Most of us know that we have a personal immune system, but we don’t exactly know what it is and how important it is for our overall wellbeing.
Often, we do understand that a good diet and exercise for example are beneficial for our health (saying that, understanding and living by it is a different matter), but only start looking deeply in our overall wellbeing when something like a medical diagnosis is thrown at us.
What exactly is the immune system? How can we get it into tip top shape, way before we are diagnosed with a medical issue and therefore possibly preventing it in the first place?
Simply put, the Immune system is a collection of processes and structures in the body designed to protect the body against disease or other potentially damaging foreign bodies, like bacteria and viruses entering the body system.
The main parts of the immune system that actively fight infections are the white blood cells, antibodies, the complement system, the lymphatic system, the spleen, the thymus and the bone marrow.
When a person has a weak immune system, the body struggles to fight infections and disease. Signs for a weak immune system are
- Frequent infections
- Feeling tired all the time
- Slow wound healing
- Lots of stomach troubles
So, what can you do to strengthen your immune system and therefore create a strong foundation for optimal health and wellbeing?
1. Move your body
Lots has been said about the benefits of exercise, and it is truly an important ingredient in any immune boosting program. It helps you to control your weight, blood sugar and insulin levels and reduces your risk of heart disease. In addition, it does wonders for your mental health (including helping with depression), energy levels as well as the clarity of your mind and overall happiness (endorphins).
2. Eat well
The good old diet, a subject many are dreading because it sounds like restrictions are coming. There are so many different diets out there now, it is easy to get confused which one to choose. From Paleo, Keto, Vegan, Atkins and many more. Again, it is an individual thing, and you need to test it out what works for you and your body. I personally would go for the Mediterranean Diet as it is a varied diet and has a lot of health benefits. Saying that, if you are on a cancer journey, a low carbs and low sugar diet might work best. If in doubt moderation is the key.
3. Sleep enough
Sleep is as imperative to a strong immune system as exercise and nutrition. It gives your body the time it needs to rest and repair and it supports the proteins and cells of the immune system to detect and destroy invaders. Simply, if you don’t get enough sleep you are depleting your immune system over time and are more prone to falling ill.
4. Mix well with non-toxic people
Social contacts and relationships are so important for our wellbeing. They uplift and support you if they are mutual enjoyable and beneficial, they drain you and bring you down if they are toxic. The keepers in your life support you, have your best interest at heart and give you unconditional love and encouragement. They listen to you, be there for you when you need them, respect and support your decisions and are great to have fun with. If you have people in your life that bring you down or are toxic by nature – plan to stay clear of them if you can.
5. Watch your thoughts
Your mind and body are very much connected; your thoughts and feelings directly affect your physical and emotional well-being. Examine the way you think and find out if your thinking style is supporting or sabotaging you. Watch your thoughts and your language and try to kick out everything that is negative and overly judgemental.
6. Have fun and laughter
Remember to laugh and have fun! Humour and laughter are the best medicines, especially in difficult times! The good old belly laugh plays an important role in reducing stress and anxiety through endorphin secretion which support mental and physical relaxation. Find the funny side in things and you will feel lighter and happier immediately! Take time out for laughter and play!
7. Get rid of your addictions
It is common knowledge that smoking, drinking and taking drugs is bad for your health and immune system. The occasional glass of wine or beer won’t harm you, usually it becomes much more then that over time. Let’s face it, it is enjoyable and it takes the edge off. However, when you get to the point that you need it to go through your daily life, you are on a slippery and unhealthy slope. It takes willpower to kick addictions into touch, but you can do it when you set your mind to it. And there are great professionals out there who can help you on your journey.
8. Create purpose in your life
You have things you love doing and come easy to you. If not yet, take some time and listen to your heart’s guidance to find your purpose. Hopefully your work aligns with it and you therefore spend most of your days happy and fulfilled. Not everyone is in that position, and many people are in jobs they don’t enjoy. If that is you, ask yourself the question what changes you can make to achieve the above, and what you would need to do. If that is not possible right now, at least create opportunities in your spare time to do the things you love. Happiness greatly benefits your immune system!
9. Have physical contact
Touch and a sense of closeness usually creates a sense of comfort and well-being. It helps increase the level of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, which is called the “happiness hormone”, and oxytocin, a hormone involved in human bonding. That is why a hug from a loved one feels so good. In addition, sex does not only feel good, it is good for you and your immune system too. It lowers blood pressure, heart attack and prostate cancer risk, eases stress, improves sleep, boosts your libido and counts as exercise.
10. Relax, energise and meditate
Taking time out for relaxation is as important as being active and busy. It helps your body and mind to recover and rejuvenate. Relaxation techniques like mediation reduce your stress hormone, reduce muscle tensions, lower your heart and breathing rate, help maintain normal blood sugar level and increase clarity of mind and peacefulness. With energy healing like Reiki amongst others you can restore your health, support your goals and find peace in yourself.
Lots to do and to think about! I will break it down in smaller chunks in other blog posts, promise! Let me know your thoughts and where you would like to start on your immune boosting journey! xx