We all want to start off the new year right. For many of us, that means focusing on our health. None of want to have our immune system compromised and functioning below expected capacity. Especially at this time of the year when flu and other sickness is going around. That is why I am very happy to have Dr. Heather Moday share some excellent advice on how to strengthen your immune system. She is a board-certified allergist and immunologist, as well as an integrative and functional medicine physician.
Are feeling run down and worried that your immune system is low? That can happen with the stress of the holidays and the over indulgence that sometimes takes place! The good news is that there are things you can do to help support a strong immune system first line of defense. As an expert in the wellness space, Dr. Moday is the perfect person to share simple wellness tips we can all implement to help keep our bodies healthy. Through her practice, The Moday Center, she works to empower people to reclaim their health through comprehensive lifestyle programs. She also has a brand new book full of helpful information called The Immunotype Breakthrough: Your Personalized Plan to Balance Your Immune System, Optimize Health, and Build Lifelong Resilience. You can get a copy through my affiliate Amazon link below.
If you’re unsure if you’re considered immunocompromised or if you have any health concerns, please consult with your primary care physician or a member of your healthcare team.
Thanks again to Dr. Heather Moday for the following guest post. Here is how to eliminate internal imbalances that commonly lead to disease, infection, allergies, chronic inflammation, and autoimmunity.
Eliminate Internal Imbalances And Improve Immune Resilience
All of us want to have a balanced and healthy immune system, but how do we know if we do? Sometimes we can’t tell if our immune system is unhealthy if we aren’t getting sick all the time. There are other clues that our immune system needs a re-calibration such as allergies, autoimmune issues, and diseases of chronic inflammation like diabetes, arthritis and heart disease. Without having a microscope to see inside of your immune system there are still research-backed ways to optimize your immune system and steer you towards your best health.
First of all its important to address a much often discussed phenomena in our body called inflammation. It’s the heart of our immune systems’ ability to fight infections, take down cancer cells and heal damage to our cells. It’s much maligned and misunderstood because we have been led to believe that inflammation is all bad. It’s not that all inflammation that is negative. Specifically, it’s chronic, non-resolving purposeless inflammation that is bad.
Our immune system which is composed of many specialized cells, receptors and messengers, works 24-7 creating an inflamed state in order to carry out its duties. However we have parts of our immune system that are brought in to resolve inflammation, clean up any debris, and return our bodies to a balance or homeostasis. When this doesn’t happen we end up in a chronically inflamed state, which is at the heart of most chronic diseases.
There are several areas to focus on in order to make sure you are aiding your immune system in doing its job. You will want to focus on removing anything that is going to cause or prolong useless inflammation. You will also want to add things in that help resolve inflammation. Here are three areas you should focus on for how to strengthen your immune system.
3 Ways To Strengthen Immune System
There are obvious detractors in our diet- excess sugar, processed foods, fried foods and chemicals. These just trigger inflammation. In addition our immune system thrives on a steady stream of vitamins, minerals, fiber and healthy fats from real food.
Just by eating from the rainbow- aiming to get multiple colors of fruits and vegetables and every meal – including breakfast is a great first step to a healthy diet. The more colors of plant foods you have in your diet, the more antioxidants from polyphenols you will be getting. Antioxidants help prevent cell damage from free radicals that we are exposed to on a daily basis. Focus on increasing fiber at every meal with choices like whole grains. Fiber feeds your healthy gut microbiome that help decrease inflammation in the body. If you can, add in fermented foods to your diet which contain good bacteria known to positively affect your immune system too.
Get consistent good quality sleep nightly. Adults should aim for 7-8 hours a night- children need more. Increased inflammation markers can be seen in bloodwork after just one night of sleep deprivation, while people who work night shift or have insomnia suffer from higher incidences of chronic diseases. Also our immune system is very busy while we are asleep, so consistently poor sleep can also weaken our immune response and make us more at risk of infections.
Manage your body’s response to stress. We don’t always have control over the stress levels in our lives but we can learn how to control our responses. Studies have shown that deep breathing, meditation, walks in nature and gratitude all lower our stress responses. This helps lower cortisol levels which over time can be detrimental to our immune strength and increase inflammation, illness and autoimmune diseases.
Just evaluating and improving these 3 areas of your life- your food, sleep and stress go a long way in maximizing your immune resilience.
Thanks again to Dr. Monday for sharing these tips on how to balance immune system. Check out Moday’s book where she breaks down the latest science on immunity. She also offers a program to help readers identify their unique immunotype in order to reach optimal health and longevity. It features practical and customizable takeaways as well as interactive quizzes to help readers zero in on their specific needs. I love how actionable her tips are.
Immune health plays an important role in disease control and preventing things like respiratory infections. The best way to support immune system functions is focus on a healthy lifestyle. Make sure you get enough sleep (7-8 hours of sleep). Try to avoid a build up of stress hormones through coping mechanisms and regular exercise. Maintain a healthy weight. Eat a balanced diet with fresh fruits, leafy greens, lean protein, and nutrient dense foods like sweet potatoes. These simple lifestyle changes offer health benefits like optimal immune function and improved overall health.
The bottom line is healthy habits improve the body’s ability to fight off infectious diseases. Do you think you will work these tips on how to strengthen your immune system into your New Year’s resolutions?