Happy, Healthy You – Boost Your Immune System
Boost Your Immune System
Yup, its here again, cold and flu season. This time of year, my family and I take extra steps to try to boost our immune systems. It seems to be working as the last ten years or so, we have only gotten the flu a couple of times. Having said that, I noticed even then, we were able to heal quickly in a matter of days or hours. Without a doubt, I contribute this to our increased intake of fruits and vegetables as they give our bodies the vitamins and nutrients our immune system needs.
Our first line of defense for a healthy immune system is to choose a healthy lifestyle. Following good health guidelines of self care is the single best step we can take toward keeping our immune system strong and healthy naturally. Here are nine more ways to do that for a total of 10 ways to boost your immune system.
Get sufficient sleep each night. Studies show that our bodies need 7 to 9 hours each night to regenerate, fight disease and function optimally. Sleep deprivation will overload our bodies functions which will suppress our immune system. Lack of sleep can contribute to higher stress levels which is noted next.
Reduce stress. Stress can elevate our hormones including our cortisol levels causing inflammation in our bodies. Prolonged elevation of our cortisol levels can negatively impact our immune system. Look for ways to lead a more stress free life and slow down. Do things everyday that your calm your mind and soul, which will help lower your stress. Talk to a counselor, life coach, trusted friend or journal your emotions/life’s challenges.
Cut down on caffeine intake. Things like coffee, tea or chocolate which contain caffeine, have been proven to raise cortisol levels. Caffeine can also interfere with our natural sleep cycles.
Up your glasses of water. Our bodies composition is mostly water. There a ton of health benefits to drinking water, but simply put, water flushes toxins out of our vital organs.
Exercise daily. Moderate exercise can help our bodies and immune system to fight infections. Aim for a simple 30 minute walk daily. Exercise assists our lymph system move the toxins out of our bodies. A lack of regular exercise will up your chances of getting a cold or flu. Not to mention that maintaining physical activity will boost our body and minds with feel good chemicals and improve our quality of sleep. All of these factors will help boost our immune system.
Reduce your sugar intake. To be blunt, in order to keep your immune system functioning at its best, one of the most effective strategies is to avoid sugar. Sugar damages the body on a lot of different levels and contributes to the increasing rates of chronic disease worldwide.
Pay attention to gut health. Supplementing with probiotics and eating lots of fiber rich plant foods will not only balance your gut microbiome, but help optimize your immune system, about 80 percent of which resides in your gastrointestinal tract.
Consume alcohol in moderation. The key word here is moderation. Alcohol produces an overall nutritional deficiency, depriving the body of valuable immune boosting nutrients. Alcohol, like sugar, consumed in excess can reduce the ability of white cells to kill germs.
Wash your hands. Washing your hands frequently cannot be overlooked as it is a simple but proven step to avoid getting infections. Learn and incorporate effective hand washing techniques into health and wellness routine. (Yes, there really is a right way to do it).
We hope this helps you and your family, friends, and love ones to stay happy and healthy this cold and flu season!