Immune System

In light of Covid-19, many have probably heard of the importance of boosting your immune system. Our immune system is how our bodies ward off viruses. Ways to keep our immune system strong and active:

Get plenty of sleep

Sleep is one of the best (and easiest) ways to boost your immune system. A protein called cytokines is released in your body during sleep that helps fight infection or issues resulting from inflammation (Olson, 2018). T-cells, a type of white blood cell that attacks viruses, are also produced during sleep (Rockefeller University Press, 2019).

Supplements

We don’t always get the vitamins and minerals we need from the foods we eat. Taking high quality vitamins (whole food supplements), especially when feeling under the weather, might keep us from getting sick. The following vitamins are known to support immune function:

  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin C
  • B Vitamins (B-complex & B-12)
  • Zinc

Elderberry

Pick up an elderberry product from your local health food store! Elderberries are full of antioxidants that support immune systems.

Avoid sugar

Remember those T-cells we talked about earlier? Sugar inhibits their ability to ward off foreign agents in your body, essentially weakening your immune system. Limiting your sugar intake is key when being mindful of your health.

Gratitude

There is evidence that gratitude can have a positive impact on our immune system as well. According to Dunn (2017), in times of stress and worry, cortisol (a stress hormone) increases, inhibiting the function of your immune system. In contrast, it has been found that when people focus on positive aspects of their lives, the parasympathetic nervous system activates, calming the body and strengthening the immune system (Dunn, 2017). Ways to become more intentional about gratitude may include journaling, prayer, and meditation.

 

References

Dunn, L. (2017, May 12). Gratitude is good for you! Science finds being grateful has positive health benefits. https://www.today.com/health/be-thankful-science-says-gratitude-good-your-health-t58256. 

Olson, E. J. (2018, November 28). Can lack of sleep make you sick? Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/expert-answers/lack-of-sleep/faq-20057757.

Rockefeller University Press. (2019, February 12). How sleep can fight infection. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/02/190212094839.htm. 

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