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Immunity Boost – How to Create Healthy Habits that Support Your Body’s Defense System
Countless times every day, our bodies are attacked. Illness-carrying bacteria confront us in the workplace, our kids bring viruses home from school, and even at the gym — where we go to strengthen our bodies — we connect with germs that threaten our health.
When these germs gain a foothold, they can result in illness. A common cold or flu is a well-known manifestation of exposure to germs, but there are many other conditions that result from germs, including joint pain, digestive issues, and chronic fatigue. Even skin issues and hair loss can be a sign that our body is dealing with some type of infection.
Thankfully, the body’s immune system stands as a defense against the constant onslaught posed by bacteria, viruses, and toxins. It fights back against foreign invaders, identifying germs and deploying natural deterrents. It’s essential to adopt habits that boost our immune defenses to give it the support it needs. Remember, a strong immune system equals a healthier, more vibrant you.
Factors that weaken the immune system
Under ideal conditions, the body’s immune system has everything it needs to fight off illness. However, conditions are often less than ideal. Many factors related to our environments and lifestyles can have a negative impact on the immune system, leaving the body vulnerable to illness.
Stress is at the top of the list of factors that can compromise the body’s immunity and this occurs when the body and the brain are knocked out of balance. Stress can result from psychological, physical, and environmental factors that leave the body vulnerable to these imbalances. This can lock up the body’s ability to act as a defense against these various components that can deplete immune response.
In 2023, stress is at an all-time high. The global pandemic created a culture of heightened anxiety and complexities with life overall. The last few years have exposed people to trauma from violence, grief, financial hardship, social isolation, relational disadvantages, and loss of security. For many people, the stress response was turned on and left on, leaving the body in long-term “emergency mode.” This results in a breakdown of the body’s systems, especially its immune system.
Steps to strengthen the immune system
There are a variety of healthy habits that can boost the body’s immunity to support the body’s overall health. They alleviate stressors that the body experiences when it is forced to function without the basic components of a healthy lifestyle.
Maintaining a healthy diet is one step that delivers major benefits to the immune system. This should include establishing gut health by eating gut-healthy foods and decreasing the amount of processed fructose and other sugars in the diet. High sugar intake can also lead to inflammation, which challenges proper immune function. Avoiding alcohol, which can destroy gut health and trigger inflammation, is another dietary habit that can boost the body’s immunity.
A balanced diet ensures that the body gets the nutrients that it needs to support proper immune function and typically results in a healthy weight, which decreases the risk of chronic diseases. Without proper nutrition the immune system can be overtaxed and weakened by the work it must do to address chronic diseases and other lingering illnesses.
Exercise is another habit that delivers a variety of benefits to immunity. Not only can it reduce stress, but exercise also improves the functioning of the lymphatic and circulatory systems, both of which play a role in strengthening immunity. Exercise can also trigger the production of the white blood cells that play an essential role in fortifying the body’s protective network.
Embracing rejuvenating sleep habits is a key ingredient in unlocking your body’s full immune potential. As you drift off into dreamland, your body produces cytokines, proteins that not only enhance your slumber but can also help ward off infections and inflammation.
Neglecting your sleep, however, can disrupt cytokine production and harm both your mental and emotional well-being, resulting in increased stress and a less resilient immune system. By prioritizing restorative sleep, you complement other immune-boosting efforts like a nutritious diet and regular exercise. Remember, skimping on sleep reverses the positive steps you’ve taken, leaving your immune system vulnerable. Be sure to give your body the rest it deserves so you can experience a direct path to holistic balance.
Paying attention to signals from the immune system
By nature, our bodies are not intended to be constantly plagued by illnesses or burdened by an array of symptoms. Pain and illness should alert us to the fact that the body is not getting the immune support it needs. We should treat these negative symptoms like a GPS system that leads us to make the appropriate changes, guiding us down the road that allows us to have a more vibrant experience with living.
When we take the time to boost our immunity, we not only experience less sickness — we unlock energy reserves, sharpen our focus, and foster mental clarity for a more rewarding experience with life. Overall, establishing better immunity within our bodies means we are able to live a longer, healthier life.