Your immune system does so much more to keep you safe on a typical day than you might realize. It spends most of its days hard at work, whether or not you’re aware of it. That’s the purpose of the immune system - to protect your body from invaders - even if you’re not making any conscious effort to send in reinforcements.
And yet, we still get sick. Why? Did our white blood cells just take a day off?
Not at all. We still suffer illness because the immune system already has one heck of a job, and if we’re not doing anything to help it (or worse, are actually hindering it), it’s not going to receive the help it needs to keep us safe.
So what’s one of the best ways to build immunity and reinforce the immune system? We’ll give you a hint - it’s not stocking up your vitamin cabinet with all the supplements drug stores offer. Instead, we’re advocating simple, effective lifestyle changes that can yield massive dividends, habits that ensure you’re taking good care of your body and the immune system it houses.
Some people value sleep as much as they treasure a mug of coffee in the morning or a glass of wine after a long day. Other people claim you can sleep when you’re dead, and seem to run on an average of four hours per night. Here’s the hard truth: one of the most important factors in a healthy lifestyle is sleep.
Your body does a whole lot of construction work while you’re resting, which is why adults need about 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. This is why you sleep so much more when you’re sick - the body needs to be in a state of rest to fight and overcome infection. Getting a good night’s sleep not only boosts your mood; it also offers concrete benefits to your immunity. That’s why implementing a healthy bedtime routine (like turning off screens at least 15 minutes before sleep and reading, praying or meditating) can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Have you ever seen those water bottles with hourly increments painted up and down the side, telling you how much water you should have consumed by 8am, noon and 4pm? That’s the effect we’re going for here. Regulating your hydration is a great way to start if you find it difficult to naturally remember to drink water regularly. These water bottles take into consideration the number of liters an adult should be drinking every day, and keep you accountable when it’s 6pm and you’re behind schedule.
This certainly isn’t an advertisement for water bottles. However, you do need to know that water is absolutely vital for immunity, and really for every function in the body, but it’s especially important for your circulatory system. The circulatory system carries a fluid known as lymph through the body, which in turn carries infection-fighting cells. When bolstered by high water intake, lymph flows efficiently through the body, taking these infection-fighting cells quickly to where they are needed. But when the body is dehydrated, lymph moves sluggishly, and late delivery could result in infection and sickness. The bottom line? Drink water. All the time.
Just make sure you don’t sit on the couch all day. Exercise is a great way to boost your immune system, as it can improve cardiovascular health, reduce stress and promote increased circulation (that is, movement of white blood cells around the body to fight infection). The good news is there’s no right or wrong way to get moving. Something as simple as a 20-minute walk with the dog can be just as beneficial to your immune system as a high-octane workout class. Just making sure you’re getting on your feet every day, breathing in the fresh air and maybe breaking a sweat can go a long way toward promoting strong immunity.
In other words, reduce stress. Stress actually puts an insane amount of pressure on your immune system, and chronic stress can eventually make you sick in some way. Some stress is unavoidable, but choosing healthy coping methods is vital, as well as removing yourself from stressful situations when at all possible. Additionally, physical exercise, breathing exercises, meditation or prayer, practicing mindfulness, a peaceful hobby like gardening or drawing and yoga could all be used as methods of minimizing stress. Whatever you do to destress, make sure you make time for it regularly, especially when you’re feeling more pressure than usual. Your immune system will thank you for it.
We don’t mean you need to start a diet today. We mean selecting healthy food options, and taking the time to know and stock up on immunity-boosting ingredients that naturally provide you with vitamins and minerals essential in fighting infections. For example, green tea provides tons of antioxidants. Shellfish offers one of the highest concentrations of zinc naturally. Avocados, sunflower seeds and dark leafy greens contain lots of Vitamin E, essential to the immune system. And you’ll find a good amount of Vitamin D in yogurt, which also provides lots of needed probiotics for a healthy gut environment. Take the time to research all these foods and integrate them into your weekly meal plan.
Sometimes your body needs all the help it can get in a world of processed foods, added sugars and airborne pathogens. If you do choose to supplement your diet with vitamins and minerals that are perhaps more difficult to source from food, might we suggest the natural, organically sourced BUBS Naturals supplements for your daily doses of Collagen Protein, MCT and Vitamin C? By adding just a scoop of your supplement’s powder into your daily beverage of choice, drinking lots of water and going for a brisk walk after a good night’s sleep, your immune system will function well without the need for the latest supplement off the shelf.