How to Manage Your Immune System like a ProGeneral
Our immune systems are what keep us alive every single day. Without a properly functioning immune system, we would die from the common cold. According to Dr. CAssel (2020), A strong immune system isn’t actually a good thing; what you want is a balanced immune system. Now more than ever, getting sick is the worst-case scenario for most people. In the era of Covid-19, it means a minimum of 2 weeks of social distancing, alerting everyone you have been in recent contact with, avoiding the vulnerable in your life and sometimes you’re left with long-term side-effects.
For varying reasons, the pandemic encouraged many of us to be healthier, exercise, eat better and overall, just take better care of our bodies. There are so many common misconceptions about living a “healthy lifestyle” (whatever that actually means) circling the internet. Social media has convinced us that if we’re not cutting out sugar, carbs, and eating only organic food, we’re not living a truly healthy lifestyle. Something that has taken me years to figure out is that when we live a balanced lifestyle (something that looks different for everybody), is when we look and feel our healthiest.
When I think of health, I think of bettering ourselves from the inside out. But what if I told you that external factors also play a massive role in the quality of our immune system? I have gathered some helpful tips that you will need to know if you want to keep your body happy and healthy.
Tips on keeping a healthy immune system
The first one is likely something your mom or grandma has hounded you with since you can remember: your vitamins. Vitamin C and Vitamin D are vital components in maintaining a healthy immune system. Although it’s important to get all of our necessary vitamins in, these two are especially crucial. Vitamin C and D help prevent and fight infection and support our immune systems immensely (Cleveland Clinic, 2020).
The next factor in promoting a healthy immune system is our diet (duh). A balanced diet plays a massive role in how we feel and perform in our day-to-day activities. Eating too much or too little can make us feel sluggish and affects our moods. Personally, when I don’t eat enough in a day, my personality can be defined in one word, as “hangry”. Eating a sufficient amount of protein in a day will help you feel satiated. And let’s not forget a generous amount of water in our diet. I was surprised to learn that water promotes blood flow, keeps your eyes and mouth clean and helps produce Lymph (Fit Day, 2020).
One of the most obvious signs of a healthy immune system is your gut. Roughly 80% of your immune system resides there, so maintaining a healthy gut is arguably one of the most important factors in a balanced immune system (AP, 2019). When your gut isn’t functioning properly, you’ll notice bloating, gas or stomach pain. It can also result in drastic weight fluctuations. The food you eat provides your body with healthy bacteria, which helps your body function properly. Certain foods may result in a negative reaction, and your gut will let you know if you have consumed something it doesn’t like.
And last but certainly not least: keep stress to a minimum. When your stress levels are high, the number of lymphocytes in your body decrease. Meaning there are fewer white blood cells in your system to help fight infections.
How do I know if my immune system needs help?
Your body has several methods to let you know that something is wrong. Circling back to my last point, high stress is an indicator of a weak immune system. This will make you much more susceptible to catching a cold or contracting an infection. High-stress jobs, family and just…Life is bound to result in some stress, so learning to manage your stress is essential. If you struggle with stress, try meditating, exercise or even counselling.
The second sign of a struggling immune system is frequent stomach issues. As stated earlier, approximately 80% of your immune system resides in your gut, and the micro bacteria in your gut are essential to your overall health. Understandably, when something is out of whack, your stomach is likely to feel it first.
And a last big sign is you are constantly feeling exhausted. This is because your body is preserving energy to fight off infections, leaving you feeling sluggish and run down. You may also notice an increase in infections because your body’s immune system is being spread too thin.
Following the tips above will help you avoid these symptoms and keep your immune system balanced. Although if you feel that you’re doing everything you can to live a healthy lifestyle, you may need to consult your doctor to ensure you’re not immune compromised.
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