Strategies To Boost Your Immunity After Cancer Treatment

As a blood cancer survivor, our immune system may be altered because of chemotherapy. I've noted that I now have more frequent upper respiratory infections and colds.

The function of our immune system is to recognize cells and destroy bacteria and viruses that may cause illness. The goal is to strengthen this system. The following steps have helped me after my chemotherapy for my follicular lymphoma and have lessened the frequency of my illnesses.

Eat healthy

Our body relies on food and a balanced diet to increase our energy and strengthen our immune system. Try to include fresh vegetables, fruits, and grains in your diet. Consider chicken, fish, and plant proteins or Quiona. Incorporate more anti-inflammatory foods in your diet, including olive oil, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, fish, and berries. I am trying to eat more salmon, salads, and fruit while reducing my cravings for sugar and sweets. This has been a difficult challenge.

Get exercise

I have never been much of an advocate for exercise. However, our body needs to move which strengthens our heart function, lungs, and immune system. The lymphatic system works closely with the immune system. As we exercise, the lymph system helps clear out toxins in cells.

My husband and I have committed to trying to exercise in the gym at least three times a week. On alternate days we walk our St. Bernard dog outdoors. The fresh air and exercise benefit both of us. Consider climbing the stairs, going outdoors, and walking. Yoga can be both relaxing and a form of exercise.

Adequate sleep

Realize the effects of sleep and its impact on the immune system. While we are asleep, our body produces proteins that fight infection and inflammation. I try to sleep at least eight hours, in a quiet, dark room. It has been reported that avoiding the use of your phone and computer before sleep will help you experience a restful sleep. Watching TV for long hours, or “Binge” watching TV has affected my sleep. Instead, I try to write in my journal or read a book before bedtime.

Reduce stress

Stress and anxiety put a strain on our bodies. At times my mind is like a video camera with constant worrying. Relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and talking about your fears can reduce stress. I try to think about things that I can change and try to let go of things that I cannot control. My spiritual beliefs provide comfort and support in difficult times.
In the past, my response to the stress over a serious family situation resulted in my hospitalization after my first chemotherapy infusion. I now try to deal more effectively with stressful situations. This is a daily challenge.

As cancer survivors, we need to focus on a healthier lifestyle. Talk with your physician about the need for vaccines. My husband and I are planning a vacation and because of my altered immune status, my physician has suggested several immunizations. The above strategies may help you improve your immune system functioning resulting in avoidance of other illnesses. I continue to try to eat healthy, exercise, try to manage stress effectively, and sleep adequately.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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