As the weather changes and new schedules start, our bodies are put under a lot of stress. Colds and flus often accompany these changes. Why? Stress lowers our immune defenses and thus we succumb into the fall and early winter’s wrath.
Here are six (6) ways to boost the immune system and help keep the colds away.
- Avoid Sugar: Sugar affects the gut bacteria and disrupts probiotic balance
- ~70% of our immune system is in our gut, so when digestion isn’t functioning properly, our immune system isn’t either
- Sugar and vitamin C have similar chemical structure so when we eat cookies, candy, etc. those sugars compete with vitamin c to under the cell; basically increased sugar consumption= decreased vitamin C absorption
- Sleep: Studies show that sleep affects our immune function and white blood cells (WBCs)
- Have a regular sleep schedule= sleep and wake at same time everyday
- Implement relaxing nighttime ritual= baths, reading, tea, meditation, etc. Turn off electronics at least 1 hour before bed
- We need 7-9 hours of sleep per night
- Reduce/limit stress: Chronic stress alters immune system and leads to disease because cortisol (stress hormone) interferes with WBCs and lowers immunoglobulin A (IgA), which lines our respiratory and intestinal tract and is our first line defense against invading pathogens
- Have a plan to relieve stress daily= yoga, walking, art, reading, etc.
- Exercise: Increases blood flow and sweat to aid body in excreting toxins, decrease stress and raise body temperature to fight off pathogens
- Also aids in bone and cardiovascular health
- If you can’t exercise, try the sauna which also aids body in excreting toxins and boosts the immune system
- Supplementation: If you are sick, have chronic infections or need a boost add these to your routine. Note: dosing varies based on age and weight.
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin C
- Drink plenty of water: We should be drinking ½ our body weight in ounces of water per day! It is important for our bodies to stay well hydrated in order to flush toxins out of the body.
Make sure 2019 is off to a good start by making yourself a priority!