This is a long post but hopefully it is either encouraging to you or empowering! Do what you can do and build from there!!!
Over 8 years ago, I suffered from chronic sinus infections, got sick multiple times a year and anything I got lingered for weeks. To the average person, I was healthy, but there were so many things I didn’t know about immunity that were keeping me from living my healthiest life!
My motivation for years with healthy living was about my blood work and I accepted colds and various sicknesses as something we all have to face. Until I had enough of not feeling my best!
I am a problem solver by nature and don’t like unanswered questions. My biggest question, “why was I getting sick so much when I had many healthy habits in my life?” So I started reading and researching and listening to some health experts focused on lifestyle changes.
I was not getting anywhere with traditional medicine – basically managing my symptoms and destroying my gut with various antibiotics (more on how I improved my gut health in another post).
I found podcasts from doctors and health experts that focused on functional medicine and lifestyle based changes to improve my health. Years later, I am so thankful for that journey. It has made me appreciate all that goes into my immune system, and I am thankful that my only ongoing issues are some minor allergies and minor barometric pressure headaches. My quality of life has dramatically improved.
I thought I would share some of the things I have changed that have helped my immune system in case it helps someone else.
The number one thing I did was to prioritize good sleep – not just sleep times, but finding ways to improve my sleep quality. Now this is a constant struggle and it’s not 100% where I want it to be, but it’s night and day from where it was. And I know that it has to be a high priority for me over work, to do’s, social time, tv, etc. I HAVE to prioritize getting quality sleep. I won’t go into all the things I do for this since that is a post in itself. But I encourage you to make it a priority if you haven’t. When I feel run down I not only prioritize sleep but also rest, cutting back on extras to let my body have time to recharge.
LIMIT SUGAR & HIGHLY PROCESSED FOODS:
Sugar directly lowers your immune system for hours after eating making you more susceptible to getting sick. If you eat sugar (even refined carbohydrates) at most meals, this means you are lowering your immune system constantly. Highly processed foods are inflammatory to the body. And guess what? Inflammation creates more chaos in the body when it is hit by a virus or bacterial infection.
Vitamin D – I did a test years ago to determine my levels and was very low. I recently tested for the third time and was finally able to stop taking Vitamin D. I will retest in 6 months to see how I have maintained my levels)
Other immune boosting supplements I include weekly in my routine are Vitamin C and Elderberry. When I get run down I take an echinacea/garlic blend supplement.
I do have other supplements I take for my health, but the above supplements are the ones I take specifically for my immune system.
As with any supplements, always make sure they are safe for you to take and don’t interact with any prescription drugs you are taking.
I daily take a good pre/probiotic plus eat lots of nutrient dense, fiber-rich foods! The gut is really the center of our health! If only I knew this in my younger years!
I have learned a lot about the power of our thought life over the years. So years ago, I stopped saying I get sick easily and started talking positively about my health – DAILY! I really believe that our thoughts communicate to our bodies, and I was done with making myself sick. Now, I am quick to say, I don’t get sick and I have a strong immune system. And that leads me into my next healthy priority…
Or at least reduce your reaction to stress. I can’t say I have mastered this, but I do find ways to handle my stress much better than I used to. Setting boundaries for recharge time helps! And making sure to take time when I can to decompress, reset my thoughts with gratitude and focusing on positive things (bye-bye regular social media use). My faith in God is also huge for me in this area and focusing on his character.
So much research that even something as simple as walking increases your immune system. Do what you can do!!!
Having strong, positive, meaningful face-to-face relationships in your life – surprised by this one? When researchers have looked at the healthiest communities – BLUE ZONES, they have noticed the commonality of a strong social community. We respond physically to good and bad relationships. So we have to be intentional to include positive relationships in our lives and do this face-to-face not just online.
Life’s challenges make prioritizing these things hard. The last year for many has made it even harder. but it’s worth it to find the discipline and time to put habits into practice that build a healthy immune system!
What are some habits you do to build a healthy immune system?
P.S. As I approach 50 this year, I am even more mindful of continuing to build habits that create a long and healthy life. I won’t share anything that I am not willing to put the time into myself or that I find fleeting or useless for the long haul. Happy living!