A strong immune system doesn’t come from a pill but rather is a holistic approach that begins with a healthy diet and lifestyle. If you follow these four simple lifestyle steps on a daily basis you will be on your way to building a strong and healthy immune system that will serve you now and for years to come.
Engaging in Exercise
When it comes to lifestyle, the best immune-supporting activities include daily exercise. Studies show that you can get most of the health-benefits that exercise has to offer in as little as 30 minutes of brisk walking a day.
The key to good quality sleep is getting at least 7 to 8 hours of hours you sleep each night. This timeframe most effectively helps to reset your immune system. In fact, the exact times that you sleep matter. Going to bed before 10 p.m. and rising before 6 a.m. appear to be the magic hours for your health. Studies show that if you sleep during these times, you experience the most immune-boosting state of sleep.
Because stress is one of the most powerful destroyers of our immune system, it is extremely important to minimize its damaging effects through the daily practice of an effective stress-reducing technique such as mediation, Tai Chi or yoga. If you are not familiar with these techniques — no problem, it’s easy to learn and there are many instructors now teaching online. In fact, many of these instructional videos can be found on YouTube for free.
Research shows the most health-promoting diet is one that is primarily plant-based. So, fill your plate with lots of fresh organic, colorful fruits and vegetables because they are packed full of vitamins, minerals and substances, called phytochemicals that act like natural medicines.
Certain vitamins and nutritional supplements can also help to strengthen your immune system. Vitamins C and D are particularly important for your immune health. If you are deficient in either, research shows your risk of the flu and upper respiratory tract infections are much higher.
One group of overlooked nutrients that is very important to immune health are essential amino acids, which play a major role in protein synthesis and the formation of white blood cell and antibodies. This is very important because amino acids help fight off foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses. With limited exercise options right now, muscle loss can play a bigger role than most realize – it can impair your immune system and increase your susceptibility to sickness. Lean muscle loss is a particular issue in those who are aged 60 and older. If you become ill, your body will begin breaking down even more muscle to supply your immune system the amino acids it needs. However, studies show that if you take a specific combination of amino acids as a supplement, it can supply your immune system with the nutrients it needs and prevent muscle loss. An amino acid supplement called Rejuvenate consists of the exact combination of essential amino acids with higher concentrations of leucine, valine and isoleucine that are shown in studies to be most effective. It increases the body’s ability to rebuild and repair muscle by 57% with noticeable muscle mass improvement within just 30 days.
Control What You Can Control
The pandemic has caused everyone to experience a lot of stress. At high-stress times, most people want to reach for comfort foods that are high in refined carbohydrates and sugar; drink more alcohol; and stay up too late binge-watching TV shows or movies. Do your best to avoid or limit these activities as they severely weaken the immune system and will work against you. Instead, focus on everything you can do to help strengthen your immune system, including eating as healthy as possible; getting the right amounts of sleep at the right time; and supplementing daily with vitamins C, D and essential amino acids. Your goal should be to come out of the pandemic stronger and with healthier habits to prepare your body for whatever comes next.
Christine Horner, MD, FACS, is a nationally known surgeon, author and professional speaker and holds two board certifications: the National Board of Surgery and the National Board of Plastic Surgery. Horner was recognized as a leader in her field shortly after starting her plastic and reconstructive surgery practice because she successfully ran a national campaign to pass laws requiring insurance companies to pay for breast reconstruction following mastectomy. Her five-year crusade with the Breast Reconstruction Advocacy Project (BRA Project) led to the passage of a federal law that was signed by President Bill Clinton on Oct. 21, 1998. Horner is the award-winning author of, Waking The Warrior Goddess: Dr. Christine Horner’s Program to Protect Against and Fight Breast Cancer, and is one of the country’s leading authorities on breast cancer prevention. Her most recent book, Radiant Health, Ageless Beauty won the Elit Award for Best Book in Health, Medicine and Nutrition and is a 30-day program to discover your own extraordinary health, beauty and longevity.