It’s never a bad time to boost your immune system, folks. After all, who wants to be sick?
While you may already take vitamin C, have healthy lifestyle habits and do some other things to keep your immune system in top shape, there are still a couple more things you can do to make your body a lean, mean, virus-fighting machine.
Keep your stress down
While this is easier said than done, there is a definite link between your mental health and your immune system. When you have chronic anxiety or stress, your body will produce stress hormones in response, and these hormones are known to suppress your immune system.
One study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, involved the exposure of 276 adults who were totally healthy to a cold virus (https://www.pnas.org/content/109/16/5995). These adults were then monitored in quarantine conditions for five days. The adults who were more stressed were also more likely to produce cytokines–molecules that trigger inflammation–and were also two times as likely as the non-stressed adults to get sick. On top of this, people who are stressed out are just less likely to pay attention to other healthy habits, such as getting enough sleep and eating right, both of which can impact immunity.
Of course, there’s no one way to avoid stress in your life. You can, however, start using some strategies to manage it better. Daily exercise, meditation, yoga and other outlets can help you ease the symptoms and impact of stress on your body.
Get more sleep
Your immune system is almost like a computer–it needs reset so it doesn’t overheat. Sleep is your way of rebooting your system.
When you don’t get enough sleep, your body will pump out stress hormones to keep you up and alert. As mentioned above, these hormones can suppress the immune system. For total body health, aim to always get the recommended seven to eight good hours of sleep every night. If you’re used to working late and cutting out sleep because of it, then it’s time to redesign your schedule.
Your immune system is your first line of defense against all of the harmful bacteria and viruses you encounter every single day. Do whatever you can to give your body its best possible chance at defending against all of these invisible invaders.