Natural Methods for Building Your Immune System
Prairie Naturopathic Doctors would like to sincerely thank you for looking to us for guidance during these uncertain times. By working to improve your health, you are doing your part to help us make the world a healthier and safer place. While at home, here are some natural ways for you to maximize your ability to cope when your immune system is challenged.
1. Get Some Rest.
The National Sleep Foundation reminds us that sleep is critical for optimal health. Besides leaving us refreshed and ready for a new day, sleep offers our body some necessary benefits that are crucial to immune support. Special proteins called cytokines are produced and released while we sleep. These cytokines target infection and inflammation, which triggers the immune system to respond to threats. Get a full night’s sleep so you don’t leave your body susceptible to illness.
2. Move Your Body.
Exercising during this time will not only alleviate stress, relieve anxiety, and help you feel strong and healthy, but it also helps your immune system to work more efficiently. According to Harvard Health Publishing, the good circulation resulting from moderate exercise will allow the cells and substances of the immune system to move freely through the body and thus increase efficiency among the body systems. While you’re exercising, don’t forget to stay hydrated, which is also imperative to an optimally functioning, healthy system!
3. Share in Some Jokes.
In all seriousness, laughter has been shown to reduce stress—and also to increase Natural Killer cell activity, which increases the body’s natural resistance to disease. In a study conducted on female cancer patients at Indiana State University Sycamore Nursing Center, mirthful laughter was found to have a boosting effect on immune functioning (Bennett et al. 2003).
4. Nurture Through Nutrition
What you choose to put into your body can affect how it handles what you don’t choose to put into it—like viruses. Garlic, for example, when crushed or chewed, releases Sulphur-containing compounds that have been shown to boost the immune response when white blood cells encounter viruses within the body. And increasing your fruit and vegetable intake can provide your body with extra nutrients, such as beta-carotene, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E—all of which can boost the immune system. Many plant-based foods are also full of antioxidants, and therefore reduce the body’s oxidative stress levels. Mushrooms are a good example, and reishi mushroom powder has such positive side-effects as alleviating anxiety, easing depression, encouraging better sleep, promoting healing, and sharpening focus. During a stressful time like this, when anxiety levels are high and sleep hours are low—keep in mind that you can truly nurture yourself through discriminating food selection.
At Prairie Naturopathic Doctors, we firmly believe that optimal health comes from the synchronization of healthy body systems. If you or someone you know is struggling in one or more areas of wellness, we are here to provide assistance. Until we meet again, face-to-face, we wish you wellness.
Bennett, M.P., J.M. Zeller, L. Rosenberg, J. McCann. 2003. “The effect of mirthful laughter on stress and natural killer cell activity.” Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 9(2):38-45.
“Foods to Boost the Immune System.” 2020. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. https://www.pcrm.org/news/blog/foods-boost-immune-system.
Harvard Health Publishing. https://www.health.harvard.edu.
“How Garlic Fights Colds and the Flu.” 2016. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/garlic-fights-colds-and-flu.
La Forge, Tiffany. 2018. “6 Mushrooms that Act as Turbo-Shots for Your Immune System.” https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/best-medicinal-mushroom...