How Your Lifestyle Could be Affecting Your Immune System
WRITTEN BY TJ Ferraraabout 2 months ago
Your immune system is a reflection of your lifestyle. True story: the way in which you care for your body is reflected in the strength of your immune system. Unfortunately, immunity isn’t something you always have. The choices you make determine whether or not your immune system is strong and able to fight infection, or whether it’s sluggish and weak. Think of it as a campfire - if you throw in dry wood and kindling, you’re going to have a hearty, hot bonfire on your hands. But if you feed the fire damp wood and trash, it’s going to smoke terribly before fizzling out. Every day, we come into contact with things that put our immune system on the defense. So why aren’t we all constantly sick? Because it’s the defensive nature of your immune system that prevents you from succumbing to every viral or bacterial particle invading your system. However, your immune system can’t do it alone. You have the capability of giving your immune system the strength it needs from your life choices.
If you’re tired, it’s not because your body is trying to be annoying. It’s because you need to take the time to recharge. You don’t expect your phone to constantly operate at 20% battery, so why would you expect your body to? When you sleep, your body produces necessary proteins called cytokines; when you don’t sleep, production is severely reduced, for both these proteins as well as for other cells and antibodies known to help fight infection. So when you’re tired and you don’t sleep, you’re not only wearing yourself out; you’re preventing your body from regenerating in the way it needs. In other words, lack of sleep hurts overall immunity. If sleep deprivation and exhaustion dictate the narrative of your daily life, it might be time for an honest look at your schedule. If you find yourself running from one event to the next, with little to no time dedicated to resting, it might be time to delete an activity or two from your agenda. If you can’t get between 6-8 hours of sleep a night, it’s time to start eliminating barriers between yourself and the rest you know you need. Additionally, turn the screens off a while, before bedtime and wind down instead with a book. You’ll find yourself falling asleep faster, staying asleep longer and feeling healthier overall.
Do you spend most of your day sitting? A sedentary lifestyle is one of the main causes of a sluggish immune system and inflammation within the body. If academic or occupational reasons keep you from sufficient exercise throughout the day, consider new ways to get your body moving and your heart pumping. Do you live close enough to work or school to consider walking or biking to work when the weather is pleasant? Could you spend your lunch break outside, maybe strolling around the neighborhood for 20 minutes, taking deep breaths of fresh air and letting the sunshine sink into your skin? No matter what you do for work or school, to keep your immune system on a healthy high alert, make sure you’re getting up and moving around throughout the day. Even if you can’t make the time for a full-on workout, even a stroll up and down the street can help prevent illness.
Most people operate at a pretty high level of stress, with all the things we’re expected to balance day-to-day. Unfortunately, if you constantly feel stressed out, you’re more likely to get sick than someone who spends their days drinking out of a coconut in a hammock on the beach. Since this level of leisure is (tragically) unavailable to us most days, it’s important to find the time to make it a reality. That is, make the time for moments of peace in your life when you can reduce immune system-damaging stress. Schedule a self-care day, cancel a dinner plan when you need to sleep, take a yoga class, practice mindfulness, pet a puppy, whatever it takes. Whatever reduces stress in your life, do it, because how relaxed you are is directly linked to how strong your immune system is.
The best diet for a strong immune system is a healthy one. Conversely, the surest way to weaken your immune system is a diet high in sugar, fats and carbs. None of these items are particularly rich in vitamins, which are more than essential to a healthy immune system. When building immunity around a diet, you’ll want to pick items full of Vitamins C and D, as well as Zinc. Forgo the cheesy crackers and reach for the cucumbers instead; leave the breaded chicken wings behind and opt for all-natural chicken breasts; bid farewell to after-dinner desserts and try a mug of antioxidant-packed green tea in its place. Just as a car can’t run on cheap gasoline, neither can your body run on nutrient-low foods.
Your body constantly loses water throughout the day. You don’t need to drink water because you’re thirsty, you need to drink water because your body cycles through it all the time. The human body is mostly composed of water, and it is this water that flushes out all the nasties, giving a helping hand to your immune system. So, in order to keep things running internally the way they should, as well as to keep you energized and hydrated, make sure drinking water isn’t a second thought, but a frequent habit.
Time to supplement
If you’re eating well, sleeping well, exercising and taking care of yourself, you’re probably feeling pretty healthy. However, sometimes (especially when our immune systems are at more risk than usual) it’s helpful to supplement one’s diet with vitamins, minerals and proteins to keep functioning at an optimal level. With just one daily scoop of BUBS Naturals Collagen Protein or MCT Oil Powder, you’ll find yourself well on your way toward improved, lasting immunity.