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What Are the Different Ways to Strengthen the Immune System?

Much of the advice given to patients aiming to lose weight is the same given to those seeking to strengthen the immune system — a goal that is increasingly important as humans age. Balanced, nutrient-rich meals with little saturated fat and red meat are just as important, experts say, as regular exercise and nutritional supplementation. Also important is drinking enough water, safe-guarding the body's orifices, and getting enough sleep every night.

Many medical institutions in 2011 point to exercise and diet as the chief means to most dramatically strengthen the immune system. According to Dr. Christopher Mohr, a nutritionist interviewed in Mens Health magazine, people can tell if they are getting sufficient calories by monitoring their weight regularly to ensure that no more than a few pounds are lost or gained every week. This will give a basic indication of whether the body is getting more or less of the calories it needs to properly support immune response.

For those trying to maintain their current weight and boost immunity, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends about 2,500 calories a day for men and 2,000 for women — varying, of course, by body size and musculature. People losing weight should take in less than these caloric numbers; however, too little will not strengthen the immune system and actually have the opposite effect. The key, many experts believe, is lowering fat intake and red meats.

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The FDA advises people to keep fat calories below 30 percent of their total intake. This means the average adult male should consume no more than 80 g of fat a day, with about 65 g for women. Even more important than total fat, however, is the intake of cholesterol-building saturated fats, which people should get no more than 20 or 25 g of in a day.

Where these calories come from is of equal importance to how much of them the body is getting. Low-fat diets of plant-based whole foods are touted by many top nutritionists as the best way to strengthen the immune system. Meat consumption, these experts say, should be no more than 5 or 10 percent of the diet. This varied diet should include a variety of colors and preferably organic sources, improving the health-giving qualities. Also important is drinking an excess amount of water, quitting smoking, and limiting the consumption of alcohol.

Several other factors are proven to effect immunity.Several nutritional supplements strengthen the immune system, such as multivitamins to ensure nutrition, aspirin to thin the blood, antioxidants like beta carotene, selenium, and the amino acid glutamine. Many turn to yoga, Ayurvedic or Chinese herbal medicines, or acupuncture. Then they live in as stress-free a home as possible — another proven way to boost immunity — and get enough sleep, love and sex to adequately recharge the batteries.

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