Immune-boosting techniques are undoubtedly a perpetual topic that people scour the internet for this time every year. Why? Well because no one wants to be sick; that’s obvious. While it is always important to work just as hard on our immune systems as we do those summer bods, this year in particular it is even more crucial. I probably don’t need to tell you why, but just in case, it’s because in true 2020 fashion we not only have all our normal fugly bacteria and viruses, but also decided to add in coronavirus. But really, we just need to be aware of how to care for and prepare our bodies to ward off any type of virus or infection.
How Can I Boost My Immune System Quickly?
Like anything else regarding our health, the secret is in the sauce. You…you’re the sauce. Fighting viruses and diseases starts with prevention. When actively working on immune-boosting techniques to get our frontline defenders in tip-top shape, we’re also lessening the attack on our bodies if we do come down with a cold, the flu, coronavirus, or any other nasty invader. Yes, even your breast health starts with a healthy body and strong immune system.
These techniques are not new (but maybe one or two are new to you), or mind blowing, but when our lives get hectic sometimes we need subtle reminders of the how and why. Especially when it comes to our health. Really there could be 35+ tips, but let’s give you a few you can focus on that will make an enormous impact on your health.
So here are the 5 points we’re going to cover today (but keep reading because even if you know them you might just learn something new about the “why” to keep you taking care of your health this winter):
1-Exercise—You don’t have to act like you’re training for a triathlon; just move your body
2-Sleep—No, coffee isn’t a replacement
3-Food—The Holy Grail to perfect health
4-Vitamin D—Including some surprising info related to COVID-19
5-Elderberry—The goddess of immune-building
People often leave out this step to taking care of their immune system because they either don’t enjoy it, or feel like they don’t have the time to get a “good” workout in. Not everyone has to be a fitness junkie, but everyone does need some sort of exercise.
Physical activity can actually help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways (ahem, reducing your chances of a cold, flu, coronavirus, etc.). It also causes changes in antibodies and white blood cells, that are part of your immune system cells that fight disease. Exercise increases circulation. Good circulation helps the cells, and other substances in your immune system, to more efficiently move through your body and work their disease fighting awesomeness.
You don’t need to get overwhelmed with this step. Start small by going for a 10 minute walk in the morning, or at night. Get your family to go with you (or maybe just the dog if you prefer silence). Just get your body moving in some way you find enjoyable so it becomes something you look forward to.
Sleep Your Way to a Stronger Immune System
Does that sound crazy? If it does, that’s probably because we live in a society that wears our lack of sleep like a badge of honor. We try to survive on less sleep and more coffee. Yet our lack of sleep is incredibly counterproductive to not only our physical health, but also how we perform on a day-to-day basis. We have a habit of feeling guilty for choosing sleep over attempting to check a couple of more things off of our to-do lists.
The CDC reports that 7-19% of adults do not get enough sleep (I’d bet it is actually way higher than that). So if that’s you, check out some of the things skipping out on those “extra” Zzzzs does to you:
-You are less productive (ironic, right?)
-Mood swings and increased irritability
-Relationship problems (perhaps related to the point above??)
-Higher risk of death, stemming from problems related to your immune system and your heart
So what’s happening with our bodies when we do get enough sleep?
-Repairing damaged tissue
-Strengthening our immune systems
Don’t feel guilty. Close that laptop, put down those dishes, or whatever else you’re doing, and get some sleep. You’ll get them done in half the time in the morning when you’re well-rested.
Immune-Boosting Foods…The Holy Grail to Perfect Health
Maintaining a healthy diet keeps the immune system balanced and ready to fight against viruses and infections. Everything we put in our bodies either helps us, or hurts us. It’s either nourishing our bodies and strengthening our immune system, or causing inflammation and making us more susceptible to disease.
Many of us know this, but with busy lifestyles, long work days, and managing our households, ease and convenience can win the battle. However, convenient, prepackaged foods like the ones people tend to stock up on when worried about stay-at-home orders, tend to be destructive to our immune system. If you need some help determining what types of foods to work into your family’s diet, check out our blog on Incorporating Immune-Boosting Foods into your Menu and Help Prevent Sickness. We’ve got some golden nuggets in there to help you take the guesswork out of preparing an immune-boosting grocery list!
Vitamin D Reduces Infection and Disease
Did you know that vitamin D deficiency has surfaced as a primary factor for severe COVID-19 infection and death? In fact, higher vitamin D levels have been noted as lowering your risk for even testing for the virus in the first place.
Vitamin D is vital to the function of immune cells in our bodies. Low vitamin D not only increases your risk of infections, but also makes you more susceptible to autoimmune conditions. No one wants to take a laundry list of daily supplements, but this immune-boosting supplement is one you don’t want to go without.
Vitamin D is such a powerhouse that research has shown women who have a vitamin D level at or above 60 ng/mL (150 nmol/L) have an 82% lower risk of breast cancer compared to those with levels below 20 ng/mL (50 nmol/L). This was shown in a study published in June of 2018 by GrassrootsHealth PLOS ONE.
What are you waiting for? Get some now! We have vitamin D available in our office for $27.
Elderberry for Immune Support
The berries and flowers of the elder plant have been used for thousands of years. Hippocrates, the “father of medicine”, used elderberry due to its vast health benefits; including its ability to fight colds, the flu, allergies, and inflammation.
A study published in The Journal of International Medical research showed that the duration of flu symptoms subsided as much as 4 days earlier when elderberry was used within the first 48 hours of symptom onset. In addition, the use of rescue medication was substantially less when elderberry extract was administered compared to the placebo.
Something that I find particularly cool about elderberry supplements is that they can work beyond preventative measures. Elderberry has the ability to lessen a virus’ chances of replicating…even AFTER a cell has been infected! Now that’s some powerful stuff right there.
If you’re looking for a good elderberry supplement (because we know not all supplements are created equal), we have one. Just swing by the office and grab yours!
These tips are a great step in the right direction to get your body on track to be an illness and infection fighting powerhouse. Little choices each day add up to big results over time.