Our immune system is the body’s first line of protection against foreign invaders. Without it, our natural defense wouldn’t stand a chance against microorganisms such as fungus, viruses, parasites and bacteria. These pesky, health destroying intruders hide out everywhere and it is our immune system working around the clock that sets up protective barriers preventing them from entering our body.
Should one sneak by, our immune system has a back-up plan that kicks in and sends out an array of chemicals and proteins along with a host of white blood cells all seeking to find and attack the foreign antigen before it has time to reproduce.
Strong immunity can keep all health problems at bay from dangerous diseases to common colds. According to Bruce Polsky, MD, St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital in N.Y., “we are endowed with a great immune system designed to evolutionarily keep us healthy.” When working at peak performance, our immune defense system recognizes and responds to millions of antigens by producing what’s needed to eradicate them.
Reversely, unhealthy habits/lifestyles that weaken our immune system open the door to dangerous invaders and the result is, we get sick.
Simple healthy tactics such as washing our hands often and avoiding close contact with those affected with illness are obvious solutions that help keep us from getting sick.
But there’s a more powerful, pro-active stance to fighting off illness – consciously working to boost our immune system.
Tips to help keep our immune systems humming in tip-top shape:
Nutrient dense diet –
Vegetables, fruits and other plants contain natural compounds found in plants known as phytochemicals. This is what gives them their color and flavor. These phytochemicals act as powerful antioxidants neutralizing free radicals before they can create damage. They also serve as soldiers, supporting the immune system and the death of damaged cells, protecting the body from damage and creating new healthy cells.
All illnesses, diseases and infections are harder to ward off if the body is lacking nutrients/malnourished. It’s best to choose and enjoy foods from all food groups. Be sure to include some protein with every meal and snack.
Exercise often –
The immune system is very responsive to exercise. After diet, it is one of the pillars that contributes to overall great health and strong immunity. It activates the sympathetic nervous system and increases heartrate, blood pressure and breathing, making us feel better and more energetic. Exercise reduces anxiety and stress, kicks our circulation in and slows the aging process. All this helps us to live longer and better.
Recent studies performed at the University of California-San Diego; School of Medicine revealed that 20 minutes of exercise has anti-inflammatory effects that boost immunity.
Avoid stress –
Our state of mind does affect our health. Because it depresses the immune system, chronic stress increases the chance of illness. Long-term, this kind of emotional and mental wear and tear ravages our immune system. Deep breathing, meditation and exercise all reduce the effects of stress.
Adopt a Healthy Attitude –
Although we cannot control all events in our lives, we can control our feeling/attitude/response towards them. A positive, good attitude, being grateful every day in all situations strengthens the immune system and increases all chances for a positive outcome.
Laughter heals –
Laughter is empowered to boost our immunity because it decreases stress hormones, increases infection fighting antibodies and triggers the release of “happy” endorphins. As a bonus, it works our abs, lowers our blood pressure, improves cardiac health and boosts T-cells. Laughter truly is “the best medicine.”
“The best clinicians understand that there is an intrinsic physiological intervention brought about by positive emotions such as mirthful laughter, optimism and hope.” – Lee Berk, DrPH, Pro Loma Linda School of Medicine
Quality Sleep –
Sleep is when the body rebuilds and restores. Lack of it weakens the immune system for a variety of reasons. One major issue is that less cytokines are produced. An immune response is created when proteins called cytokines are released during sleep that target infection and inflammation
Ongoing studies prove that those suffering from chronic sleep loss are more likely to get sick after exposure to viruses. Try making up any lost sleep with a nap. Two 30 minute naps daily, one in the morning and one in the afternoon is empowered to decrease stress. It offsets any negative effects created by sleep deprivation on the immune system.
Step into the Sun –
The sun/natural sunlight is the body’s major provider of Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps the body produce antibodies, for healthy functioning of the immune system. For example, one major reason for respiratory issues is low levels of vitamin D. A simple walk in fresh air and sunlight of approximately 20-30 minutes helps ensure enough Vitamin D is produced by the body. Fresh air and sunshine help heal.
Our first line of defense against life’s many health challenges is a healthy lifestyle. A strong immune system doesn’t make us invincible but definitely throws the odds in our favor. We boost our immunity by adopting an “attitude of gratitude,” donning our fitness gear, enjoying many good belly-laughs and eating healthy foods!
Our chances of falling ill are lessoned and we get the extra strength to fight any invader that gets through. It’s a good thing.
It’s time to honor your personal health. Improved overall health, weight loss, energy, positive mental attitude, and longevity are some of the benefits gained by keeping our immune system humming and working in tip-top shape.
“Wellness Wake Up Call” can help you to achieve your best “health report card ever.”
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