Immune health has been on the forefront of everyone’s mind, especially in the past year. People have tried to come up with a variety of ways to “boost” their immune system. But, is that really possible? It’s actually a common misconception that the more active our immune system is, the healthier we will be. The fact is, when it comes to our immune system, more is not necessarily better. While we don’t want an underactive immune system, an overactive immune system can cause problems, too. So, what we really want to achieve is a balanced immune system1. Here are five tips on how to get it!
1. Keep those vitamin D levels up! Many people have low vitamin D levels, and studies show our levels drop in the fall and winter months (in the Northern hemisphere) when we begin to spend less time in the sun. This is bad news for our immune system. If our vitamin D blood levels fall rapidly – as often happens when the weather gets colder and our time in the sun decreases – our innate immunity suffers. So, to maintain optimal blood levels of vitamin D we need to get daily, moderate sun exposure and/or take a vitamin D supplement.
2. Sleep like a baby. For years, science has linked a good night’s sleep (6-8 consecutive hours) to a healthier immune system. That’s because during this regular time of rest, our immune system promotes a healthy inflammatory response. Stress hormones fall to the lowest levels at night, allowing our bodies to undo the physical stress exerted during the day. One of the best ways to improve the quality of sleep is to improve “sleep hygiene.” Create the right ambience in your bedroom by making it cool, dark, and quiet. You can even light some candles, take a bath, meditate, or just sit quietly. Sweet dreams!
3. Say sayonara to stress. Easier said than done, but it’s so important because stress takes a significant toll on our immune systems. Physical, mental and emotional stress, especially when it’s ongoing, can impair our immune system’s ability do its job. Mindfulness-based activities like meditation, deep breathing and yoga are excellent tools for managing stress. Don’t forget exercise! It not only keeps us healthy, but it strengthens our immune system. Just 30 minutes a day of moderate activity is all it takes.
4. Feast on fermented foods. You may be thinking, “Fermented foods? What are they?” Fermented foods consist of sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, kefir and kombucha. Eating them is great for our immune system because 80 percent of the immune system is found in our gastrointestinal tract. If these foods aren’t appealing to you, you can get the same benefits by taking probiotic supplements. Ingesting probiotics (friendly bacteria and yeasts) is an effective way to improve digestion and support immune health.
5. Stay connected. Make time to take care of your mental and emotional health. One way to do this is by staying in contact with people you care about. If you can’t safely be together in person, reach out to them through a phone call, video chat, email, letter, text message or other ways.
Incorporating the Active wellness tips described above to your lifestyle now will help you feel better and more balanced long-term.
22nd July 2021