Sick, again? If you find yourself frequently sneezing and sniffling, it may be time to see what’s going on with your immune system.
When our immune system is weak our bodies become moving targets for all kind of nasty illnesses and infections. The good news is with the proper steps we can strengthen our system and shut down our chances for developing serious health problems later.
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Strengthen your immune system
By adopting these daily health habits, you may just avoid next flu season all together.
- Eat your vitamins
Our bodies rely on us to make healthy eating choices. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins are jam packed with the antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients that our immune system needs to arm itself.
When we replace nutritious foods with sugary and high-fat meals, we are actually disarming our defenses. In fact, sugar is the number one enemy of the immune system. According to a study reported in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, high levels of sugar in blood cells actually stops white blood cells from recognizing and fighting off disease.
By eating a healthy and colorful variety of fruits, vegetables and other whole foods, you’ll be able to provide your system with illness-fighting vitamins C & E, as well the antioxidants that your body needs. Load up on spinach, citruses, kale, nuts, seeds and small amounts of lean protein for maximum benefit. Lean protein is also packed with zinc – a powerful protection that your immune system craves.
- Stress less
When we’re stressed, our body responds by triggering our ‘fight or flight’ reactions. Our immune system prepares itself for the worst type of illnesses and injuries. This type of enhanced response is designed to protect us during emergencies, and is not meant and not healthy for us to experience on a daily basis.
When we suffer from chronic stress, our body produces more cortisol, which actually depletes the number of T-cells (white blood cells) that are in our blood – so when you are really sick, your body is not prepared to fight for you.
Doctor Patrick Bouic, Ph.D., author of the “The Immune System Cure” puts it best: “Excessive stress, either physical or mental, has a detrimental effect on the optimal functioning of the immune system. It is like the card that finally tips the balance on the house of cards, bringing everything crashing down.”
Relax. Whether yoga is your thing, or a long walk is what helps you clear your head, find ways that help you de-stress during the day.
- Sleep more
Sleep deprivation is a common link to a weak immune system. Diwakar Balachandran, MD, at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston says, “A lot of studies show our T-cells go down if we are sleep deprived. The more all-nighters you pull, the more likely you are to decrease your body’s ability to respond to colds or bacterial infections.”
Go to bed early and wake up early to tackle that work project. You’ll feel better and more focused.
- Limit your alcoholic drinks
Excessive alcohol consumption has been linked to a suppressed immune system. Alcohol is absorbed through the bloodstream and destroys those precious white blood cells. It reduces the ability of white cells to fight tumors and cancer, and robs your body of nutrients – canceling out the good stuff in your diet. So think before you have the beer after work!
- The balance of exercise
Leading a sedentary lifestyle isn’t good for any system in the body – and the immune system is no exception. Cleveland Clinic online suggests taking 20-minute walks, five times a week to help boost a variety of the immune systems defenses. On the flip side, too much exercise can put a strain on the body, causing too much stress and weakening the immune system.
Our immune system motto? Rest more, eat better, exercise right and sneeze less. We’ll take it.