Looking around, it seems that the attention of the whole world suddenly seems to be on health and wellness. Although we wish it didn’t take a global health pandemic for us all to want to be healthier, it does seem appropriate that in this season of coronavirus, the question on most people’s minds is, how do I keep my immune system as strong and healthy as possible?
Our immune systems are a complex network of cells, organs, and processes that defend our bodies against foreign invaders such as viruses, bacterias, and toxins. Like most things, the answer to how to keep our immune system strong is simple, but not easy. The number one thing we can do to boost our immune system is to make healthy lifestyle choices. These include things like eating nutritious foods, getting plenty of sleep, and exercising.
To further break it down and make immune system health accessible to everyone, here are 5 Things You Can Do to Boost Your Immune System. Cheers everybody, here’s to staying healthy and happy during this season and all seasons ahead.
Getting enough good quality sleep is one of the most important things you can do to boost your immune system. When we sleep, our bodies produce and release proteins that fight inflammation and infection. Most of us need seven to eight hours of sleep per night and not getting enough sleep not only makes us irritable, but can also adversely affect our immune systems, making us more susceptible to anything from the common cold to, dare we say it, a virus.
Daily movement is vital to a healthy body and strong immune system. However, with more people working from home than ever before (and skipping that morning commute) and with gyms and yoga studios closed, most of us are getting less exercise at a time when we actually need to be getting more. Thanks to endorphins, exercise boosts our mood and improves mental health, (particularly important in the current climate), and it also strengthens the immune system by supporting immune cell circulation. When we exercise, we encourage these disease-fighting cells to move throughout the body to do their work.
Stress occurs when our bodies produce the stress hormone cortisol as a response to a major life-threatening event (think: running away from a tiger). In small doses, stress can actually have a positive effect on the body, but having too much cortisol in our blood for too long increases inflammation and causes our bodies to produce fewer white blood cells, which are the cells that fight infections and diseases. The good news is that numerous studies show that practicing mindfulness, such as yoga, meditation, or breathwork, for just twenty minutes a day, three to four days a week, lowers our cortisol levels and decreases inflammation.
A new study has found that getting enough Vitamin D - from food, sunlight, and/or supplements - may help reduce the more negative consequences of a respiratory complication from coronavirus. And, in addition to protecting our lungs from this particular threat, the “Sunshine Vitamin” is also great at keeping our immune systems in balance, ensuring that our bodies respond and react appropriately to all outside threats.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a naturally occurring compound that works within our body to create balance and support good health. This particular phytocannabinoid has anti-inflammatory properties and is also an immunomodulator, meaning it can bring an over- or under-active immune system back into balance. Although there is still much to be discovered about the role that CBD plays in our immune health, recent studies indicate that CBD can also have positive effects on our mental health, cellular health, and cardiovascular function as well.