I must admit that when it comes to learning well researched and tried and true in medicine, health, and wellness as well as the latest and greatest breakthroughs, I am a bit of nerd. I have studied under so many organizations and thought leaders throughout the pandemic to help my patients and followers navigate the plethora of conflicting information and separate what is helpful from the hype.
It seems that a new supplement or treatment is born every day and the strength of the evidence may not be so great even though the marketing makes you believe it is a magic bullet. After all, a lot of things don’t become apparent until the masses use it and some products or services come to market due to a handful of people benefitting from it. What I have found which is supported by a plethora of integrative and functional medicine practitioners and literature as well as traditional organizations and journals is that lifestyle is a key factor in managing not only your immune system but your overall health. Here are the top ten:
No not ever
- Smoking suppresses the immune system and increases susceptibility to infections and certain cancers. Smoking also induces chronic inflammation.
- Gut Health is very important for immune health since over 70% of your immune system is in the gut. The cells of the intestinal track are very sensitive to nutrition and lifestyle choices and are shed and replaced every 3-6 days. The gastrointestinal (GI) microbiome and the GI barrier are essential to not only gut health but immune health.
- Eating processed foods, herbicides, pesticides, toxins, drugs, too much alcohol, stress, food sensitivities, infections, and medications can disrupt the GI barrier and microbiome. All these not only affect the immune system in a negative way, but they can also have far reaching effects on brain, heart, hormone, immune, respiratory, skin, and every organ function and induce inflammation which is the root cause of most illness.
- Eating nutrient dense foods, probiotic foods, taking probiotics, fish oil, vitamin D and avoiding toxins, clearing infections, and eating slowly while chewing your food thoroughly can give you a healthy gut. To heal and optimize GI function, try our signature Elimination and Detoxification program. You will be amazed by the benefits to your weight, skin, mood, hormones, energy, and positive effects on chronic conditions.
- Hydration is important because it makes everything run. Without proper hydration, cells die, and nutrients and signals don’t get to where they need to go and you can’t eliminate toxic waste. Dehydration can cause headaches, dizziness, fatigue, confusion, irritability and as a result you make poor decisions. Oftentimes, when people experience these symptoms, they reach for something sweet or starchy. They think they are hungry or have low blood sugar, however they are dehydrated.
- Water will curb the appetite and avoiding the simple carbohydrates will be better for your gut, immune function and overall health.
- Stress less because stress can produce inflammation. Stress can be physical (heat, pain, cold), mental, toxin induced, hormonal, nutritional excess or deficiency, trauma, infection, inflammation, adverse reactions to foods, chemicals or environmental exposures among other things. It not only increases adrenaline that can result in anxiety, but it can also increase the stress hormone cortisol. Chronic elevations of cortisol can lead to the immune system becoming “resistant,” and increased production of inflammatory cytokines that further compromises the immune response.
- Having many ways to reduce stress such as mindfulness, prayer, meditation, yoga, tai chi, aromatherapy, massage, breathing techniques, gratitude and more can have many benefits on your overall health and wellbeing as well as your immune system. You can learn about the most important factors that affect cortisol as well as strategies and resources to manage it in The Cortisol Solution: The Key to Anti-Aging and Managing Mood, Energy, Weight, Sleep, & Immune System.
- Thyroid Optimization is extremely important because there is crosstalk between the thyroid and immune system. thyroid hormones have an extensive effect on the immune system and the most common autoimmune disorder involves the thyroid gland and is called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. This can lead to low levels of thyroid hormone and the immune system will suffer.
- Thyroid hormone affects the function of neutrophils, the bacteria killing cells and increases NK natural killer cells. Without proper levels, your ability to fight infection will be impaired and may result in excess inflammation from macrophages, the immune cells that engulf microbes.
- The thyroid is a sensitive organ that affects every cell of your body and regulates energy, weight, memory, metabolism, temperature, growth, development and so much more. It is essential to life. Treat it with care with good nutrition, avoiding toxins and healing the gut and learning how to care for it by signing up for Optimize Your Thyroid: Unleash Boundless Energy, Ideal Weight and a Sharp Clear Mind.
- Alcohol– has a direct effect on the lungs by depleting the antioxidant glutathione, it can cause leaky gut, damage the liver, and impairs the function of immune fighting cells. It promotes the production of inflammatory cytokines (chemicals that can kill organisms but damages tissue in the process when not controlled).
- Moderate consumption reduces inflammation and improves immunity.Moderate consumption for men is 2 drinks a day and for women 1 drink per day. Examples of one drink include: Beer: 12 fluid ounces (355 milliliters) Wine: 5 fluid ounces (148 milliliters) Distilled spirits (80 proof): 1.5 fluid ounces (44 milliliters).
- Exercise in moderation has a protective effect on the immune system. The American College of Sports Medicine, American Health Association and Surgeon General, recommend that adults need about thirty minutes of moderately intense cardiovascular activity (aerobic exercise) four or five days a week, or twenty minutes of vigorous cardiovascular activity three times a week.
- True exercise is defined as doubling your pulse for 20 minutes Exercising the right amount is three to four times a week, doubling your pulse for twenty minutes.
- Aggressive exercise can raise the stress hormone cortisol, deplete the body of nutrients, set off inflammation and depress the immune system. When done in the right amount exercise is helpful to treat or prevent a plethora of conditions.
- Sleep and the circadian system regulate immune functions. Your immune system produces a more robust immune response and maintains memory of the offending invader during sleep. This enables the immune system to quickly recognize an infectious agent and neutralize it before it produces symptoms.
- Sleep deprivation produces a state of chronic stress, which negatively impacts immune functions and general health. It makes you more susceptible to infection.
- Six to 8 hours of sleep according to researchers provides the most protective benefits. Learn the 6 Strategies for a Sound Sleep to reap all of the health enhancing and antiaging benefits of sleep.
Just a little sometimes
- Inflammation is necessary to fight infection and heal and repair. Too much is very damaging and is the root cause of most chronic illnesses. Inflammation can be induced by stress, trauma, toxins, allergies, adverse food reactions, infection, nutritional excess or deficiency, and sleep deprivation.
- Make sure you get regular dental checkups, eat less inflammatory foods such as saturated fats, meat, dairy, eliminate trans fats and hydrogenated oils.
- Eat organic as much as possible, drink clean, filtered water, use chemical free natural personal care and cleaning products, eat more anti-inflammatory food such as fish, olive, avocado, nuts, seed and any of their oils and heal your gut and treat infection.
- Sugar depletes its own mineral reserves to be processed in the body. The body needs chromium, manganese, cobalt, copper, zinc, and magnesium to digest sugar and these minerals have been stripped from the sugar during the refining process.
- Sugar can suppress the immune system and it can cause overgrowth of yeast and harmful gut microbes.
- There is no problem having fruit that has sugar in it because, fruit has some fiber, phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that are good for your gut and immune system. Just be sure to limit the amount and eat low glycemic fruit if you have blood sugar issues.
While these may not sound very sexy or cutting edge, they are tried and true and will optimize your immune system as well as your overall health. For a deeper understanding of how to Care4U, sign up for the Care4UCourses to get the assessments, education, strategies, resources, and supplements at a discount so you can optimize your health and wellbeing and live younger and healthier.