With the flu system upon us, one of the most frequently asked questions we hear is how to boost the immune system. With a global pandemic now also on the scene, we’re more committed than ever to maintaining a healthy immune system.
Like most aspects of our wellness, a healthy immune system is largely the result of plenty of sleep, nourishing food and consistent exercise.
So while no one of these things will guarantee a perfect immune system, incorporating these methods into your daily routine will hopefully increase immunity and overall metabolic health.
Sleep is an easy place to start. Long before we ever get sick, our bodies need rest. Studies show that people who have not slept well are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus - especially one that can easily lead to the common cold.
While we sleep, our body is busy. During periods of sleep, our bodies produce cytokines. These proteins are important not only for high-quality sleep, but also for fighting off illness and infection. Another thing our body produces while we sleep is immune cells.
Getting good rest offers more than simple, short-term benefits. Rest is also super important for long-term health and longevity. Years of poor sleep are attributed to all kinds of ailments including obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Sleep might just be the easiest way to get in better shape! You can start boosting your immune system simply by tucking yourself into bed (and turning off your phone) at a reasonable time each evening.
Inflammation is a bit of a buzzword right now, but it’s also never been more important. Inflammation occurs when your body sets off an inflammatory response - that is, it is fighting something. Under normal circumstances, inflammation is a good thing, a normal response meant to keep the body from harm and protect against infection.
There are two types of inflammation: chronic and acute. Acute inflammation is the result of a cut or scrape, when the body sends white blood cells to fight off possible infections in the affected area. This is also what happens when you’re fighting sickness, and your body temporarily produces an army of extra immune cells to fight off the infection.
But sometimes, our immune systems flare up more than they need to.
Unfortunately, many Americans are plagued by chronic inflammation. This could be a result of allergies or other immune disorders, but it is also caused by much of the food we eat which makes up the Standard American Diet (SAD). This means that the immune system is working overtime when it doesn’t need to, while other intruders such as viruses slip through our immune system’s defenses.
First, avoid foods that can cause inflammation. The worst offenders include:
Instead, opt for foods with anti-inflammatory properties, such as:
Pursuing a healthy diet and exercise are two ways of fighting off unnecessary inflammation.
Exercise, even light cardio or lifting, is essential to maintaining a healthy immune system. We really can’t stress that enough. Studies find time and time again that exercise improves immune functionality through multiple pathways. Exercise also helps to increase blood flow.
Regular exercise is also linked to better metabolic health; this includes sufficient cardio to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, blood pressure and waist circumference. Researchers at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill found that only 1 in 8 Americans have good metabolic health. The problem here is that poor metabolic is linked to - you guessed it - inflammation. And of course, that is linked to poor immunity.
One lesser-known supplement for immunity is yeast beta-glucan. Beta-glucans are sugars found in the walls of bacteria, fungi, yeasts, algae, lichens and plants like oats and barley. Yeast beta-glucan is derived specifically from yeast, and can be used to supplement immune functionality.
Two independent, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies found that a yeast beta-glucan supplement reduced the occurrence of colds in people who frequently found themselves sick.
This supplement can be taken daily, especially leading up to cold and flu season. Before stocking up, you’ll want to make sure the brand you choose is well researched and has a high beta-glucan composition, and that it’s not just filler ingredients.
There are so many important vitamins and minerals that boost the immune system. These include Vitamins C, D, E and A, as well as Zinc. While food is always the best place to start, these vitamins and others can also be taken as supplements to further improve general immunity.
Your immune system is stocked with proteins that fight off bacteria and viruses. Give those proteins a boost by providing them with the wide range of amino acids found in collagen peptides. Check out BUBS Naturals Original Collagen Peptides for a flavorless blend that can be mixed into your favorite beverages and recipes. Or, familiarize yourself with our Fountain of Youth blend, which contains immune-boosting maqui berry and Vitamin C. As always, our collagen peptides are sourced from happy, free-range cows in conflict-free zones, meaning you can trust in our respect for the earth, the animals and of course, your body.