T cells are a type of white blood cell created in the bone marrow to defend the body against germs, bacteria and viruses. Every T cell is created with a special receptor that recognizes a unique antigen—a type of matter foreign to the body. When a foreign antigen is recognized, the T cell goes into action, either defending the body directly or activating other aspects of the immune system. The Harvard Medical School notes researchers are still uncertain what activates the production of T cells; however, you can support your body's production of T cells by taking certain positive actions.
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Maintain a well rounded, nutritious diet. Like all systems of the body, the immune system requires energy to work effectively. Eating a healthy diet as recommended by the United States Department of Health and Agriculture ensures the body has the fuel and resources needed to create T cells and other members of the immune system. Increasing your intake of fruits and veggies can specifically help by increasing the amount of carotenoids and bioflavonoids you receive; both nutrients have been found to aid the immune system.
Take supplements to enhance your immune system. World-renowned pediatrician and family wellness expert Dr. William Sears recommends supplementing your diet with vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc to help boost your immune system. Other herbal supplements with limited research showing that they may help to boost T cell production and support the immune system include garlic, echinacea and ginseng.
Find ways to minimize and relieve yourself from emotional stress. Harvard Medical School notes that excessive emotional stress has been linked to diseases such as heart disease and may actually inhibit the production of T cells. Regular exercise, prayer, meditation and yoga are some activities you can try that may help to relieve stress.
Laugh more often. In March 2004, the "Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health" published an article discussing the health benefits attributed to regular laughter including improved immune functioning. The article notes that research results vary in proving conclusively the effectiveness of laughter in boosting T cell production, but humor and laughter therapy is being increasingly used in hospital settings because of the perceived benefits to the patients. Watching a funny movie, listening to comedy recordings and practicing laughter exercises may all be ways to help build up your body's T cells.
Avoid smoking, eating too much sugar or fat and drinking too much alcohol; these actions can suppress your immune system and make you more vulnerable to getting sick.
- Harvard Medical School: How to Boost Your Immune System
- AskDrSears.com: Feeding Your Immune System
- WHFoods.com: Carotenoids
- PubMed.gov: A Chuckle A Day Keeps the Doctor Away
- BiologyReference.com: T Cells
- Mypyramid.gov: Tips and Resources
- LaughterYogaAmerica.com: 25 Laughter Yoga Exercises to Get Started