experience diseases that cause inflammation in your internal organs, blood disorders (like anemia), or growth delays.

Does your skin take a long time to heal? A weakened immune system means that your skin takes longer to heal itself from scrapes, acne spots, or cuts.

Fatigue

Are you tired all the time? Do you struggle to have energy even though you get plenty of sleep?

This is a key sign that your immune system is struggling. Your body needs energy to function. If your immune system is weak, it requires more energy than normal, making you feel lethargic.

You might feel like you could fall asleep at any minute, but fatigue can also show up as a feeling like you can’t think properly, like your muscles can’t function, or that it is just hard to move.

There are lots of reasons why you might feel tired. But, if this is a regular problem for you, you might consider that your immune system isn’t as strong as it could be. :)

Digestive Issues

About 70 percent of your immune system tissue is in your digestive tract. So, it makes sense that a weakened immune system will affect the way your gut feels and works.

If you experience frequent digestive problems, like gas, bloating, or constipation, something might not be right with your immune system.

RELATED POST: My Struggle with Gut Health

How to Boost Your Immune System

boost your immune system

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is essential if you want to be healthy. In one study, researchers found that people who got less than 6 hours of sleep a night were more likely to catch a cold than those who slept more than 6 hours.

Sleep helps your body heal and decrease stress. Adults should try to get at least 7 hours of sleep, and teenagers should try to get at least 8-10 hours.

Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can make you more likely to get sick. Not drinking enough water will affect your:

  • Mood
  • Energy levels
  • Ability to focus
  • Digestion
  • Heart function
  • Kidney function

Try to drink water throughout the day. I like water because it doesn’t have any calories or sugar, like juice or sweetened teas and coffee do.

Manage Your Stress Levels

I know this is easier said than done. :) But, I promise, finding ways to reduce your stress or deal with stress will really help your overall health!

Research shows that people who have high-stress levels, especially for a long period of time, are more likely to get sick.

Try getting outside, journaling, exercising, meditation, yoga, or even spending time with a friend to reduce your stress levels.

Be Active

Staying active really helps to strengthen your immune system! People who exercise regularly have stronger white blood cells than those who do not.

You don’t need to do anything intense to have the benefits from exercise either. Even 20 minute walks three times a week will help boost your immunity. :)

Exercise also produces endorphins that help you feel happier and reduce your stress levels.

RELATED POST: Full Body Workout (At Home Workout for Women)

Carefully Pick Supplements

Some vitamins and supplements can help improve your immunity, but they typically only work if your body is lacking enough of that vitamin.

A lot of people are deficient in Vitamin D, and they notice an improvement in energy levels when they take this as a supplement. The best way to know if you are lacking in any vitamins is to have blood work done by your doctor. :)

Eat a Healthy Diet

foods that can help you boost your immune system

Eating a well-balanced diet that is full of fruits and vegetables will help your overall health.

Eating sugar and processed foods can weaken your immune system. Alcohol is also notorious for weakening your immune system. Try to consume these types of foods in moderation, especially if you suspect your immune system is already weak. :)

Certain foods can also help boost your immunity. Some of the best foods include:

  • Garlic
  • Broccoli
  • Turmeric
  • Spinach (it is full of Vitamin C and E, both of which are excellent for your immune system!)
  • Ginger
  • Green tea
  • Food with live cultures of bacteria, such as Greek yogurt or kefir
  • Almonds (another excellent source of Vitamin E)
  • Kiwis (tasty and full of Vitamin C)

Having a healthy immune system is so important for being able to function at your best! It also protects you from getting sick.

Try strengthening your immune system through sleep, good food and water, being active, and reducing your stress. :)

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments.

Love Rachael xx

Picture of Rachael

Rachael is an Australian born certified personal trainer and nutritionist who holds a Bachelor degree in Science.

After struggling for years to find an exercise and diet program that is tailored to women striving for lean and toned body with no bulk she designed her Lean Legs Program. This program is tailored to each body type and focused on helping women get toned but feminine bodies, without getting bulky.

Her mission is to empower women and help them stay in shape in a healthy and balanced way.

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