Staying Ahead of Germs With a Healthy Immune System
By Donna Stark
There are certain times of the year when your body's immune system becomes the star of the show, when it gets more attention than most anything else in your life. When you are constantly looking up ways to boost, improve, and enhance it. When it becomes the topic of every discussion between you and your friends, and let's be honest here, between everyone's sneezes and coughs. Well, we happen to be coming into one of those times right now, and unfortunately, some of us are already knee-deep in it. It's cold and flu season ... are you ready for your immune system to steal the show?
The Function of Your Immune System
Your immune system is responsible for protecting you against diseases, illness, and infections. When it is functioning properly, it defends against all the invading germs and infectious organisms that wish to do you harm. But when it's not functioning properly? Well that's another story, which is why it is so important to keep your immune system in tip-top shape. But how can you do that? Let's take a look.
- Sleep - Make sure you are getting adequate amounts of sleep each night. If you're not getting the right amount, your immune system can be significantly impacted. This will often leave you open to colds, flu, and infection.
- Step outside - Exposure to sunlight helps your body produce Vitamin D naturally, which plays an important role in your immune system's function. Vitamin D helps to reduce the risk of certain health issues such as depression, heart disease, and cancers, and it can be a determining factor in whether or not you develop an autoimmune disease.
- Reduce your stress - Chronic stress can easily damage your immune system and affect the way the body functions over time. It can increase your risk of certain health risks too, such as depression, heart disease, sleep disorders, digestive issues, diabetes, and cancer.
- Practice good hygiene - Wash your hands and wash them often, especially if you are in high-risk areas. Avoid close contact with others if you or they are sick, stay home if you are not feeling well, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and wipe down all areas that may have been infected.
- Eat well and exercise - Consuming a balanced diet and getting plenty of exercise will help improve the function of your body's immune system. Fill your diet with foods that are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and exercise regularly to enhance the immune system and lower the incidence of illness.
A Healthy Immune System
Although you may not be able to fully prevent a cold or flu from attacking you this year, a healthy immune system is the best way to give yourself some extra protection. So start focusing on consuming a healthy diet, exercising regularly, reducing some of your stress, and developing healthier lifestyle habits because in doing so, you will be able to keep yourself and your loved ones a step ahead of germs this season.
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Hillsboro, Ore.