Explore the many ways you can boost your immune system.
As we work together to stop the spread of illness, we’re learning more about ways we can reduce our exposure, build up our immunity, and stay well during peak times of stress and illness.
Science shows that, in times of stress, our bodies release hormones that amplify our heart and breathing rates and activate our muscles. Yet, this is only meant to act as a short-term response. If those stress signals keep firing, it can take a major toll on our health.
That’s why, today, we’re sharing how you can boost your immune system by de-stressing and taking control of your overall health. While we ride out this pandemic together, let’s use this time to focus on building our bodies and minds to be as strong as possible, starting today.
1. Take a break.
Let’s start with stress.
If you’re working from home right now or suddenly find yourself assuming the role of a homeschool teacher, you might feel pressure to work around the clock, but doing so can heap even more stress onto an already-trying situation. As mentioned, excess stress can cause your stress hormones to go into overdrive.
Now that you’re homebound, you might see stressors everywhere you look, from the piles of laundry on the floor to the dishes in the sink. Even if you can’t eliminate all of those irritants at once, you can make time for short, frequent breaks.
Get up from the computer and give your eyes a chance to adjust. Hold an impromptu dance party in the kitchen. Take a walk around the backyard.
If you can’t dedicate much time, even just 20 minutes can do a world of good. Find anything stimulating, healing, or relaxing that brings you joy and find time to do it.
2. Sleep, sleep, sleep!
Getting more Zs won’t necessarily keep you from getting sick; however, the opposite can hold true. A lack of sleep can weaken your immune system, leaving you more susceptible to illness.
Why? When you sleep, your body produces and releases special proteins called cytokines. These proteins are specifically designed to help target infection and inflammation, making up the bulk of your immune response. Thus, while it’s tempting to stay up late, it’s best to get at least seven to eight hours of shut-eye every night.
Feeling overloaded with new work-from-home tasks? If you can’t get all those hours in at once, you can replenish with naps. Just keep them short (30 minutes is enough) and try to take one in the morning and afternoon to give your immune system a much-needed boost.
3. Focus on your gut.
A weakened immune system, coupled with digestive issues, could be a sign of a gut imbalance, which means there are more “bad” bacteria present than good.
There are a myriad of factors that could lead to this condition, from too much alcohol to not enough exercise. The good news? You can replenish your healthy gut flora by eating the right foods.
While everyone’s running to the grocery store for bread, stock up on natural, fermented foods, like sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha. These can add “good” bacteria to your gut and give you more energy to boot!
4. Get some vitamin D.
It’s a myth that stocking up on tons of vitamins can help you ward off the coronavirus and keep your immune system healthy. The truth? Unless you have an actual nutritional deficiency, vitamin capsules, shots, or infusions will do little to prevent you from getting sick.
In fact, taking ultra-high doses of these vitamins can lead to a range of adverse health conditions, from dizziness and nausea to kidney and liver damage.
Instead of taking your vitamins in supplements, go outside and head straight to the source! In moderate doses, vitamin D can help your immune system fight off viruses, shortening their duration and promoting a speedier recovery.
5. Prioritize your oral health.
Your oral health and overall health go hand-in-hand. In fact, your mouth is an important part of your immune system! Think about it: Almost everything that enters your body has to pass through there first, including food, medicines, and allergens.
If that environment is a healthy one, it can help keep illnesses at bay. That’s why it’s important to take excellent care of your teeth and gums.
One of the easiest ways to do so is by eating a diet that’s low in sugar and high in essential nutrients. Sugar causes your mouth to create excess plaque, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Plaque is essentially a byproduct of all of the bacteria in your mouth and is a safe haven for them to congregate.
Start by brushing at least two times a day and flossing between one and two times per day. Also, make it a point to visit your dentist regularly for scheduled dental checkups so they can thoroughly examine your teeth and take action on any issues.
6. Exercise moderately.
Moderate exercise helps your body reduce inflammation and create more infection-fighting blood cells. Thankfully, you don’t have to hit the gym to break a sweat.
While you’re working from home, focus on exercises that use your body weight, such as burpees, lunges, or push-ups. These require no equipment and are a cinch to do on your break. What’s more, you’ll also release stress-busting endorphins while you work out, so turn up the music and let loose!
Just be careful to not overdo it. Strenuous exercise can be taxing on your body and can leave you exhausted, lowering your body’s natural defense.
Learning How to Boost Your Immune System from Home
All of these tips on our list are achievable from right where you’re sitting. They don’t require fancy gym memberships, elaborate diet plans, or expensive equipment.
That means while you’re at home self-quarantining, you already have all of the tools you need when you’re trying to determine how to boost your immune system. Remember to practice self-care and always listen to your body, never pushing it past its limits or depriving it of the nutrients it needs to function.
Want to learn more about taking charge of your oral health? We’d love to chat. Contact us today to learn how we can help out!