A healthy immune system is the body’s first line of defense against outside invaders. This is a complex system in the body, but the steps you can take to help keep your body at its healthiest balance (or equilibrium) are simple!
Get Enough Sleep
Everyone knows a good night’s sleep is one of the keys to feeling your best, but did you know it’s backed by science? Research shows that slow wave (aka REM cycle) sleep plays an important role in the formation of immunological memory. That means that as the body is fighting off an invader, it makes cells while you sleep that “remember” that attacker so it can be marked as “bad” in the future and be eliminated.
This mostly occurs in those deep sleep cycles and is why sleep is #1 on this list. It’s important to note that lack of sleep can have a negative impact on the heart, lungs, blood, and other systems in the body as well, making a good night sleep even more important for good overall health.
Move More, Eat Less
Countless studies on obesity and diabetes have shown that even modest weight loss due to healthy diet and basic exercise can have immune boosting outcomes. While significant weight loss is always a challenge, findings such as these suggest that a little goes a long way and even can reverse many of the damage often seen in the immune cells of obese people and even folks with Type 2 Diabetes.
Additionally, exercise in general has been see to boost the immune system and body’s overall defenses.
Maintain A Nutritious Diet
While we’re on the subject of eating less to combat issues that come from being overweight, it’s a good time to touch base on diet overall. We’ve all heard the adage “you are what you eat”, and science backs this. Foods that cause the body stress and inflammation have a negative impact on the body and can lead to the immune system taking a hit.
This means eating less processed foods, dairy, meat, and eating more fresh vegetables. While this is harder sometimes than others, a daily focus on “eating the rainbow” or in other words eating veggies and fruits that are a multitude of colors, has a positive impact on immune function. In fact green vegetables like bok choy and broccoli are the source of a chemical signal that is essential to a fully functioning immune system. They accomplish this by ensuring that immune cells in the gut and skin function properly.
Manage Long Term Stress
Stress has been a part of human life for thousands of years, but only recently have we learned more about this mechanism in terms of how it relates to immune function.
Although stress had earned a bad rep in recent years, it’s important to divide stress between short term and long term. Short term stress can have positive effects by preparing your body to deal with challenges, while long term stress generally has a negative impact on the immune system.
One of best ways to reduce long term stress is as simple as learning breath control techniques like deep breathing and focused breathing. Other popular techniques for reducing stress are Mindfulness meditation, yoga, tai chi, prayer, and guided imagery like relaxing music on YouTube.
Herbs and Supplements
Due to the complex nature of the human immune system, it’s very challenging for researchers to come up with clear information about specific herbs and supplements in regards to how they may benefit human health. Herbs like echinacea, ginseng, and astragalus have been used for centuries for wellness, but have still yet to be pinpointed for boosting the immune system.
In recent years, CBD’s relationship with the immune system has researched heavily as well, but much like other herbs, it’s unclear at this time how and to what extent hemp and CBD interact with the immune system. What we do know is that CBD has a neutralizing effect on the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is part of the immune system. This equilibrium brought about by CBD still requires more research before we understand it clinically.
Mushrooms like Shiitake, Chaga, Reishi, Lion’s Mane, and Turkey Tail are being researched for their health benefits as well, and may be helpful with this same equilibrium goal.
It may seem obvious, but avoiding infection in the first place is another key to maintaining the body’s equilibrium. While some diseases are almost impossible to avoid (like the common cold), many others are preventable simply by washing your hands, not touching your face, eyes, or nose, following safe food handling practices, and social distancing or wearing a mask around anyone showing symptoms of disease or infection. This also allows your immune system’s cells to be on the ready for serious attackers and gives you agency over easy to avoid germs.
Everyone knows that tobacco smoke contains numerous harmful chemicals, but many are unaware of its effects on the immune system. Exposure of tobacco smoke is considered as a cause of preventable death worldwide in regards to its impact on the brain, respiratory system, cardiovascular system, infections, and more.
It’s no surprise that inhaling a cocktail of chemicals would stress out the body, but many overlook this aspect of the immune system. For the body to self-regulate and modulate immune function, smoking or vaping of any kind should be drastically reduced or eliminated from daily life.
Balance Is Key
It’s clear when diving into the world of improving your immune system that the goal should always be activities, food, and supplements that bring the body back to a balanced state, also known as homeostasis. This equilibrium is and a bunch of fresh water daily are the key to allowing the powerful processes that keep us healthy ticking.
Design Wellness Tips
As with all wellness changes, it’s always a good idea consult with your physician and to start out slow to when making life changes to improve your immune system.
In regards to CBD, we always recommend taking time to discover what dosage works best for you by keeping a journal and tracking when and how much hemp oil you’re using. Track your health and wellness plan to gage when you need to make an adjustment to ensure that you get your desired results when you need it and it integrates seamlessly with your wellness goals.
Questions about CBD?
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