Keep Your Immune System Strong All Year long : 5 Ways to Boost Your Body’s Natural Defenses
Illnesses often arise when the body’s immune system becomes overburdened by stress or lacks the proper nutrition to fight off foreign invaders. Your best defense is a strong offense – and the following five strategies can help your immune system perform optimally all year long!
- Focus on Whole Foods
Prioritize eating nutrient-dense whole foods. Each of us is bio-individual, meaning what works for one person does not necessarily work for another – so you have to eat appropriately for your unique needs. But regardless of your tastes, preferences, or dietary approach, “real” whole foods will provide your body with the best form of nutrition to strengthen the immune system.
- Supplement Smartly
Food alone may not fill in all the gaps left by the insufficiencies in our current agriculture system. And stressors of daily life add to our physical burden, depleting our bodies of the vitamins and minerals necessary to achieve or maintain optimal health. Thanks to modern-day science, we have the tools to replenish our bodies with appropriate supplementation. This too, however, is bio-individual and should be tailored to your unique needs by working with a trained and trusted professional. As a general rule of thumb, vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, and probiotics are all shown to boost immunity and build resilience.
- Get Your Zzzs
Sleep is a crucial pillar of optimal health, and should be a time of rest and recovery necessary for the health of your whole body and mind. And quality trumps quantity. To optimize your sleep, set yourself up for success, and put in place specific strategies to ensure a peaceful, effective night’s rest. Cut off calories close to sunset, wear blue-blocking glasses if using electronics within a couple of hours prior to bed, wind down with a relaxing ritual such as reading your favorite fiction. Additionally, you can set your natural circadian rhythm to enhance melatonin (the sleep hormone) production by getting sunlight exposure first thing in the morning. As little as 5 min outdoors – sans sunglasses – will aid in the regulation of your biorhythms and improve the quality of your sleep at night.
- Move Your Body
Movement keeps lymph fluid circulating in your body. It increases your blood flow and mobilizes white blood cells, which your immune system needs to seek and destroy harmful germs in other parts of the body. Another benefit of exercise is that it reduces stress. Your body does a better job fighting off illness when it’s not under stress. Moderate exercise such as brisk walking, yoga, cycling or swimming for 30-minutes does wonders for the immune system.
- Give Thanks
Daily expressions of gratitude can boost our body’s defenses since the mind and body are undeniably interconnected. Some of the observed benefits of the effect of gratitude on our health are an increase in happy hormones such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin, and a reduction of the stress hormone cortisol. Being grateful also has the power to lower blood pressure, as well as improve the quality of sleep. The range of benefits linked to gratitude contributes to a strengthened immune system and an improvement of overall health.
The information provided by Jillian Warwick, NTP, is for educational and informational purposes only. The information provided on this site is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional advice or care. Please speak to your qualified healthcare professional in the event that something you have read here raises questions or concerns regarding your health.