Hack Your Immunity!
Wed, 11/25/2020 - 10:26
Hack is a sexy word right? It implies a secret workaround that will get you better than expected results. But, here’s the catch with this blog – the six quick tips below aren’t a secret! You have been advised on each one of these healthy behaviors time and time again I’m sure, from experts across all modalities of health (medicine, fitness, nutrition etc.). Maybe, we hear them so much they lose their power? Well, I’m chiming in to remind you that these simple things anyone can do and they will have a HUGE impact on your health. So, take a quick look and then take them to heart !
Hydrate – Chronic dehydration is linked to a host of negative side effects from exacerbating inflammation in the body to decreasing the function of our lymphatic system. When it comes to our immunity however there is an irrefutable connection. Our bloodstream is our biological “superhighway” – literally circulating nutrients and oxygen throughout the body. And in fact, the bloodstream is how our immune cells travel to find and fight off pathogens. So when our blood volume is compromised our immune system is as well. So be sure to drink enough water to keep your superhighway flowing. There really is no specific formula for this as there are a variety of different factors that affect hydration, but a simple and effective gauge is to drink until your pee looks like light lemonade. This is how you will know if you are getting enough water.
Sleep – It’s irrefutable that consistent sleep (7 to 8 hours a night) strengthens our immune system. Whereas conversely, sleeping problems (sleep apnea, insomnia etc.) can interfere with the immune systems optimal functioning. Some studies have even linked proper sleep to improving the efficacy of some vaccines as well as how quickly we can recover from an illness. While we sleep our immune system releases certain proteins called cytokines. These cytokines help to protect us against infection. Plus, when we don’t sleep infection fighting anti-bodies can become reduced. Sleep keeps stress hormones in check, which can also compromise your immune system as well. So, turn off the tv. Put down the phone. Shut off the computer. And start prioritizing your shut eye!
Meditate – We know that stress can weaken your immune system. And meditation can help alleviate some of that stress – not just emotionally – the physiological effects are overwhelming. Study after study has shown that meditation can help to improve everything from mood to immunity. Now I don’t need you to spend tons of time daily getting your om on. 5 to 10 minutes a day will go a long way. Try one of these meditations in The Fitness App to get you started: 5 Minutes of Chill, Happiness and Gratitude Meditation, Meditation to Cultivate Resilience, Meditation to Release Worry And Anxiety.
Eat Your Veggies AND Consider an Organic Whole Food Supplement – Over the course of 2020 I am betting you heard that things like a vitamin D deficiency might affect a Covid infection or zinc and vitamin c can help to boost immune system function. Don’t get me wrong – I am in no way claiming a healthy diet can cure you from something dangerous, but I am absolutely positive it can only help. Eating a wide variety of organic whole foods (whole grains, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, clean proteins) can only help give your body the vital nutrients it needs to fight off infection, while eating tons of refined sugar and processed grains do the exact opposite. So be smart with your nutrition and if you are so inclined you can consider an organic whole food supplement to help gap any blind spots in your diet.
Sunshine – I touched upon this above with regard to vitamin D, but the best way to get vitamin D is not from food or even supplements but rather from direct sunlight. Now, some of us are very conscientious of our skin and hide from the sun (yours truly), but you can aim to get 15 minutes a day during non peak hours to help optimize your Vitamin D production and boost your immunity. I also take a supplement of D3 with K2, but be sure to discuss with your doctor before you do this.
Exercise – Bet you knew this one was coming. Workout! Not like a fiend. But aim to get at least four 20 minute workouts in a week. Put simply, exercise helps immune cells perform more effectively – it increases circulation (to help the super highway be that much more super), reduces stress and inflammation, and can strengthen antibodies. So move that body – you will not only look better, but most importantly you will feel better!