From my knowledge as a Licensed Health Coach and Physician Assistant S-2, I have designed a 5 point approach to Keeping our Immune Systems Strong.
Clearly we are far from eradicating COVID 19 from our environment, but we do have the power to boost our own defenses. As we learn how to increase our protection and tolerance to severe disease, we can diminish our fear of infection. My intention is to spread vetted information on how we can best KISS. Keep Immune Systems Strong! This blog series will address each point of the pictured KISS Star. Today’s initial post is a general overview of each prong. In the following weeks I will delve deeper into each component.
During sleep our bodies produce cytokines and T-cells. Both of these play a vital role in immunity. Cytokines create an immune response by targeting infection and inflammation, while T- cells kill virus infected cells via toxic mediators. Studies have shown that lack of sleep (both quality and quantity) does indeed weaken our immune system. Those who are skimping on zzz’s are more prone to get sick after being exposed to a virus. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night to ensure you support your body’s production of cytokines and immune cells.
Research has proven that because it causes chronic inflammation, obesity impairs immune function. Exercise in moderation not only keeps you at a healthy body weight, but it also prevents your immune system from aging prematurely. Physical activity can aid in flushing bacteria out of your airways and slows down the release of stress hormones. Exercise also increases the production of macrophages, which are a type of white blood cell that destroys harmful viruses and bacteria in the body.
Cortisol is the main hormone our adrenal gland produces while under stress. While we are in flight or fight mode cortisol does a lot of important things for us – for instance, it increases glucose levels in our bloodstream. We want vital energy to get away from that saber toothed tiger! However it also suppresses certain facets of our immune system. That said, chronic stress becomes a problem and makes us more prone to infection.
Every stage of our immune response depends on micronutrients. Ensuring you are eating a variety of whole, nutrient packed is vital to keeping your immunity strong. Certain nutrients are crucial to the function and growth of immune cells. These include vitamin D, zinc, selenium, iron, vitamin C, and protein – including the amino acid glutamine. The SAD (standard American diet) tends to consist of highly processed foods which lack these essential immune boosting factors. Watch out for refined foods, stick to God’s garden!
HERBS & SUPPLEMENTS
Mother Earth has provided us with a plethora of anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral herbs that can increase our protection against pathogens. Research and trials have shown us how beneficial these plants can be to our immune health.