How to Maintain a Well-Balanced Immune System

As we continue to navigate a pandemic, one thing has become very clear:  keeping a balanced immune system is undeniably one of our best defenses against acquiring and surviving any disease.

Your immune system is a complex system that protects you from both external and internal threats. External threats are foreign microbes that can make us ill, such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Internal threats include the development of cancer. Your immune system keeps on scanning and monitoring the body for any of these threats and fights to protect you. Your immune system is essential for your growth and longevity.

When your immune system is weak, it fails to protect your bodies from infections ranging anywhere from life-threatening infections to the common cold or flu. 

On the other side of the spectrum is when your immune system is hyperactive or dysregulated. This condition leads to the development of autoimmune disorders, meaning, the immune system does not differentiate the self from the non-self: It attacks its own. Diseases like Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and multiple sclerosis are autoimmune disorders.

We have learned that one of the biggest complications of Covid-19 is when the immune system overacts…like all gas and no brakes, which leads to an inflammatory immune response that is out of control!

So our goal is to have a functioning, well-balanced immune system: not weak AND not hyperactive. We can achieve this by the following ways:

Avoid things that weaken the immune system.

Steer clear of smoking. Nicotine makes your body produce more cortisol and reduces the formation of B cell antibodies and T cells’ response to antigens. Even e-cigarettes are not good for you because the vapor contains free radicals that cause the airways to be inflamed and thus more prone to infection.

Be active but avoid excessive exercise. Too much of anything is not good for you. Being inactive weakens your immune system, meaning it is more likely for you to acquire ANY infection because your defense system is low according to the study of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine in 2012. However, doing too much strenuous exercise is also not good for you, and will lead to immune system suppression, So make sure you exercise and move your body (30-60 minute moderate physical activity, stretching, strength training) without overtraining.
 
Avoid excessive drinking of alcohol.
 The metabolite of alcohol, which is acetaldehyde, impairs the ciliary function in the airways. The cilia or hair-like projections are part of the immune defense that sweep the microbes and foreign bodies up to the airways away from the lungs. If they are impaired, the lungs are more prone to bacterial and viral infection.

Get UV rays…but not too much. Getting 15-30 mins of sun on most days is super important for a regulated immune system and gives your body essential vitamin D. However, like everything, too much is not good for you. Too much sun and UV rays weakens the immune system.

Manage stress, loneliness, and grief.

Stress, loneliness, and grief are associated with increased cortisol levels and impaired or suppressed immune system. It is understandable that people today might be feeling more stressed, lonely, and sad because of this pandemic. But we also have to bear in mind that we need to process these feelings in a healthy way, or else they will take a toll on our well-being.

Get support from friends, family, support groups, counselors, therapists, coaches as needed. Practice relaxation techniques. Set your priorities to take care of your mental health.

Eat well-balanced meals.

According to a June 2014 review published in Nutrition Journal, a diet high in sugar, salt, gluten, omega-6 fats (corn, canola, soy, and other “vegetable” oils), and saturated fat and low in omega-3 fats, impairs the immune system. If you want a reliable immune system, start with good nutrition.
 
Get a good amount of sleep.


Did you know that, according to research, people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to get ill after their exposure to a virus or bacteria and that lack of sleep slows down your recovery?

Having a good night’s sleep of about 7-9 hours must be non-negotiable. After all, it is a necessity to keep your immune system up and running.

It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.

If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!
Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!
~Rebecca

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