The human body is a very complex and intricate interweaving of multiple systems doing many different functions. In general, our immune systems do a wonderful job of fighting off bacteria and viruses that we are consistently being exposed to. Most of the time our immune system wins these battles, but occasionally it loses and we are left with a sore throat, running nose, cough and body aches.
One of our first line of defenses to help boost immune system function is adopting a healthy lifestyle. Small and healthy lifestyle changes listed below, can help to lower the chances of catching the common cold or flu.
1.) Eating a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables
2.) Exercising regularly
3.) Getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night
4.) Limiting alcohol consumption
5.) Minimizing stress
Consuming a diet high vegetables and fruits helps to keep our immune systems strong to help fight off infection. Dark, leafy greens are high in Vitamin A and E which respectively help regulate our immune systems by protecting against infections in the GI tract and neutralize free radicals. There is evidence that various micronutrient deficiencies can lead to decreased immune function, which can potentially lead to a greater risk of developing infections. Some studies show that consuming at least 200mg of Vitamin C per day can reduce the average duration of cold symptoms by 8% in adults and 14% in children.
The CDC recommends getting 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. Regular exercise has been shown to improve cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure, control body weight and protect against disease. The improved circulation that is a direct result of exercise, allows our white blood cells to flow through the body more freely and efficiently. Our white blood cells are at war against viruses, bacteria, and other foreign invaders that threaten our overall health and well-being.
Getting 7-9 Hours of Sleep Per Night
I can’t emphasize how important sleep is for our immune systems. Without sufficient sleep, our bodies take a major hit in more ways than one. With lower amounts of rest, our immune systems make fewer cytokines. Cytokines are proteins that help to detect and target infection and inflammation in the body, thus activating an immune response in the body. Cytokines are produced and released during sleep, which points to the importance of sleep.
Limiting Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol disrupts our immune system pathways in many different ways. These disruptions lead to impairment in the body’s ability to fight off different bacteria and viruses. When trying to boost our immune system it is important to limit or even stop our alcohol consumption. The CDC recommends no more than one drink per day for women and no more than 2 drinks per day for men.
We have all experienced some sort of stress in life, whether physical, mental, or emotional. Acute stressors that activate our body’s flight or fight response can be beneficial for the immune system. A meta-analysis of over 300 empirical studies found that the more chronic the stressors become, the more likely our immune system is negatively impacted. Stress reduction techniques like breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation and yoga can all help to reduce a person’s stress.
Practicing the fundamentals of health is essential for supporting and caring for our immune systems. I encourage people to adopt these lifestyle changes in order to create a better and stronger version of yourself. Holistique IV Lounge has a specially formulated Immune Booster IV that helps with managing your Immune system.
Harvard Medical School. (2018, July 16th). How To Boost Your Immune System. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system
Segerstrom, Suzanne C., and Gregory E. Miller. “Psychological stress and the human immune system: a meta-analytic study of 30 years of inquiry.” Psychological Bulletin 130.4 (2004): 601.
Dr. Justin Newell is a licensed Naturopathic Physician in the State of Washington. He specializes in the treatment of men’s health, sports medicine, physical medicine, and IV therapy. Addressing the root cause in these specialty areas, help to optimize a person's physical, mental and emotional health.