We are always looking for ways to stay healthy and keep our immune system strong, especially after the world’s recent battle with Covid-19. Using tips like conscious healthy eating, practicing good hygiene, and minimizing our stress levels will strengthen your immune system enabling it to fight off infections.
Getting sick can easily be avoided by following the tips below and ensuring your immune system functions at 100%.
Create a happy gut.
Your gastrointestinal (GI) tract is made up of approximately 70% of your immune system. Bingeing high sugar/processed food, or alcohol both forces your gut to work overtime and reduces our natural immune response. It takes 2 weeks for your body to completely renew your gut cells and it replaces 330 million cells a day. These cells are created using food you eat and if all that food is processed then your body is not made from the nutrients it needs to function well. This makes the phrase “you are what you eat” a genuine reality. Eating nutrient packed foods will make your gut happy as well as provide you with vitamins causing your immune system to be strong and healthy. Foods such as carrots, kimchi, mushrooms, and honey all support a healthy immune system. And while sugary treats taste great, whenever possible, try to eat more balanced meals and snacks to give your gut a fighting chance.
Practice good hygiene.
The first line of defense is keeping the germs out of your system with good personal cleansing habits. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water as well as clean and clip your finger and toenails to prevent unwanted bacteria build up. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze or cough and thoroughly clean, disinfect and cover all open cuts to prevent infection. Finally, regularly visit your dentist for checkups to prevent cavities. These simple actions alone can help discourage germs before they ever get a chance to reach your immune system and wreak havoc on your body.
Get a good night’s sleep.
Studies show that not getting enough sleep greatly effects how well your immunity cells function. While you sleep, your body can rest and recharge so make a sleep routine and stick to it, keeping in mind that everyone needs different amounts of sleep. Be sure to turn off all electronics at least one hour before bed to help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly. For those who do not get enough sleep the symptoms and effects quickly add up, inhibiting your energy levels, productivity, mood management and more. If you sleep less or your sleep quality is unsatisfactory, your body and immune system will suffer and make you more immunocompromised. Be sure to check out our sleep center to answer all of your sleep-related questions.
Take your vitamins.
You want to ensure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs to ensure smooth immune function. Some vitamins are gained by consuming lots of whole foods, leafy greens, and fruits such as almonds, kiwi, and walnuts. However, supplementing with over-the-counter products helps us cover our bases and get everything we need to fight wintertime germs, especially those who live in colder climates. After noting the amount of sun you receive and talking to your doctor, consider taking Vitamin D supplements as they can lower your risk of chronic infections. Melatonin supplements give your body more of its natural hormones which reduce fatigue and pain. Also, consider trying some botanical herbs such as Camomile, Lavender and Passionflower and eat foods or take supplements with prominent levels of L-theanine and 5-Hydroxytryptophan to alleviate stress and relax the mind.
Watch your stress levels.
The bottom line is stress hurts our immune system. Life can be stressful and challenging so making sure to keep levels low can help maintain your health and keep you present. If you start to feel overwhelmed, take some deep breaths and put your feet on the floor, feeling the soles of your feet touch the ground and see if you can put a name to the emotion you are experiencing. Other good habits to keep yourself calm include practicing yoga and meditation, making a joy list, or being mindful about what food goes in your body and how you prepare it. Studies also show that supportive relationships and healthy social interactions can help lower stress so give a loved one a call. Remembering and practicing these tips will lead to lower stress levels and better immune health.
Having a high functioning, healthy immune system enables you to keep up with your lifestyle even with a busy schedule. No one likes being sick so getting good sleep, keeping your stress levels down, and practicing good hygiene will lead to a better immune system and a healthier life.