The immune system plays a vital role in keeping us healthy and feeling our absolute best by fighting off the nasty viruses and bacteria that infiltrate us today.
Keeping our lines of defense up against these maleficent pathogens is a constant and arduous work for our body, and thankfully one that we hardly seem to notice - ticking along in the "background" as we carry on with our daily lives, minding other, seemingly more important business.
However, just because we don't notice it, it doesn't mean we don't have to support it. Much to the contrary, every day we must ensure crucial things are taking place in our lives so, in the long run, our immunity is not only sustained but improved.
So, if you want to naturally build a stronger immune system, never neglect the following three things:
Sleep has two distinct benefits in terms of boosting your immune system. This is through getting enough sleep to let the body naturally heal itself, and secondly to detoxify and rebuild for your next day of hard work.
Although this sounds like your body isn’t actually resting, when your body is completely shut down, the work in the background makes you sleep heavier and less disrupted. Kind of like an update. This ‘update’ only happens if an adult gets between 7-10hrs of sleep per night. Every night. Many studies support that people who don’t get this vital sleep are more exposed to inhabit a virus or cell mutation. YIKES!
So, now that we know this, the production of hormones and nervous system barriers that form to hold you together are commonly known as cytokines. These little barriers form to fight off infections and debug your immune system. The barriers have a little help of course from the master of all sleep hormones, melatonin.
Stress and anxiety are part of normal life. They keep us on our toes and alert for the right circumstances. However, chronic stress can take a significant toll on the body’s normal tasks. In particular, the nervous system, cardiovascular functions, brain health, and digestive system.
Some significant signs of stress and anxiety are irritability, loss of appetite or overeating, chest pains, fatigue, and difficulties falling asleep. Consequently, these implications affect our day to day life, decreasing our productivity and positivity levels.
As mentioned, an excessive amount of stress and anxiety lowers your immune defenses, or white blood cells and their circulation to the brain. Long-term stress causes you to release those pesky adrenaline and cortisol hormones at a more rapid and increased dosage, which, in turn, can increase headaches, dizziness, and depression.
Although these physical effects seem obvious, sometimes they can be subtler and take effect after the stressful event. Whilst built to be helpful at the time, it is more harmful to endure these effects after the event as it directly correlates to your long-term exposure to these hormones.
It is not all doom and gloom, however. There are awesome ways you can increase daily healthy habits to lower these long-term effects and get back to feeling like your better self again.
You’ve heard it once; you’ve heard it a million times. Exercise is a vital ingredient in boosting your immune system. What you may not have heard is that there is no direct correlation between how exercise increases your immunity responses to certain illnesses. But, in fact, exercise increases and strengthens your white blood cell count to detect illnesses earlier.
Along with this theory, there are some pretty convincing scientific arguments that support exercise. One theory explains that the brief rise in body temperature and heart rate, during and after exercise, prevents bacteria from growing and builds barriers to fight infections quicker (similar to when you have a fever).
The second and most common effect experienced by us is slowing down the release of stress hormones and actually changing the adrenaline hormone to benefit our energy levels instead of creating fatigue. How’s that for taking control of how you feel?
Commonly recommended exercises to increase your daily healthy habits are meditation or yoga. While you may not be the most flexible person, the mental benefits are far more widespread than the physical benefits (surprise yourself and give it a go).
Assimilate and Incorporate
As you can tell by now, there is a whole range of lifestyle factors such as sleep, stress, and daily habits that affect our immune system. Naturally, there are many initiatives and things you can put in place to strengthen and fortify it to ensure you're better prepared to fight off the nasty bugs that often times get the best of us.
Though not easy nor practical to follow every piece of health advice out there, if you pay close attention and act upon crucial factors such as sleep, stress, and your daily habits, you’ll have a far better chance to successfully protect your body from maleficent pathogens in the long run.
Remember, it is often the simple things that generate the best outcomes. And with your long-term health, it’s no different. So get your body moving, decompress, and sleep well!