Unless you have been virtually living under a rock, there is no way Covid-19 hasn’t affected your life in one form or another. Now while we all wait in our socially distant quarantines, you may be thinking ok now what? Whats next other than waiting and playing board games or watching Netflix.
One thing that you could do during this time is take steps to boost your immune system! Doesn’t sound as thrilling as a good show on Netflix, but is extremely important especially during this season of uncertainty.
Front Line Defense
On the front lines in this battle of health, our Immune System fights off any form of virus, cold or germ related crud. The Immune System is composed of several different aspects of organs, tissues and cells in the body. These different aspects bands together to protect us from danger or things that have the potential to make us sick. The cells are activated when our immune system comes into contact with a pathogen. Even when we don’t know it, our immune system is working hard to protect us each day.
When our body is unable to to fight off the pathogens, we become sick. When we become sick or our bodies can not fight an infection, infection can lead to disease that can spread and potentially makes us sicker.
Helping our Immune System out
So many aspects of a persons life can impact their immune system. Negative impacts such as stress, lack of sleep or an unbalanced diet. Other negative impacts include lack of movement and potential environmental toxins. Like with so many things we talk about here at Sittin’ Crooked our habits are very much our own and play major roles in how we stay healthy.
So you might be thinking: I totally want to boost my immune system while doing more for my health, but I don’t know where to start + I don’t have enough time.
Dont worry my friend, you are NOT alone and I got you covered! Life is truly a balancing act. You are not alone in doing all that you can to hold things together.
Today I want to empower you to change your mindset. I encourage you to adjust your view of not having enough time to get it all done. Small steps. Small changes. Tiny bursts of efforts, in your daily routine can have a big impact on your health in a major way.
Now while there are tons of things that can weaken your immune system, such as poor eating habits, alcohol and auto immune disorders, there are a few things that we can do on our own daily that help boost our defenses.
Steps to Boost your Immune System
Rest: Making Sleep a Priority: I know this one seems to easy to be a boosting step, but sleep is SO very important to ensuring that the body functions at its very best. When we sleep our body is able to process the days events. Repair anything that may need to be repaired and our immune systems takes this time to check to see if there is anything that is a potential threat attempting to get inside our bodies. While we are resting our brain begins to trigger all types of processes including releasing hormones that promote tissue growth. During sleep white blood cells are created which is absolutely key for the immune system to fight off germs. Plus, that ole saying ” can’t pour from an empty cup” meaning if your tired you cant properly take care of yourself or your loved ones.
Hydration: Gosh, am I sounding like a broken record yet? Any quick google search will tell you that the body is made up of at 60% of water so it makes perfect sense that anytime we are sick the 1st thing we are told is to make sure we are getting enough fluids. Making sure you are hydrated can help the immune system fight off infection. Staying hydrated also assists our mucous membrane in staying moist, (the lining found in several places inside the body) and ready to trap any germs from getting inside. Staying hydrated allows the membrane to do its job in protecting us from potential infections. Hydration not only keeps our inside moisturized and working properly but it also helps us regulate our own body temperatures while flushing out toxins through sweat and normal body functions.
Nutrition: There is no one way to eat. Now depending on who you ask there can be very strong opinions on what a person should eat, however that decision is really up to each individual person. If possible start eating as whole foods as you can is a great step in the direction of boosting immunity. Taking notice of things that can cause inflammation and avoiding those items would also be a key step.
Since we are all not created equal in how our bodies react to various foods, its super important to be mindful when you notice certain changes after eating specific foods. Inflammation is the body’s normal healing process after certain activity, foods, getting sick etc. Its our bodies way of saying something isn’t quite right, and I’m gonna try to heal us. Its important to be mindful of the foods that trigger the inflammation because chronic inflammation has the ability to reduce your immune system over time. Trading those foods that you know cause inflammation for more whole based meals will begin to reduce chronic inflammation + stress in a natural way.
Boost your Immune System through Food
Begin to add more foods in your diet that boost the immune system naturally. The more fruits and veggies you eat is always the better but here are some specific foods that add that extra notch of health.
Foods high in carotenoids ( Vitamin A): Sweet Potatoes, Carrots
Antioxidant Rich foods (Vitamin C): Citrix fruits, leafy greens
Vitamin E: almonds, brocolli
Vitamin D: Mushrooms, fortified soy milk
Zinc: dried beans, pumpkin seeds
Elderberry: Packed with antioxidants, dietary fiber AND vitamin C. This supplement can be found in virtually every drug store. Very nutrient dense with the ability to fight cold, flu + inflammation.
Boost your Immune System through Physical + Mental
Movement: So let’s be real, we all know what movement is + we all know that movement is very good for you. Now the relationship between movement and the immune system is pretty simple, regular exercise has the ability to boost immune function. There are nothing but benefits behind getting moving and adding exercise to your day. Increased activity means increased breathing and increased heart rate. With increased breathing our lungs can work at full capacity to help flush the lungs from anything unwanted. While the increased heart rate, means the body temperature is also increasing. Heating up the body internally can help kill any bugs from spreading inside the body. Now while there is nothing but good that comes from movement, there is also something called, too much of a good thing. Be mindful to not over exercise the body and always take the time for rest and hydration.
Hygiene: This goes beyond the basics of showering/bathing, keeping the body and your space clean. Wash your hands. Simple. I know. Yet, here we are lol. Washing your hands is so very important to boosting your immune system. As simple as washing your hands may seem, take a moment and think of your morning and all the various things that you may have touched. An alarm clock, shower, clothes, phone, towel, door knobs and the list really goes on and on. I don’t think we ever considered all the various surfaces that we touch and then at some point or another touch our face, eyes or noses.
Germs can easily be transferred from place to place and the most common place we transfer germs is to our foods! When we touch a door knob, our phone and then pick up a chip to place in our mouth. Washing our hands can prevent the transfer of germs from one surface to the next. Wash hands with soap, and scrubbing all the sides for a full 20 seconds after touching surfaces and before eating.
Positive mindset: Another too simple to be true approach. Having a positive mindset can strengthen the immune system with positive thinking. Taking time to find gratitude in each day by either journaling, writing or meditation reflection on the things you are grateful each day. These steps allow those things that bring you happiness stay at the forethought of your mind.
Pulling it all together
Ever hear that saying ” One band, one sound”?, that’s exactly how the immune system functions properly, its several small parts working in major ways all together for one common goal. Keeping us healthy. Now while we cant think “go away cold” and it happens, we can take very important steps to contribute to our health and overall well-being with our daily habits.
These natural ways to boost your immune system are the ones that I use in my daily routines and can easily become a part of your routine with minimal effort. With some consistency you will begin to start seeing results plus that added boost of knowing that you are proactively taking steps to support your health verses waiting until symptoms arise. Its my hope that you find these tips helpful and are able to add them to your routine. Its worth the effort!