In the past year and a half, we’ve become unavoidably aware of the importance of a strong, healthy immune system. The body’s immune system is our best line of defense against infection and illness, so it is essential that we take care of it. Fortunately, the best ways to do this involve simple daily steps. We’ll discuss them here.
A healthy immune system is one that is well-nourished with a balance of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It isn’t difficult to eat for an optimized immune system. Just avoid unnecessary sugar and salt and limit consumption of saturated fats. Additionally, eat foods such as blueberries and dark chocolate for rich antioxidants. Eat broccoli and spinach, along with citrus fruits for vitamin C, and get small doses of early-morning sunshine to naturally boost vitamin D.
Exercise is one of the cornerstones of good health. It increases heart rate and circulation and helps us maintain a weight that is good for our body frame. But immunity? How can exercise help us fight off infection and illness? It does so by increasing body temperature, for one, which helps ward off bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. Exercise also causes changes in antibodies and white blood cells and helps them move more rapidly through the body, finding pathogens more efficiently.
Stressors activate the body’s fight or flight response and can be good in the short-term. However, prolonged stress or the mismanagement of our emotional and physical responses to stressors can have significantly detrimental effects. Stress increases certain hormones and redirects physiological resources to the fight or flight response, taking them away from the immune system. It can also disrupt our sleep cycle and cause chronic inflammation, both of which deplete the immune system. There are several ways to manage stress more efficiently. One is to exercise. The physical movement of any exercise, even jumping up and down, helps stress move out of the body. Other suggestions include consulting with a therapist who can offer stress management techniques, journaling, meditating, and engaging in an enjoyable hobby.
Protect Yourself from Infections
Regardless of our natural infection-fighting capacity, it is necessary to boost immunity through good hand-washing hygiene and proper vaccinations as needed. Routine screenings are also essential for long-term health and wellness.
Summit Healthcare in Show Low, AZ is proud to provide patients with exceptional, state-of-the-art healthcare, close to home. For more information on our services or to schedule treatment with one of our providers, contact our main line at (928) 537-4375.