5 Simple Ways to Build a Strong Immune System
By: Jonathan Taylor
In this time of global fear, uncertainty, and feelings of helplessness, I want to bring to your attention the power that YOU already possess to build the most important, complex system in your body, and helping stave off anything that comes against it…YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM! Consider the following 5 simple steps you can personally take today to build a strong and resilient immune system:
1. Get enough sleep! It is recommended that the body gets a minimum of 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Research shows that getting deep and consistent sleep actually improves immune function by specifically improving your immune cells, also known as T cells. In addition, Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is released during the body’s deep sleep cycles, which helps aid and rebuild tissue within the human body. Can’t go to sleep? Try turning off electronic devices at least 1 hour before getting some shut-eye. Electronics before bed suppresses the release of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone, making it more difficult to fall asleep. Get quality rest to aid your body in defense!
2. Drink lots of water! The average human body is made up of about 60% water. Water is used for everything including function, maintenance, and survival! The body can go up to 40 days without food, but only 7 days without water! Also, did you know that the body uses as much water during sleep as when you are awake? Translation? We need lots of it! Drinking enough water helps your body naturally ‘flush’ and eliminate toxins and bacteria that may cause illness. Common denominator? Drink LOTS of good, filtered water! And in my case, CHUG THE JUG!
3. Minimize stress! When the human body is stressed, it responds by secreting a hormone known as cortisol. In acute situations, this is a good thing by increasing heart rate and opening veins for greater blood flow. However, when the body is constantly exposed to cortisol because of heightened levels of fear and anxiety, this will then lead to greater levels of inflammation. And what happens when you are constantly inflamed? An overworked, over-tired immune system! Fear and stress leads to greater susceptibility to illness and infection. Try to set the electronic devices down and limit the media’s voice in your ear! As Peter Pan once said, “Think happy thoughts…”
4. Avoid sugar & highly processed foods! Did you know that sugar suppresses the body’s immune response for up to 5 hours after ingesting it? Sugar reduces the ability of white blood cells to kill pathogens (germs), therefore lowering your immune defense. Because of this, we need good, clean fuel for our bodies to work at optimal levels. So think twice about baking those cookies while cooped-up during quarantine! Green smoothies anyone?
5. Move often! Movement is medicinal. Lower to moderate movement can decrease stress levels, release dopamine (mental feel-good hormone), oxygenate the body, and sweat out toxins. Feel run down? Don’t overdo it! Just go for a walk, a bike ride, and maybe a few sets of duck-walks for me!
Just remember, we ALREADY have within ourselves the greatest defense against any virus known to man: Our immune system. Help it, don’t hurt it, and be confident that we will get through this together.