Immune system health has been on the forefront of everyone’s mind recently, whether we’re talking about a particularly bad flu season or the recent conronavirus threat. At Nimble Fitness, we know a healthy body is a healthy immune system. Your immune system interacts with your various organs and other systems (neural, digestive, nervous, etc) to identify and regulate anything that might affect your health. So, let’s go over some straightforward ways to keep your immunity high and your system strong this year.
We’ve created a quick immune system cheat sheet to help your system fight off disease and infection. We love feedback at Nimble Fitness, by the way, so make sure to get in touch with any questions!
Here we go:
*Immune Boosters: These are official tips from Web MD. All of these seem fairly obvious, but during the course of a busy week, sometimes the basics get lost in the shuffle.
- Take basic steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
- Avoid touching surfaces in public—buses, coffee shops, supermarkets, etc—and then touching your face or mouth.
- Include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet.
- Hydrate frequently, especially in extreme weather (hot or cold).
- Exercise regularly.
- Get adequate sleep.
*Immunity Foods: This healthy food list is from the Healthline website. No surprises here. The citrus fruits and veggies contain key vitamins that support immune function, such as Vitamin C. Other foods, like garlic, ginger, turmeric and green tea, have essential anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant compounds, and healthy minerals. These foods are great for you, period!
*Bell Peppers, Broccoli & Spinach
*Garlic, Ginger & Turmeric
*Almonds & Seeds
*Managing Stress: The underlying cause of so much of the disease, ill health and infections we suffer is stress. Stress responses originate in our autonomic nervous system (autonomicmeaning it operates on its own, without our conscious effort). That system has 2 main components: the sympathetic and the parasympathetic. If we experience stress, it is the sympathetic system that kicks in—jacked up heart rate, shorter breaths, sweat, etc. The parasympathetic is the other side of the coin: lowered heart rate, longer breaths, rest and repair. These 2 parts of the nervous system influence and regulate the behavior of the immune system.
If you’re in sympathetic mode, your body is boosting inflammation and shutting down normal immune activity to respond to whatever stress you are facing. The parasympathetic system, on the other hand, actually brings inflammation down and promotes immune function. Bottom line: Stress definitely contributes to lowered immunity.
*Masks: Most doctors will tell you that the main purpose of wearing a mask is to stop a sick person from infecting others, not necessarily to prevent infection in a healthy person. The jury is still out on exactly how effective masks can be in actually preventing infection. When combined with thorough hand-washing and other basic health measures, however, it’s hard to see how wearing a mask would do any harm.
*The Takeaway? Work first on the most basic steps, what we call the low-hanging fruit: Wash your hands thoroughly at home and work. Take caution in public spaces; Hydrate frequently, eat well, get quality sleep, and make sure you exercise–but not at a level that completely wipes you out. And don’t let yourself get too stressed out!
Please make sure to get in touch with any questions about full-body health or immune system support at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’d love to hear from you!