Amp Up Your Immune System Arsenal and Avoid the Bacterial Baddies
BY SUSAN B. B. SCHABACKER
Whether you’re trying to avoid coronavirus, cancer, colds, or other illnesses, there are many ways to boost your immune system to help ward off bacterial bad guys. Common health-boosting suggestions include a healthier diet, more active lifestyle, and additional supplements. But let’s expand this list with other options for preventative measures and overall health.
- PREBIOTICS AND PROBIOTICS – Supportive of helpful bacteria, fiber-rich prebiotics, and fermented probiotics can benefit the mind-body connection in the microbiome, improve digestive health and support mental health, alleviating some symptoms of depression.
- ANTIOXIDANTS AND ADAPTOGENS – Antioxidants play a key role in preventing illnesses, reducing oxidative stress, and combatting free radicals that can harm cells and body function. Adaptogens can increase physical and emotional resiliency and are also known to trigger the production of hormones and to alter stress chemicals.
- VITAMIN C, VITAMIN D3, ZINC, AND B-COMPLEX – Vitamin C serves many beneficial purposes, including improving immunity to prevent illnesses, reducing inflammation and uric acid levels to prevent gout, lowering blood pressure and risk of heart disease, and protecting memory and cognitive functioning. Vitamin D3 helps our bodies maintain optimal levels of calcium and phosphorus and may provide protection from respiratory infections. Zinc responds to infections and illnesses by activating T-cells and is known to support the immune system and shorten a cold. B vitamins play an important role in regulating biological responses. Vitamin B6 makes new blood cells, T cells, and transports oxygen throughout the body, while vitamin B12 is known to boost energy.
- EXERCISE AND RELAXATION – Sick of running on a treadmill? Try jump roping, a dance party, or hopscotch, and have more fun with your workouts. Some key health benefits of exercise include flushing bacteria out of lungs, slowing the release of stress hormones, and helping the body fend off diseases. Body conditioning and restful relaxation are equally important. Incorporate tai chi, yoga, Pilates, chi gong, reiki, massage (including reflexology), and other healthy practices into your daily routines. Some benefits of relaxation include lowered risk of stroke, improved heart health and memory, and better management of weight and depression.
- POSITIVITY AND MINDFULNESS – Studies find that negativity decreases immune response, so stay positive. By staying on the bright side, you can lengthen your lifespan, help your heart, increase resistance to a cold, and cope during stressful situations. Mindfulness practices can activate higher brain functioning, lower blood pressure and heart rate, and increase focus and concentration while helping to reduce anxiety.
TIPS FOR HEALTHIER HABITS
- Detoxify with a relaxing bath
- Enjoy herbal remedies and spices
- Focus on healthy nutrition and micronutrients
- Get those vaccinations
- Watch a scary movie
- Get gaming
- Chocoholics rejoice by treating yourself to dark chocolate
- Get laughing – crack jokes and tune into comedy
- Make time for a spa (sauna and steam room) and massage with essential oils
- Sleep and rest
- Stay hydrated and drink teas and tonics
- Eliminate harmful substances and toxic ingredients
- Enjoy relationships, social support, and romance
- Wash those hands frequently
- Music therapy – write songs, sing, and dance to music – your own and/or others’
- Pet therapy
- Nature therapy
DON’T MISS THIS FRUITALICIOUS VIT C POWERHOUSE DRINK
- Peel and blend a green apple, beet, carrot, mango, orange, and add fresh grated ginger and turmeric root (or powder). Perfectly refreshing and oh so good for you!
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed trying to stay healthy and not grow paranoid about getting sick, but don’t let that get you down. Just do the best you can and make better choices. Despite how out-of-control we may feel with illnesses running wild, we can still do what is in our control to the best of our abilities.
The water you drank instead of soda, stairs you took instead of the elevator, and positive affirmation that replaced a negative rant can add up.
Habitually foster healthier habits that are helpful, not harmful. Even the smallest things add up, and short-term choices lead to long-term results. Get informed and take action as you live your life to the fullest!