Author: Angela Warm, Seasonal Health Editor
In Part 1 of our immune support series, I discussed how good gut health, fermented foods and the power of sleep all have a profound impact on your immune system. In Part 2, we touch on additional lifestyle factors that can impact your immune system, especially during transitional times of the year like the change of seasons, holidays or really any year there is a pandemic going on.
Just as a healthy diet and adequate sleep can help boost the immune system, lifestyle factors can wear it down, including stress, exposure to toxins, and poor diet. Managing each of these areas and adapting a model of consistency and awareness that supports the immune system instead of compromising it, is an excellent way to maintain health throughout the year.
Beyond the obvious cardiovascular, mood, and weight management benefits of regular exercise, moderate physical activity can improve our body’s response to infections. Getting your heart rate up at least 3 – 5 times a week allows your body to perform at an optimal level. Exercise also helps flush toxins from your system, which in turn leads to a healthier, better functioning immune system.
Exercise allows immune cells to perform effectively, increasing blood flow, reducing stress and inflammation and strengthening antibodies. A 2019 scientific review found that moderate-intensity exercise is linked to lower rates of upper respiratory tract infections, which includes viruses like the flu and common cold.
Incorporate some type of physical activity into your day – go for a walk, do an online workout or dust off those old Jane Fonda workout DVDs. If Covid taught us anything it is that you have access to just about anything online, including a vast variety of workouts. There is really no excuse anymore. Even 15 minutes a day can help strengthen your immune system.
Exercise is not only critical to boost your immune system, it also has the added benefit of increasing serotonin in your brain which leads to a better mood and helps you sleep. The chain reaction of getting some form of exercise goes something like this – exercise leads to better mood, which leads to better sleep, which leads to maintaining your ideal weight and making better decisions the next day. It’s a true WIN WIN WIN WIN in my book.
During the height of the Covid crisis earlier this year, I was experiencing a bit of anxiety – mostly at night that kept me awake with my heart racing (could also be pre menopausal). Once I increased my exercise earlier in the day, this led to better sleep which in turn leads to a better human and better parent. Sleep and exercise go hand in hand – find some time to do both and your immune system will thank you.
Remember there is no medal for being the most exhausted mom.
Everyday our bodies are exposed to toxins and foreign substances through the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe and the personal care products we put on our skin. Although they might seem benign on a one time use basis, these chemicals can build up over time and overload the body, gradually undermining your health and weakening your immune system. Two areas that contribute to some of the highest toxin exposure are overly processed or toxin-contaminated foods and personal care products. Paying attention to what you put on your body is just as important as paying attention to what you put in your body.
Artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, and food coloring are just a partial list of chemicals found in food that can negatively impact our immune system. Avoiding or at least reducing processed foods and instead cooking homemade meals made with fresh ingredients is a good place to start. P.S. It is also healthier.
Unfortunately the majority of ingredients in your creams, shampoos, perfumes, deodorants, lotions, and toothpastes contain toxins that can disrupt hormones, contribute to allergies and increase our toxic load? It is important to become a bit of a label sleuth and make sure you are purchasing products that contain safe, all-natural ingredients. I often ask my clients, “would you eat what you put on your skin”? This also holds true for cleaning products as well. Most store bought cleaning products are chocked full of harmful ingredients that wreak havoc on the immune system. Switching to more natural safe and effective cleaning products can do wonders for your health and bonus – it’s safe for the kids to use as well (WIN WIN).
Immune Boosting Summary
The bottomline is this – we don’t have to live at the mercy of a pandemic. Nor do we need to believe that being sidelined by the seasonal sniffles is just something we have to live with. There are natural ways to boost your immune system that can reduce your chances of playing pass the cold this winter.
Let’s recap the ways to boost your immune system naturally:
- Immune boosting nutrition
- Reducing Toxins
I hope you’ve received some good tips about natural ways to boost your immune system naturally. Healthy lifestyle behaviors not only influence how you look and feel, but your body’s ability to ward off harmful invaders. Support your immune system by eating healthy, exercising regularly and reducing toxins where possible. Wishing you a healthy and prosperous winter season.
These articles have really just touched the surface of what you can do to help your body avoid the cycle of colds and flus this season. If you would like more information on how to boost your immune system this season, download my latest eBook Five Key Strategies to Boost Your Immune System.
Are you enjoying our content? We would love to hear your opinions in the comments sections. Stay tuned for more resources, our editorial panel is talking about – vacation ideas, mental health, nutrition, wellness, back to school, recipes, and activities for children. Stay well and stay with us!
To read posts from September, click here