As promised from last week’s post, we wanted to share the 5 Ways to Support Your Immune System this cold & flu season!
As you can see below, there is A LOT you can do to support your immune system. Not sure where to start? First, read and implement Dr. Alioto’s tips below and if you still have questions or want a supportive plan from a Naturopathic Medical Doctor, then consider booking your no risk Discovery Call, TODAY!
Sleep is important to keep your brain and immune system highly functioning. Your adrenals, which release the stress hormone cortisol, are often in overdrive while you try to balance work, family, friends and time for yourself. Sleep is when your body recovers from daily stress and also fights pathogens, so it’s important to aim for 7-9 hours of sleep every night so your adrenals can rest and your body can recover. If you are low on sleep, not only do healthy dietary decisions take a plummet, but the lack of sleep also suppresses your immune system.
Healthy dietary choices are one of the most important aspects of maintaining a strong immune system. Remember, the majority of your immune system is in your gut, so it’s no wonder diet is important. Fresh whole foods also have a lot of beneficial vitamins, minerals, nutrients and antioxidants. When your body is deficient in certain nutrients, it creates an imbalance and your body can’t function optimally to fight pathogens. One of the most well known nutrients for immune health is vitamin C, found in fruits and vegetables. Other important constituents in food that directly relate to immune health are vitamin D, vitamin A, zinc and probiotics. And where do you get these important nutrients? Whole foods of course! This is why fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, fermented foods and some seeds are so vital to a healthy system.
Additionally, it is important to limit sugar and caloric beverages in your diet to keep your blood sugar and weight in check. Too much sugar drives up blood sugar, but then when the blood sugar drops again, our cortisol spikes, thus leading to decreased immune system, compromised adrenals and inflammation. Instead of high sugar foods and drinks, opt for more water, unsweetened teas, seltzer water or dark chocolate as a treat.
You already know that exercising is healthy for you, but you might be surprised to know that it is also beneficial for your immune system. This is because exercise circulates blood through our body leading to increased activity of the white blood cells, thus being able to recognize and destroy foreign invaders sooner. Additionally, exercise promotes better sleep, which also supports the immune system (see above).
Aiming to exercise at least 20-30 minutes 2-3x/week is going to relieve a lot of stress and give you energy. Studies show that regular exercise (done properly) actually decreases cortisol and boosts our immune system. We are all busy, so prioritizing exercise might not always happen. Some days it could just be getting up from your desk and taking a 10 minute walk or waking up 10 minutes earlier to do some jumping jacks or yoga stretches before your morning shower. Exercise is a commitment, but it doesn’t have to be difficult, just ask Coach Dave Downey, Owner Head Coach at OPEX Santa Barbara. David and his team believe that every individual is unique, therefore their exercise program should be as well. Commitment doesn’t mean pushing yourself to the brink of exhaustion every single time you go to the gym, but it does mean sticking to a plan and placing trust in the process. They believe YOUR goals and YOUR priorities dictate your fitness and they have the expertise to get you the results you’re looking for!
Remember, exercise will keep your body healthy, boost your immune system, keep your blood flowing to increase metabolism and help with a good nights sleep! Make sure you’ve got a solid, sustainable plan!
Finding balance in life can be a challenge, which is why it is essential for your health. Imbalance can lead to disease, so find balance by taking time for yourself. Show self-love through meditation, taking a bath, breathing, reading, or start a gratitude journal. These small habits decrease stress and cortisol and calm your body and mind, thus leading to a more robust immune system!
When your body is compromised, meaning you need more nutrition than you can get from food or you are having recurrent colds, supplements can be very helpful. Whether they come from oral supplementation or intravenously, the body can use this extra nutrition to its benefit to help fight disease. At RHMC, we can support you with specific doses of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and herbs, all synergistically working together to help your body get back to balance.
Phew! Plenty of great info, huh? Again, if you’re not sure where to start, we suggest that you take advantage of our no risk next step by setting up your Discovery Call today to learn exactly how we can help get you the health you’ve always wanted and deserve!
Dr. Alioto, NMD | Regenerate Health Medical Center