At a time when people are exposed to more than 200 different cold viruses, several strains of flu—including the recent outbreak of “COVID-19″—and hosts of allergens…having a healthy immune system is more important than ever before. Still, modern life constantly challenges immune function, which is why public health officials offer this important advice: don’t take your immune system for granted.
What can you do to ensure that your immune system is healthy and ready to shield your body from infection? Here is what you need to know:
Find Ways to Relax
Because stress produces many different effects on the endocrine systems, including the well-known “fight or flight” response, scientists believe that your immune system becomes weakened in the case of chronic stresses. (My notes: Deep breathing, exercise and laughter are the most effective stress-busters.)
Besides leaving you feeling sluggish, irritable and forgetful, not getting enough sleep can reduce the effectiveness of your immune system by up to 50%. This is because during sleep is when your body and immune system do most of its repairs and rejuvenation. 7-8 hours per night is highly recommended as the optimum amount for adults. (My notes: You must make time to sleep at least 7 hours – period. That’s an order, okay! If you have trouble sleeping…exercise more. You will notice your best, most restful sleep occurs on days you exercise.)
Feed Your Immune System Well
All the research indicates not getting enough nutrients in the diet can weaken the immune system. Of special importance are foods rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and folate. (My notes: The reality is that almost nobody gets all the nutrients they need from food alone. That is why we urge you to take vitamin/mineral supplements like Active Core Complex, Omega Icon for your omega-3 needs, and Probiotics )
Exercise strengthens your immune system, cardiovascular system, heart, muscles and bones. Being active also stimulates the release of endorphins, improves mental functioning, concentration/attention and cognitive performance, and lowers cholesterol, blood pressure, cortisol and other stress hormones.
Lose Weight in a Healthy Way
Research proves that a rapid weight loss of more than 2 pounds a week can have negative immune system effects. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), successful weight loss is typically losing about 10% of your body weight in six months. (My notes: Not only does rapid weight loss with overly restrictive dieting weaken your immune system…the weight comes back over 90% of the time, but now in a higher percentage of fat. Yikes!)
Wash Your Hands
One of the best ways to prevent the spread of micro-organisms that cause infections is good hand hygiene. (My notes: Okay, this one is obvious, but frequently overlooked. Wash your hands a lot! Not paranoia, just smart prevention. Also, try to avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes unless you’re absolutely certain your hands are clean.)
Don’t Get Too Much Sun
Unprotected sun exposure is linked with immune suppression. That is why cold sores often appear following time spent in the sun. To protect your immune system, always wear SPF 15 or higher.
Take Immune-Supporting Supplements
Most people have nutritionally deficient diets and require additional supplementation to enhance the body’s natural production of interferon. Interferon is activated by the immune system when a virus attacks a cell. Interferon serves two important functions. It signals neighboring cells and triggers their resistance mechanisms, and it activates other immune cells that kill invading pathogens. Interferon is essential to the immune system and helps protect us from the daily exposure to millions of germs that can lead to serious infection.