The spring of 2020 will be known through all of history as a very stressful perod. Earlier today, an acquaintance of mine said: “We are living through an historic time.” To say the least, it is a very stressful time. Due to the coronavirus and disruptions in our everyday lives, the economy and inconveniences our health may be at risk. This article will discuss 5 ways to strengthen our immune systems and counteract the effects of stress on our bodies.
When we are injured, sick or under stress our body creates inflammation. We all know that if we sprain our ankle it gets swollen and inflamed. If we get a respiratory virus our sinuses react with a runny nose, sneezing and coughing. When we are under excessive stress, we produce inflammatory chemicals called cortisol and catecholamines. If inflammation is limited to a short-term, time frame we will recover and heal. However, if inflammatory chemicals linger and become chronic it is deleterious to our health. Chronic inflammation leads to impairment of our immune system. Fortunately, there are natural ways to strengthen our immune systems.
Here are five natural ways to strengthen your immune system:
- Avoid sugar, sweets and grains like cereal, pasta and bread. These all contain carbohydrates, which when digested cause high blood sugar. They also cause the body to become acidic. High blood sugar and an acidic environment weakens the immune system. Instead, eat lots of vegetables, especially of the cruciferous variety, which includes kale, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens and Brussels sprouts. Also eat foods that have good protein and good fats like eggs, beef and chicken. Helpful fats like olive oil, flaxseed oil, safflower oil and coconut oil are wonderfully utilized to strengthen our immune systems.
- Get 30 minutes of exercise per day. Moderate exercise such as walking, weight and resistance training have been shown to lead to a higher number of white blood cells which help to fight infection. Since many gyms, health clubs and exercise facilities have been closed, to promote social distancing, it is certainly permissible and recommended to get outdoors and engage in some sort of physical exercise.
- Get your sleep! Most people benefit from eight hours of sleep. I like to say that: “Our immune systems are working hardest, while we’re sleeping.” You can really supercharge your immune system if you make sure you get your rest.
- Obtain the sunshine vitamin! The sunshine vitamin is vitamin D3. This vitamin enhances the immune system. If the weather is nice enough in your area, you can get direct sunlight exposure on your face, arms and legs for 15 minutes/day to manufacture adequate vitamin D3. If it is too cold or cloudy where you live to receive direct sunlight skin exposure, you can do nutritional supplementation of 5000-10,000 IU’s/day in a capsule form for adults. Check with your healthcare specialists to know how much vitamin D3 children and infants require.
- Manage daily stress as well as situations beyond your control. One simple technique we can all practice is gratitude. Although many circumstances may be confronting us, we can always think of a number of things to be grateful for. Happiness is directly correlated to the gratitude that we have in our lives.
The best way to prevent illness is to strengthen our immune system. The five natural ways to strengthen the immune system listed above will help to keep your immune system strong!