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What you need to know to boost your immune system naturally

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    If there is one indicator of good health, it is your immune system, which is why the most repeated key question is and remains: how to strengthen the immune system naturally.

     

    It has recently been shown that alterations in the immune system are related to the appearance of multiple pathologies and syndromes beyond flu or colds. Taking care of your defences is no longer a seasonal issue.

     

    In fact, recent studies have measured the effectiveness of this first barrier of defence against COVID-19 and the results, as expected, indicate that it is the key tool in the fight against infections.

    family-in-bike-sport-immune-system

    How to strengthen the immune system

    According to the results of a survey carried out in 2010 (Nusa (Nutrition and Health) Programme), 90% are stressed and more than 50% do not practice physical exercise, can we talk about good health? Let’s review the keys to a 100% immune system.

    1. Healthy diet

    • The diet should be balanced, varied and sufficient. The Mediterranean and Atlantic diets are considered appropriate because they prioritise fresh foods such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains, vegetables, pulses and nuts, thus ensuring micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals that support the immune system. 
    • Quantity is also critical: a diet of less than 1200 kcal has been shown to have negative effects on the immune system, but diets in which fats provide more than 35% of daily energy requirements (20-25% in sedentary lifestyles) have been linked to cardiovascular problems.

    2. Regular exercise

    • The message is simple: get moving! Aerobic physical activity (walking, swimming, running, cycling…). Exercise is good for maintaining well-being. 
    • This study shows that sport increases the antimicrobial capacity of macrophages and boosts the activity of cells involved in the immune response.
    • It also lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is linked to oxidative processes in your cells.

    3. Get the sleep you need

    • The Spanish Sleep Society published in volume 63 of the Journal of Neurology the title Healthy sleep: evidence and guidelines for action. Official document of the Spanish Sleep Society
    • According to this guide, adults aged 26 to 64 should sleep 7-9 hours a day. 
    • Lack of sleep has been linked to immunological changes and has even been linked to the development of cholesterol.

    4. Don't stress

    • Activate a state of zen. Multiple studies link stress to anxiety and depression, but not only that, it also affects cardiovascular health and can damage the immune response; especially if the stress is prolonged or chronic.

    Why is the immune system weakened?

    As we have seen above, a strong immune system rests on three fundamental pillars: diet, exercise and rest. 

     

    If these become unbalanced through inadequate nutrient intake, sedentary lifestyles, insomnia or prolonged stress, your defences, the inner army that protects you against viruses, bacteria and other pathogens, can be compromised and with it, your immune response. 

    Consequences of a weakened immune system

    A weak immune system is characterised by reduced macrophage (immune system cell) activity, elevated cortisol levels and possible inflammatory and oxidative processes that impact on your daily wellbeing

     

    The challenge is to rebalance those gears that make your body, the perfect machine, strong and protected.

    How to boost defences quickly

    • Healthy eating
    • Regular physical exercise
    • 7-8 hours of sleep/day

     

     

     

    • Consumption of superfluous foods: nutrient-poor and high in calories
    • Sedentary or inactive (less than 150 minutes of physical activity per week)
    • Lack of rest, sleep disturbances, stress

     

    Foods against low defences

    The top 5 could be foods rich in vitamins C, B and D, minerals such as zinc and prebiotics and probiotics

    Practical examples of fresh foods include citrus fruits, kiwi fruit, mushrooms (notable for their D2 and B vitamins), vegetables such as broccoli and spinach, nuts such as almonds, yoghurts with probiotics and fermented yoghurts such as kefir and sauerkraut.

    How to strengthen the immune system naturally

    In general, it is safe to say (studies support it) that the Mediterranean diet promotes a healthy immune system, so a good recommendation is to maintain the Mediterranean style. We also know that malnutrition or inadequate nutrition increases the risk of disease, so we insist: watch what you eat and get back to the Mediterranean diet.

    On the other hand, it is interesting to remember:

    • Vitamin B12 deficiency is common in the elderly and common in vegan and vegetarian groups. It is important to ensure that this and other B vitamins are provided.
    • Vitamin C increases the production of white blood cells and is therefore key in the production of white blood cells.
    • Vitamin B6 is vital for red blood cell function.
    • Selenium and zinc are natural antioxidants, so it is important to maintain the intake of these two minerals, especially zinc and selenium. 
    • Beta-glucans have been linked to improved immune system function.
    • Prebiotics: 70% of immune cells are in the gut. The balance of intestinal flora acts as a defence barrier from within, so it is necessary to provide the food that nourishes the bacteria in each of us.

    The Big Five: The 5 mushrooms to boost the immune system

    Just as the African savannah has its five great talismans, in Mycotherapy the five great medicinal mushrooms of reference are Reishi, Shiitake, Maitake, Sun Mushroom and Chaga, species of the Fungi kingdom studied and used, especially in the form of extracts, for the maintenance and recovery of well-being.

    They have been studied as immunomodulators, prebiotics to help balance the microbiota and adaptogens to help regulate stress. High-impact scientific studies have highlighted the importance of their compounds. These include beta-glucans, triterpenes, fatty acids of the omega series, hericenones, erinacines, phenolic compounds, but also minerals, vitamins, and essential amino acids. 

    In short, they are a natural resource with a high content of active biomolecules useful in health care and well-being.

    The best supplements for the immune system

    Medicinal mushrooms are a natural source of great value that can help maintain health and that do not interact with other medicines, as long as certain quality criteria related to organic production and the extraction method are guaranteed. Hifas da Terra’s medicinal mushroom supplements are high quality, safe and effective:

    Quality and safe complements

    The Hifas Quality System (HQS) preserves the maximum purity of the mushrooms included in Hifas da Terra (HdT) formulas. HdT medicinal mushrooms have official European organic certification and are free of heavy metals, pesticides, GMOs, moulds and grains that can interact negatively with our organism.

    Efficacy and therapeutic activity

    Through various transformation processes, some of which are in the process of being patented, very high concentrations of active compounds, including antioxidants, are obtained, which are unique in the food supplement market.

    Summary

    • If you want to help your immune system, eat right, exercise, get the sleep you need and relax. It sounds easy, but do a test to see if you’re really meeting all the requirements.
    • Make sure you get the substances that feed your defences on a daily basis. 
    • As we have seen, medicinal mushrooms are very rich in beta-glucans, terpenes, prebiotics, vitamins and minerals. Choose mushroom-based supplements with quality guarantees.

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