As we all eagerly wait for spring, it is important to keep your immune system in tip-top shape. The immune system is your body’s natural defense, kind of like your body’s own little army fighting against germs. We all want our little armies to be well equipped, strong, and have plenty of soldiers to fight away the dreaded flu season. So, let’s discuss some of the easy, everyday things that we can all do to strengthen our immune system and give our bodies a fighting chance.
We’ve all heard it before, whether it was from your mom, your best friend, or even your doctor, always get a good night’s sleep! Getting proper sleep is integral to maintaining a healthy immune system because sleep facilitates the production of T-cells and leukocytes. According to a 2012 study by the National Center of Biotechnology Information, immune cells at early stages of differentiation peak in peripheral blood and lymph nodes during sleep.
What this means is that sleep is when your body can more quickly create immune cells, and let them travel. Yes, immune cells do migrate throughout the body—what good would your little army be if they didn’t patrol the whole proverbial fortress, right? When you are asleep, your body can create more immune cells and distribute them throughout the body easier. This is why a long nap always feels so good when you’re sick!
While good sleep can do wonders, that doesn’t mean you should sleep for 12 straight hours every day. Typically, 8 hours is the suggested amount of sleep to have each night, but sometimes you don’t need as much sleep at night if you take regular naps during the day. Consistent sleep can be just as important as how much you sleep, so try looking at your schedule and making sure you have a good, regular sleep schedule.
Easier said than done, right? Everyone says that less stress leads to better sleep, healthier minds, and lowers your risk of a variety of medical conditions, but how does it affect your immune system? Since stress can put a strain on every part of your body, it can also weaken your immune system. Just think about it, how often have you tossed and turned at night, stressing about work the next day? Or what about when you feel totally overwhelmed with housework or taxes and your heart beat starts to go up? Maybe you have had very stressful moments in life and you’ve had some panic attacks?
All of these situations put your body in a place where it isn’t functioning to its full potential.
To help lower stress, try finding time to pamper yourself during the day. Try taking ten minutes to meditate before bed or five minutes to get up off your seat in the office to stretch. It can all help to clear your mind and center yourself back to a healthy mindset. Taking a longer break, maybe 30 minutes or a whole hour, to yourself will do wonders to help lessen your stress levels. Take that time to read or soak in a warm bath. Whatever makes you feel calmer.
There is no magical immune boosting miracle diet out there, but there are some ingredients which are known to be natural immunity boosters. Incorporating them into your family’s dinner menu can help everyone to stay healthy all year round.
- Shiitake mushrooms
- Fruits, like berries, citruses, and kiwis
- Vegetables, particularly spinach, kale, onions, and sweet potatoes
In general, there aren’t any foods that can hurt your immune system, but if your diet is heavy in sugar, it will inhibit your immune cells from fighting infections. You want your body’s little soldiers to be in the best fighting condition they can be, so feeding them lots of vegetables and garlic will ensure that they are ready to fight off infections and viruses.
If you still find yourself getting sick this winter, then Grand Parkway Emergency Center is here to help. Our 24 hour facility is prepared to treat emergency medical cases, like the flu. Our staff of board-certified physicians is ready to get you and your family in good health for spring.
Nutex Health, Inc. supports you and your family’s health. Come visit Grand Parkway Emergency Center or any one of our concierge-level freestanding facilities for the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.