There is an army at work within all of our bodies — it is called the immune system. Two main factors determine the condition of our immune system; heredity and lifestyle. There is nothing we can do about our heredity, except learn from it. However, we all can do something about our lifestyles. Changing our lifestyle can not only improve our chances of avoiding the chronic diseases which plague our world, but may also help to reverse some hereditary challenges that were passed down. Here are seven simple ways to support your immune system—the internal army—that gives your body a fighting chance against disease and illness.
Many of the disease conditions that exist have to do with what we eat. Diets which are refined, high in fat, and low in fiber are largely responsible for conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers and more. These health challenges tax the immune system and also put us at risk for infections and death. Plant-based nutrition offers your body phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that help to support your whole body, including your immune system. In many cases plant-based nutrition has been shown to be helpful in prevention, and reversal of some diseases. Thousands of years ago, the father of medicine, Hippocrates, said, “let thy food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Unfortunately the food that many people eat ends up putting them on medicine. Isn’t it time to change that?
If you would have good health you must have good circulation of blood flow. And in order to have good circulation of blood flow, regular physical activity is necessary. We were created for movement but sedentary lifestyles have become too much of the norm. This only helps to facilitate obesity, diabetes, heart disease and many more disease conditions. People who exercise regularly have been shown to have stronger immune systems, are less prone to illness and recover quicker if they do become ill. Someone once said, “more people rust out than wear out.” Why not begin optimizing your immune system by committing to regular exercise?
Plenty of Water
Water could easily be dubbed, “the elixir of life.” It is a cleanser and healer used internally and externally. Water plays a vital role in most of the functions of the human body and is necessary for an active and strong immune system. It helps to transport oxygen and nutrients to your body cells, and also in removing toxins from the body. Choosing other drinks such as soda, caffeinated beverages and alcohol can actually be counterproductive to a well-functioning immune system. Are you willing to avoid toxic buildup and nourish every cell in your body by drinking plenty of water every day?
Limit Sugar Intake
Consuming refined and added sugars can contribute to weight gain, decreased efficiency of white blood cells, increased risk of disease, fatigue, clouded mental functioning and more. Avoiding refined sugary foods and beverages can help optimize your immune health. Why not commit to dumping those sugary items today?
Avoid Tobacco and Alcohol
Studies have shown that tobacco is an immunosuppressant, and people who use tobacco have weakened immune systems, are more prone to illness, and have a slower recovery time. Alcohol similarly weakens the immune system and can make you more susceptible to bacterial and viral infections. This is no time for a weakened immune response. Why not kick these dangerous habits right now and experience greater health?
Do you spend most of your time indoors with very little sun exposure? If you answered yes, you are not alone. Unless you have a job that requires you to be outside a lot, most people appear to spend the majority of their days inside. This is not the best plan for good health. Research indicates that many people are vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D is crucial for a well-functioning immune system and with consistent sun exposure you can get the vitamin D boost you need to help strengthen your immune system. It has been shown that 15 to 30 minutes of regular, mild sun exposure can increase vitamin D to healthy levels. Why not take a daily walk and get regular sunlight?
Lights! Media! …and too much Action! Society has all but turned night into day, and it is not without a huge impact on our physical and mental health. Research has shown that getting a good night’s sleep is as essential to good health as proper nutrition and regular exercise. Numerous studies indicate that sound sleep improves immune cells known as T cells. These cells fight against pathogens such as virus-infected cells. Getting sufficient hours—seven to eight—of high-quality sleep enables a well-balanced immune defense. Quality sleep helps to refresh, repair and rebuild the body and strengthen the immune system to protect you from foreign invaders. Are you willing to “shut down”, “power off”, and “logout” to get proper rest each and every night?
Disease, including many infections, have been around a long time, with more seemingly emerging almost every year. The good news is that you don’t have to see yourself as a helpless victim. We, perhaps, won’t be able to fight off every disease, but with a well-functioning immune system, we may be able to position ourselves to be at a much lower risk of developing or contracting most of the diseases that threaten our world. Why not begin today to adopt these seven simple, but powerful lifestyle habits for a healthier immune system.