The holidays are over, it’s the middle of winter, and there’s a global pandemic with no end in sight. You may be feeling especially tired, out-of-rhythm, or may not be putting your health first. It’s not your fault. Everyone is struggling right now, and it’s easy to get out-of-step with your own self-care. Your immunity is directly tied to your lifestyle. Less than ideal diet choices, not enough or interrupted sleep, plus undue stress can be adversely reflected in your immune system. The good news is, however much you’re floundering, you can still make subtle daily changes that create overall positive change.
Follow along for 6 tips to boost your own health and immunity today.
1. Sleep and Immunity
You’ve heard it a million times before. Sleep is important. But did you know that sleep and immunity are bidirectionally linked? That is to say, an adequate amount of sleep reduces risk of infection, infection outcome, and increases the benefits of vaccination. Your body uses sleep to prevent and treat infections by reducing inflammation. By getting enough sleep, you are actively fighting the risk of contracting illness. Don’t be afraid to press snooze a couple times!
Quality nutrition is vital for your body’s immune system. Small changes in your diet can have huge benefits, by providing necessary micronutrients and improving your gut biome. Consuming citrus fruits, garlic, spinach, yogurt, nuts, and green tea can all boost your immune system. Some foods commonly used as seasoning have been proven to reduce inflammation, such as ginger and turmeric. There are many “superfoods” that provide a host of vitamins, as well. By taking charge of your diet, you are advocating for your immune response.
Supplements are all the rage, and it’s no wonder! Getting all those necessary nutrients through a single pill sounds great, right? The reality of supplementation is that you shouldn’t be taking anything unless advised by a healthcare professional. You should use supplements to treat diagnosed deficiencies, not to prevent illness. If you don’t have a deficiency or health condition, you can get all of the micronutrients you need from simply eating well. And if you’re concerned or experiencing any adverse symptoms, talk to your doctor about getting a blood panel.
Stress. We all go through it, every day. But constant, unending stress for months on end? It can have a detrimental impact on your immunity. A 1982 study found that college students worried about a 3-day exam almost completely stopped producing immunity-boosting gamma interferon and T-cells, which fight infection. Chronic stress is incredibly harmful. This is why sneaking small activities into your day such as going on a walk, listening to music, watching a guided meditation on Youtube, practicing breathing exercises, taking a bath, playing a game, or any other stress-reducing pastime is vital.
Acupuncture is a low-risk, effective treatment for reducing stress. An increasing body of research has drawn a direct connection between acupuncture and the body’s ability to resist illness. Researchers believe that acupuncture can regulate the immune system, enhancing antistress functions and reducing common stress responses like inflammation.
6. Exercise and Immunity
Although many gyms are shut down and some exercise options are limited, seeking regular physical activity through online classes, running/walking/hiking outside, or even stretching indoors is a huge-immunity booster. By improving your overall quality of health, exercise directly improves your immune response.
Making an effort to place a priority on building up your immunity may be more important than ever. Fortunately, there are little things you can do each day that make a big difference. The team at River City Wellness is here to support you in your wellness goals. For more information about our services, or to schedule an acupuncture treatment, give us a call at (502) 822-0626 or send an email today.