Knowing how to support your immune system is so important.
The immune system in a sense is like a team of bouncers at a club (our bodies being the venue/hosts). Better yet, they can be compared to a highly trained S.W.A.T. team when the system is maintained and functioning optimally. This team helps us to heal wounds, protects us against pathogens (bacteria, virus, parasites, and other microorganisms that can cause disease), and assists in preventing infection.
The intricacies and inner workings of the entire system is extremely intelligent and pretty badass. Simply put – our immune system helps to keep us healthy. A well functioning immune system, not hyper (over-reacting) or hypo (under-reacting), but balanced and strong, is integral to our overall health. A disruption in the equilibrium can be as subtle as constant nagging colds and flus, an upset stomach and GI (gastrointestinal issues), heightened sensitivity to allergens, and/or fatigue, to name a few. And as serious as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, lupus, and cancer to mention a few illnesses.
Health is wealth! And this rings the most true when someone has felt what it feels like to be out of that feel good rhythm when the body is functioning optimally. These days (post industrial era and with the introduction of all sorts of chemicals and strange disease creating compounds) our bodies are already more susceptible than ever to environmental toxins in almost everything around us. Harmful chemicals in materials that make up the clothes we wear, plastics that leach into what we drink out of, pollutants from pesticides in the air we breathe and the food we eat. It’s a lot! Why put any extra stress on our systems, that more often than not, have our backs? If anything, now more than ever is the responsibility and necessity to support our immune systems, so that we can live happy and healthy lives.
The exciting and empowering thing is that there are many ways we can foster a robust and thriving immune system. Here are a few tips on how to support your immune system:
Get off the couch! Moderate exercise is said to be the best, versus a sedentary lifestyle or pushing it to the extremes. Have you heard of our Salty Club mobile workout optimization app? *hint hint* No better time to start your wellness journey than today!
2: Where can you eliminate chronic stress?
Stress shows up differently for us then our ancestors. It can look like, fumbling to pay bills and handling credit card debt, to social stress elicited by false realities of social media, unhealthy relationship dynamics, and simply how hard we are on ourselves and others. Stress directly impacts our immune system. What can we adjust that is in our control?
3: Mindfulness Meditation
When our nervous system is losing the plot, our immune system suffers. Meditation can help. Think of it as the training center on how to handle triggering moments with more ease (less stressful response) and a quicker return back to baseline (less chronic stress). As simple as 10 minutes/day can work wonders.
4: Prioritize Quality Sleep
Immune health and sleep are interconnected. A collection of tips to a more restful sleep include, ditching the coffee and caffeinated things by noon, planning an earlier dinner time, retiring from the phone early, getting a sweat on during the day (ideally outside), tweaking your room so it’s cool in temperature, axing alcohol, and last but not least opting for ear plugs to cancel out noise and an eye cover to block out light.
5: Slow down on the booze
Excessive alcohol consumption has been proven to lower sleep quality (body isn’t able to enter REM), messes with gut health, and gives the liver extra work. The liver is like the sergeant of the body and we need to keep it happy and rested too.
6: Double-down on great friends
The people we surround ourselves with have an impact on our health. Choosing to be around those who inspire and elicit joy, whom we have positive interactions with, also support our immune systems.
7: Gut Health
Not all bacteria and viruses are bad. The majority of microbiota, which is made up of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other single-celled organisms living in the human body, call the gut home. Collectively they play critical roles in the development and functioning of the immune system. Some say that 60-80% of the human immune system resides in our digestive tract.
Fermented foods such as kombucha (unpasteurized), homemade kimchi and sauerkraut, and kefir water, are a few great ways to help support gut health. A probiotic supplement can help too! Which can be found at your local health food and natural supplement store. They are usually kept in the fridge, as the live-cultures need to stay cold.
9: Eat More Plants
Healthy nutrition is an integral part to a thriving immune system. Eating habits that are plant-rich; have healthy fats and good proteins; and are void of pesticides, chemicals, and junk food, refined sugar and carbs; as well as, ditching the dairy, including cheese (bummer…I know), have been said to support overall health. Find a whole bunch of plant-based recipes here or read through our recent post: “Plant Based Proteins”.