When it comes to your immune system, there are many elements that affect how well it functions in keeping you healthy. As tempting as it can be to simply take a vitamin or other supplement in the morning and call it a day, there are several factors that impact your body’s ability to stave off infections and common viruses.
Cleveland Clinic’s COO Dr. Michael Roizen said there are a number of key categories to keep in mind when evaluating your immunity and overall wellness. These categories primarily include: sleep, nutrition and supplements, stress management, and physical fitness.
To ensure all of these categories are within the healthy range, you can optimize each area and manage to keep your immunity up with these helpful health-boosting habits.
1. Focus On Your Nutrition
When you’re feeling stressed or facing challenges, the first thing that falls to the wayside is healthy eating. But eating “comfort” foods often leads to discomfort in the body, with sugar affecting the way your immune system can respond to viruses and bacteria. One study showed that high-sugar diets can greatly suppress the immune system, making it extra important to cut out sugar whenever you can. Assess your nutrition as a whole, and make sure what you’re eating each day includes a range of colorful fruits and veggies. Finding substitutes for sugar, like organic honey, stevia, or maple syrup, is also key.
2. Revisit Your Supplement Routine
Your doctor might have mentioned the importance of taking a daily multivitamin, but what if your immune system needs more than just the standard nutrients to work optimally? This is often the case, as each person’s immune system is delicate and singular. It’s worth revisiting the supplements you’re taking (if you take any at all). Besides the known immune-boosters like vitamin C, zinc, and vitamin D, you should look into the exact nutrients your body is lacking. Even if you’re eating a healthy diet and sleeping plenty, there will still be some nutrients that you’re missing out on, which could be the missing link in being your healthiest self.
3. Exercise Several Times a Week
Whether you participate in virtual yoga classes or go for a run outside, your immune system will thank you for exercising regularly. You’ve probably heard of people ‘sweating it out’ when they’re feeling sick, and this is because exercise is a kickstarter for disease-fighting in the body. Be cautious not to overdo it, as strenuous exercise without proper recovery time can actually work against your immune system. Like all things, moderation is key.
4. Locate Your Inner Peace
Stress weakens the immune system drastically, making it essential to find your inner calm. Which activities can you do to bring you a sense of relief and comfort during the day? Some people find meditation to be helpful, while others like taking long baths. You can also try singing, laughing, exercising, going on a walk, playing with your pet, or simply relaxing. Whatever calming activity you choose, make sure your aim is to relieve any anxieties you feel. This will help your immune system maintain its strength, as it won’t be stuck fighting the negative consequences of stress.
5. Make Health a Priority
Not getting enough quality sleep at night can greatly impact your immune system—and not in a good way. Your body produces certain antibodies and infection-fighting cells during sleep. If you're sleep deprived, you’ll also be deprived of these helpful neutralizers. Getting at least seven hours of quality sleep on your comfy, organic mattress is therefore one of the best ways to help your immune system work at its optimal level. Making sleep a priority, whether that means adopting a winding-down routine or doing what you can to improve your sleep environment, will lead to greater benefits for your immune system.
Take advantage of your daily habits and integrate some of these useful immune-boosting habits that will strengthen your health and well-being!
Did you know that healthy sleep can boost your immune system? Read more about it here