5 WAYS TO BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Unfortunately, our health is something that we put on the back burner. It’s important, but it’s not usually considered urgent. That is until there is a scare of unusual proportions that takes over our thoughts and feelings. You know, like when we can’t get it out of our mind. It takes over our thoughts and emotions. It’s at the center of our conversations. It may seem overwhelming, but what if I told you that there is a way to minimize your risks. I want to let you in on some simple tips for you to boost your immune system.
Maybe you or someone close to you has recently been diagnosed with a life threatening condition (heart disease, cancer, etc). Currently, we are in the middle of a global health crisis as a result of the coronavirus, COVID-19. People are going to stores buying as many goods as possible as the fear for the worst.
While I am not an infectious disease expert (I’ll leave that for the CDC and World Health Organization), I do have more knowledge than most when it comes to staying healthy. And while our health is something we should always make a priority, it seems now more than ever it should be a topic of discussion.
Boost Your Immune System With Adequate Sleep
Chances are you aren’t getting enough quality sleep. In today’s busy world we are working more than ever and very few people are getting the sleep their bodies require to function optimally.
According to the Mayo clinic, “people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to virus. Lack of sleep can effect how fast you recover if you do get sick.”
During sleep your body can prioritize the production and release of disease fighting cells and antibodies, and other proteins that can fight infection. When you reduce the amount of sleep you get, you are reducing your ability to fight any pathogens that may be causing you to get sick.
Daily Exercise Can Help
In addition to helping reduce the likelihood of chronic diseases while strengthening our bones and muscles, several theories point to exercise to assist the immune system in fighting infectious diseases.
While we don’t exactly know how our bodies do this the U.S. National Library of Medicine points to several of the theories that scientists are working to prove.
It is believed that physical exercise will assist the body in flushing bacteria out of the lungs and airways. Anyone who has exercised with a slight cold has experienced this firsthand. Yes, it’s gross when you must get rid of excess phlegm and gunk but it’s better than having it linger in your body.
Another theory points to the increase in your core body temperature during exercise. Much like how a fever works to limit the ability of bacteria and viruses to grow and reproduce in the body, when your body heats up during exercise you slow down pathogens so your cells and antibodies can fight those that currently exist.
Foods To Boost Your Immune System
A well-balanced diet is key to helping boost your body’s ability to fight infection. Several studies have been published promoting the fact that foods rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients can boost your immune system.
Dark green veggies such as broccoli, kale, spinach, and collard greens are a great source of key nutrients. In addition, brightly colored veggies such as peppers, cabbage, and squash are also nutrient dense. Berries and citrus fruits are great sources of key vitamins, antioxidants, and phytonutrients that have been shown to help fight infections.
Not sure where to get started? Check out our 30 Day Clean Eating Challenge.
Lower Your Stress Levels
Chronic stress is something that is plaguing our society today. When our body is under stress, our cortisol levels are increased. From a survival standpoint this is a good thing. Cortisol is our “fight-or-flight” hormone that increases our ability to get away from danger. However, cortisol suppresses immune function among other systems of the body. So, while a short dose of cortisol can be beneficial, high levels for an extended period can have a negative effect on the body.
While there isn’t a magic “off” switch in our bodies, there are ways to manage our stress levels. Exercise (see #2) has been shown to lower our stress levels by releasing feel-good chemicals into our bloodstream. In addition, activities such as focusing on a hobby, mediation, or even unwinding with your favorite show on Netflix will help you relax and lower your stress levels.
Fill In The Gaps With Immune Boosting Supplements
In addition to eating plenty of nutrient dense whole foods, there are several herbs and supplements that have been shown to help your body fight infection. One powerful antiviral herb I take daily through my superfood shake is astragalous root. It has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries to boost immune health. A 2004 study concluded the same results.
Adding herbs to foods, shakes, teas, and essential oils have all been shown as effective ways to help boost your body’s natural defenses against infection.
With the threat of disease always looming, people are looking for ways to stay healthy. Preventative measures such as washing your hands before eating or handling food, avoiding contact with sick individuals, and overall good hygiene should be the foundation for not getting sick. In addition, following the above 5 recommendations will help boost your immune system to minimize the effects of pathogens.