Seven ways to activate your immune system and avoid colds

There are few things as common as the fall cold. But as common and banal as it is, the cold still strikes us from time to time, and there’s no way to get rid of it.There might be a particularly annoying virus behind it, but many times the reason is that it discovers that we have low defense. Therefore, the solution is to activate the immune system to prevent the cold from lasting too long.

Because the immune system is indeed directly related to colds. After all, its main function is to protect the body from infections, including viral infections like colds.

How do we catch a cold?

So when a cold virus enters the body (most commonly rhinovirus, although there are more than 400 different viruses that can cause it), usually through the respiratory tract, the immune system detects its presence. From here, two lines of defense can be set up:

  1. innate immune response: It is the first line of defense and includes mechanisms such as the release of pro-inflammatory chemicals and the activation of immune cells such as macrophages. The goal is to prevent viral replication and eliminate invading virus particles.
  2. adaptive immune response: If this does not completely eliminate the virus, the adaptive immune system is activated, producing specific antibodies that must neutralize the virus and promote its elimination.

The result of this reaction is inflammation, which is responsible for many cold symptoms, such as Congestion, cough and fever. These symptoms tell us that the immune system is working hard to fight off the infection. In most cases, it can be controlled and eliminated within a relatively short period of time (one to two weeks).

But sometimes, a cold doesn’t go away and symptoms linger for weeks. As we said, this may be because it’s a particularly virulent pathogen, but our overall health plays a big role. In particular, as seen in this study, the strength of our immune systems. The conclusion is that “Maintaining the immune defense system in a normal healthy state may reduce the incidence of infection and/or reduce the severity of symptoms and/or shorten the duration of the common cold.”

How to activate your immune system

Before you start shopping for the latest trendy food supplement, remembers immunologist Joshua Milner, a professor of pediatrics at Columbia University, “It’s important to remember that these types of products or activities like scuba diving have not been shown to cold water, to improve immunity or increase protection against infections.” Instead, he assures, it is known that “a lifestyle that includes eating healthy foods, physical activity, reducing stress and getting enough sleep keeps the immune system in optimal condition.”

Therefore, Milner recommends the following for activating the immune system:

Eat as many fresh fruits and vegetables as possible every day

The micronutrients they provide will ensure you are not deficient in key nutrients your immune system needs to fight off invading microorganisms, such as zinc and vitamin A.

Keep in mind that most supplements are no better than the nutrients you get from food. The fiber in fruits and vegetables helps gut microbes produce compounds important for a healthy immune system.

Stay physically active with walking and exercise

Research shows that regular exercise can have a positive impact on the immune system, strengthening it and improving its ability to fight infections.

Among other things, it increases circulation of immune cells, reduces chronic inflammation, enhances natural defenses, stimulates the release of endorphins and improves cardiovascular and lung function.

Get at least seven hours of sleep every night

When the body does not get enough sleep, the immune system is negatively affected.Lack of sleep reduces brain activity CNatural killer cells, which increase the risk of cancer and viral infections; produce inflammatory cytokines, which increase the risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases; and reduce the production of antibodies, which puts us at greater risk for infection.

Minimize your stress

Stress of any kind, whether psychological or physical, can weaken your immune system because it increases the risk of viral infection or reactivation in your body. Likewise, stress can cause the immune system to fail in its patrols, and when this happens, too much inflammation can occur.

drink less

Alcohol alters immune pathways that affect the body’s ability to fight off infection, contributes to alcohol-related organ damage, and impedes recovery from tissue damage.

do not smoke

Smoking can exacerbate pathogenic (disease-causing) immune responses and/or reduce immune defenses.

Get recommended vaccines for your age group and condition

Vaccines, also called immunizations, teach the immune system to produce antibodies that fight off infections before they make you sick.

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