As said in my last post about the benefits of vitamin D, having a strong immune system is super important. There is not a “one thing fixes it all” solution here. Rather, a strong immune system is a delicate balance of different things. This week, we are discussing how to support your immune system – lifestyle edition. Next week, we are diving into all topics related to food and nutrients. Enjoy!
What is the Immune System?
In its simplest, broken down format, it is a network of cells and organs that protect you from viruses and bacteria – basically any foreign substance that could be perceived harmful by the body. Your immune system is able to neutralize those foreign substances and remove them from your system. About 70 – 80 % of your immune system is based in your gut, where there are trillions of microbes that fight off said viruses and bacteria. Amongst other things, now you know why I am so passionate about gut health on the blog.
How to Support Your Immune System – Lifestyle Edition
So – what can you do for your immune system in order to help it (and you) feel your absolute best 🥰?
I know this sounds “so easy” to say and yet, this is one of the hardest things to do in today’s fast-paced world (trust me – I totally get it!). BUT you can, for example, lower your stress levels through exercise (not over-exercising, which can cause inflammation), walking in nature, which has a calming effect on our nervous system and the body, and mediation, which has been shown to scientifically reduce stress levels.
Getting Enough Quality Sleep
Sleep deprivation has been linked to a higher on-set of inflammation whilst at the same time, your immune system is less able to fight infections. Try to go to bed every night at the same time and aim for at least 7 – 8 hours of good sleep 😴.
Limiting Your Alcohol Intake
I am fairly confident that this is where you are ready to kill me 😂. Unfortunately, alcohol inhibits the ability of your macrophages to work properly. What are macrophages you are asking? They are a type of white blood cells that are part of your immune system and destroy foreign substances, microbes, etc. in the body. I have linked you an awesome mocktail above!!
Getting Enough Quality Protein
This was one that truly surprised me when I did my research because it is not a “natural” one to think of. Protein builds and repairs body tissue. Without adequate levels of protein in your diet, your immune system and antibodies are depleted, which means they are less able to fight infection. Start by incorporating protein already into your breakfast, for example with these Spiced Plum Overnight Oats.
Drinking Enough Water
Your immune system has several layers of defense through which it can protect you. One of these is your mucous membrane, which is (amongst other places) covering your mouth and nose. Staying hydrated will not only carry oxygen to your cells, but it will also eliminate toxins from your body and keep that gorgeous membrane of yours supported to continue to fight off infections. I have just released an article on this – called Top Tips for Hydration.
Avoid Refined Sugar
This is the second one on the list that is possibly making me not-so-popular today. Unfortunately, sugar feeds the bad bacteria in your gut, which then can lower your immunity. Sugar has also been shown to inhibit the absorption of Vitamin C in your body, which is an important vitamin and antioxidant to support your immune system. I mean, we cover Vitamin C almost every week as part of a recipe on the blog… Luckily – all the recipes on the blog are without refined sugar 🙌🏻. Try my Sweet Treats section or my Cakes and Cookies section.
I hope this week’s post has given a bit of a deeper understanding of the topic of immunity. Especially, how you can support it from a lifestyle perspective. Next week we will cover the food angle 🍎🍉🍇🍓🍋🥦🥑🥬🥒🌽. Looking forward to it!!