5 Tips for a Healthy Immune System
Simply put, the immune system is made up of billions of cells travelling through the bloodstream. These cells move in and out of tissues and organs, defending the body against foreign bodies such as bacteria, viruses and cancerous cells. Truly, building and protecting your immune system boils down to a cellular effort! With this understanding, one realizes that the best way to avoid all of the common colds and viruses that so many of us fall victim too during flu season, is to build and maintain a strong and healthy immune system. The five best ways to build a healthy immune system are to focus on adequate hydration, supplementation, probiotics and gut health, adequate and quality sleep, and stress reduction.
It’s long been known that vitamin C is good for your immune system, but it’s not enough to just eat oranges. With today’s modernized agricultural industry, the priority is quantity of production rather than quality and therefore, our soils are depleted of micronutrients and minerals and a large amount of commercially grown fruit is insufficient for optimal health. To get enough vitamin C we would need to eat approximately 24 oranges per day! Taking quality vitamins and supplements is important in maintaining a strong immune system and giving your body the nutrients and antioxidants that it needs for your body to function optimally on a cellular level.
Keeping your body and cells well hydrated with adequate amounts of clean, filtered water allows the body to function the way it was designed to. When your body is hydrated, all organs and systems are able to function better, including the digestive, respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Our overall health stems from health at the cellular level. The human body is made up of approximately 37 TRILLION cells that are continuously replenishing themselves and when given the right amount of nutrients and hydration, they are able to support our bodies in amazing ways. Just like a seed planted into dirt, we must give our body water, sunlight, nutrients and love for it to grow into a beautiful self-actualize manifestation of itself.
Did you know that 60-70% of the immune system’s function begins in your colon? When there are tons of old toxins hanging around in the bowel, it slows down the gut function and therefore leads to a compromised immune system. An easy way to support the digestive and immune systems is by taking a probiotic. Probiotics help to improve the digestive system and overall gut health, thereby keeping the colon functioning effectively. In this way, a strong digestive system has a direct correlation to a strong and healthy immunity.
Adequate quality sleep directly effects your immune system in a big way. A lack of quality sleep, or not enough sleep makes you more likely to get sick when exposed to a virus such as the common cold. Lack of sleep can also affect how quickly you recover if you do get sick. Without getting too scientific, your body creates, and releases proteins called cytokines during the sleep period. Certain cytokines are needed when you have an infection or any kind of inflammation, or when your body is under stress. Without adequate, regular quality sleep, these infection-fighting antibodies are limited, and therefore your immune system is compromised or weakened. Long term lack of sleep also increases your risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, leading to decreased overall health. Therefore, your body needs sleep to defend and fight infectious diseases and maintain a strong and healthy immune system.
Stress. This is the big one. Simply put, stress increases cortisol levels in the body as well as inflammation. High levels of cortisol can supress the effectiveness of the immune system, and chronic inflammation in the body weakens the immune system over time. Stress is also linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, asthma and gastric ulcers as chronic inflammation weakens the bodies cellular health and integrity. Therefore, stress responses place and increased strain on many of the bodies systems as both heart rate and blood pressure are increased. While the body
As I was writing this article over the last week, I was also preparing for a big event on the weekend. Despite taking my vitamins, getting enough water and keeping my body moving, I had a few late nights, early mornings and very busy and chaotic days. I let my stress get the best of me, and by Friday evening I could tell in my body that I felt exhausted, anxious and burnt out. Sure enough, just in time for the big event, I came down with whichever bug was being passed around. Friends and family around me complained of how terrible this particular cold had them feeling, just how sick they were and how long it would linger.
I took a day to hydrate, rest and most importantly relax. I put aside all of my duties and tasks, put down the to-do list to focus on my health and well-being, and regained my strength and immunity by focusing on these five essential points for optimal immune system function. Within a day or two I was back to feeling vibrant and energized!! Building and maintaining a strong and healthy immune system is a daily practice and part of living a holistic, balanced lifestyle.
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Love and Light,