You always hear more about boosting your immune system when the weather starts to turn and flu season is about to explode. So, with the current situation we are living in, why aren't we talking about this?
Yes, we need to wash our hands...which I'm pretty sure we all learned about in kindergarten.
Yes, masks are helpful...period.
But what I'm not hearing about are all of the other things you can do to help yourself and your family stay on track to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Ever heard the saying "it's the little things"? You don't have to make a drastic change to improve your immune system. Just a few little tweaks and you could be on the road to a healthier you!
1. Eat The Good For You Stuff
We all joke about the COVID-19 pounds that we've put on, but inside we're cringing at how real it truly is. Whether it's from boredom, anxiety, or the excuses we tell ourselves, we justify why we grab that bag of chips instead of opting for a healthier snack. I am totally guilty of this! But realizing that the choices we make of what we put in our mouths affects how we feel in the long run has to be a conscious and intentional decision.
There are so many studies out there that have proven that the food we ingest has a direct link to our gut microbiome, which can improve or harm your immunity. Eating foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes, which are rich in nutrients and antioxidants, may give you an upper hand against harmful pathogens. Healthy fats like avocados, olive oil, and salmon have been shown to reduce inflammation which may help your body fight off harmful disease-causing bacteria and viruses.
No...I did not just say a bad word. We all know the benefits of incorporating moderate exercise into our schedules. And we all have some really great reasons why we don't. Me included. I know the benefits of exercising. I tell my clients all of the amazing reasons they should exercise regularly. Did you know moderate exercising, like taking a brisk walk, swimming, jogging, or light hiking, can help your immune cells regenerate?
3. Get Some Rest
Speaking of exercise, did you know that regular exercise, particularly in the morning or afternoon, can impact your sleep quality by raising your body temperature a few degrees. Later in the day, when your internal thermostat drops back to its normal range, this can trigger feelings of drowsiness and help you drop off to sleep. Also, if you exercise outdoors, you’ll be exposed to natural light, an important element in helping your body establish a good sleep-wake cycle. (1)
Studies show that people who don't get quality sleep, or enough sleep, are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as a common cold virus. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick. (2) It has been said that adults should get around 7 hours, while teenagers may only need 8-10 hours, and younger children need up to 14 hours of sleep.
4. Stress Relievers
Oh boy, now we're talking about something that a lot of us are dealing with. Stress and anxiety seem to be a daily part of our lives these days. I'm not going to get into all of the icky details, but we all know what is going on in society, and how it is affecting our home life. But what most of us don't realize is that this directly affects our immune system. The negative thoughts we carry around have a direct impact on our health.
I get it. Bad shit happens. But if we let that eat away at us, our chances of getting sick increase. When we're stressed, the immune system's ability to fight off antigens is reduced. That is why we are more susceptible to infections. The stress hormone corticosteroid can suppress the effectiveness of the immune system (e.g. lowers the number of lymphocytes) (3)
There are many ways to help relieve stress and anxiety in your life. Take a walk in nature, practice meditation, talk to someone, receive regular massages, utilize natural remedies such as essential oils, tinctures, or CBD, journal, practice specific breathing methods, or simply learn to accept that some things are just beyond your control. I'm not saying that this is going to be easy, but it will be worth your time to put the effort in. Your physical and mental health depends on it.
5. Look For Natural Solutions
Mother Nature has been helping us strengthen our immune system since the dawn of time. Look back, before big pharma, and what will you find? Nature! Herbs, flowers, essential oils, and foods we could gather were the things used to maintain health and wellness.
Did you know that some essential oils have been shown to break down the cell wall of bacteria, viruses, and fungi essentially killing it? (4) My particular favorite is a blend most people refer to as Thieves Oil. I've been making my own for a few years, and knock on wood, haven't even had a head cold. Recently I learned of the immune boosting benefits of Elberberries. I purchase mine from That Elderberry Lady.
Some of you may be mumbling to yourself that you're not into the hoo-doo voo-doo, and that's fine. The way I look at is that I would rather use something from nature than deal with the side effects of a man made "drug". So I will continue to use my Thieves Oil Blend, make healthier food choices, and consume my Elderberry products. And yes, I will be making the time to exercise regularly.
Stay healthy my friends!
P.S. I don't get paid or get free stuff to recommend products I use. I trust the products, and love to support small businesses like mine :)