Updated: Aug 17
The immune system is a group of internal structures and systems working to protect the body from disease and other damaging foreign bodies. The health of the immune system relies on other parts of the body functioning properly, as well as lifestyle choices.
A weakened immune system can show up as an autoimmune disease, inflammation, and/or digestive troubles.
Here are some of the contributing factors to ensure your immune system is working its best.
Stress contributes to many health struggles and can worsen the symptoms of others. Cortisol is the body's chemical response to stress. Cortisol naturally helps regulate blood sugar levels, helps regulate metabolism and can help reduce inflammation. Stress causes cortisol levels to rise and as a result, the body’s healing properties are disrupted.
Stress management is a common thread in cultivating and maintaining overall wellbeing. And, again managing your stress plays a vital role in immune system function. Another common thread to maintaining overall health is getting an adamant amount of sleep each night.
You can visit our blog for stress management tools and recommendations to support a good night’s sleep.
Don’t Over Sanitize
When flu season is in full effect or when a bug is floating around the office it becomes tempting to over sanitize. Washing your hands is important and can help protect you from catching the bug but over washing hands can lead to dry, cracked skin which can also leave you susceptible to germs.
It is always a great idea to wash your hands in the restroom, before and after preparing food, and when you might have come in contact with someone under the weather. It is also important to give your workstation an occasional wipe down and carry hand sanitizer while travelling.
Just remember, some exposure to germs is a good thing. Living in a sterile environment can weaken the immune system The only way to build immunity is to be exposed to germs.
Regular exercise can help keep all bodily functions working properly, and can help protect against the effects of obesity.
There are many modalities of exercise and just thirty minutes of heart pumping exercise each day, goes an incredibly long way,The key to exercise success-- choose something enjoyable.
Eat for Immunity
Making healthy food choices seems like a no brainer, but these foods in particular support the immune system.
Citrus is loaded with vitamin C, and supports white blood cell production.
Broccoli should be a part of everyone’s diet. Broccoli is packed full of vitamins A, C, E and antioxidants Pro tip: cook it as little as possible to keep the nutrients in tact.
Garlic historically fights infection and helps to lower blood pressure.
Ginger decreases inflammation, helps soothe a sore throat and can help with nausea.
Spinach is rich in vitamin C and is rich in antioxidants. Spinach is another veggie to cook as little as possible but a gentle steam can also bring some of the nutrients to the forefront.
Turmeric is a great anti-Inflammatory. Adding black pepper where turmeric has been added supports efficient nutrient absorption. You can also try Golden Milk.
It is always important to cover your mouth if you have a cough and it is continuously important to keep your hands away from your mouth, eyes, and nose. These preventative measures will always support immunity, combined with the recommendations above, you will be on your way to optimal health in no time.
As always, check in with your doctor before making any drastic lifestyle changes.