Christmas season is over, it’s dark and blah most days…… And to add more blah to the pile we hear constantly about the whole “cold and flu season” being upon us. And I know it has more people uber stressed as we deal with Covid.
So let’s talk more positively about what we CAN be in control of this month (and all year round for that matter) and that is our own built in cold, flu and virus fighter…..our immune systems.
Put simply, it’s your immune system’s job to defend your body against illness and disease.
The complex system is made up of cells in your skin, blood, bone marrow, tissues, and organs that — when working the way they should — protect your body against potentially harmful pathogens (like bacteria and viruses), and limit damage from noninfectious agents (like sunburn or cancer), according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
I have to say, THAT is pretty cool right??
Think of the immune system as an orchestra. For the best performance, you want every instrument and every musician in the orchestra to perform at its best. You don’t necessarily want one musician performing on double speed or one instrument suddenly producing sound at twice the volume it usually does. You want every component of that orchestra to perform exactly according to plan.
The same goes for your immune system. To best protect your body from harm, every component of your immune system needs to perform exactly according to plan. The best way you can ensure that happens is to practice the good-for-you behaviours every day that your immune system runs on.
Here are Five key ones…
5 Key Ways To Support Your Immune System (and kick colds, flu/virus to the curb!)
1.Enjoy A Healthy Diet
It’s not rocket science that in order to stay healthy, we need to be feeding our bodies the appropriate “stuff”. But let’s face it; it’s not always easy to consistently be eating the things we should….and then having to deal with all the pesticides and environment deficiencies. We do what we can with what we have.
Eating a mainly plant-based diet has been shown to greatly improve overall health.
“Many plant-based foods also have antiviral and antimicrobial properties, which help us fight off infection,” Dr. Lin says. ( an integrative medicine doctor at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. )
Many of you know that I have been “eating” Juiceplus for over 8 years now. It is my flu shot; my nutritional seat belt.
It is essentially fruits and vegetables in a capsule.
I literally eat over 30 DIFFERENT fruits and vegetables everyday for less than $3/day.
*you can’t even get close to that at the grocery store*
All vine-ripened food, GMO and pesticide free and NSF certified. There is no greater researched nutritional supplement on the market. And anyone can see the research; over 45 double blind studies done and counting…..
Being self employed I have always been hyper aware of staying in tip top shape. In a nutshell if I don’t see clients, I don’t earn money. But more-so, who honestly wants to fee like crap anyway?!
I tell you this because I care about helping people living their best lives. And I am proud to be a rep for a company like JuicePlus that is heart-centered and genuinely cares about offering a proven product to not only support the immune system but also to prevent Dis-ease in the body.
If you’re having trouble eating the things you SHOULD be and what you actually ARE, then please, please ask me about JuicePlus.
2. Get Plenty Of Good Quality Sleep
Your body heals and regenerates while you sleep, making adequate sleep critical for a healthy immune response. Ideally, you should be getting at least 7 hours of good sleep every night.Maybe it’s time to think about adopting a healthy night time routine. Turn off that TV and phone AT LEAST 30min before bed. Having any electronics in your bedtime is a crucial no-no. Talk about bad feng shui energy!
To get really technical, sleep is a time when your body produces and distributes key immune cells like cytokines (a type of protein that can either fight or promote inflammation), T cells (a type of white blood cell that regulates immune response), and interleukin 12 (a pro-inflammatory cytokine), according to a review published in Pflugers Archiv European Journal of Physiology.
When you don’t get enough sleep, your immune system may not do these things as well, making it less able to defend your body against harmful invaders and making you more likely to get sick.
Sleep deprivation also elevates cortisol levels,(the stress hormone!) which of course is also not good for immune function.
Drinking high amounts of alcohol is associated with a range of negative health effects, including lowered immune function.When you drink high amounts of alcohol, your body is too busy trying to detoxify your system to bother with normal immune system function.
According to a review published in the journal Alcohol Research in 2015, high levels of alcohol consumption can weaken your body’s ability to fight infection and slow down your recovery time.
As a result, people who drink high amounts of alcohol face a greater likelihood of pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, alcoholic liver disease, and certain cancers, according to the same review.
If you don’t already drink, don’t start. If you drink occasionally, limit your alcohol consumption to one drink (equivalent to a 4-ounce glass of wine) per day if you’re a woman, and two drinks per day if you’re a man~everydayhealth.com
Like alcohol, cigarette smoking can also affect immune health. Anything that’s a toxin can compromise your immune system.
In particular, the chemicals released by cigarette smoke — carbon monoxide, nicotine, nitrogen oxides, and cadmium — can interfere with growth and function of immune cells, like cytokines, T cells, and B cells, according to a November 2016 review in Oncotarget. ~everydayhealth.com
4. Exercise Regularly (especially outdoors when possible)
Anyone who knows me knows that I would rather do ANYTHING than go to a gym.
But exercise doesn’t need to be classes or running on treadmills. I’ve learned to accept myself and understand that if Dawn (yes, I do refer to myself in 3rd person often) thinks it’s actual exercise than she probably won’t do it.
Any fellow Taureans in the house?? Holla! They get it…
So I wanted to find something that got my body MOVING and something I liked. So what does Dawn like?? Well, being outside, dancing and hiking. Boom! We can work with this.
I often take “dance breaks” in my living room so I found a dance class DVD I often do now,(when I’m not shaking it off in said living room), I did get out hiking this year and in the winter I quite enjoy ice skating so I’m looking forward to that.
Exercise increases the release of endorphins (a group of hormones that reduce pain and create feelings of pleasure) making it a great way to manage stress.
“Since stress negatively impacts our immune system, this is another way exercise can improve immune response,” Dr Lin says. (everydayhealth.com)
5.Keep Stress Under Control
According to a review published in the October 2015 issue of Current Opinion in Psychology, long-term stress leads to chronically elevated levels of as the steroid hormone cortisol. ~everydayhealth.comCortisol is beneficial as our “flight or fight” response but only in short bouts at a time. But when cortisol levels are constantly high, it essentially blocks the immune system from kicking into gear and doing its job to protect the body against potential threats from germs like viruses and bacteria.
Excess cortisol also keeps us from losing weight and causes us to collect more fat around our abdomens too!! EEEEK
There are many stress-relieving techniques out there. The key is to find ones that work for you. Meditation is always good but if you find it challenging, try using an App like Calm or Insight (I use that one).
Journaling, dancing, walking in nature, cooking, reading, talking to friends, bubble baths, self care treatments (like with Healing With Dawn) 😉 (totally shameless plug!) are just a few options.
Try to do at least one stress-reducing activity every day. Short on time? Start small. Set aside five minutes at some point each day for fun and increase it when you can.