Today, I'm thinking of immunity as a solid, wood door. I'm not looking to build up immunity only as strong as a waist-high, penetrable, white picket fence. Fall is almost upon us which means cold and flu season is coming whether we like it or not. I'm looking to build my immunity up like a sturdy door! I've got to protect this fortress which is my work, time, and happiness. I hope you are fighting for your immunity just as fiercely. If you're a little fuzzy on the how, you tuned in on the right day!
There are two ways to look at immunity: long term strengthening and incidental response. Long term strengthening of the immune system means you're doing things when you're well to stay well. Incidental response is when you're actively fighting a cold or flu because you can feel it developing (usually in your throat or head). This topic will turn into a two part immunity series, so let's tackle just the long term angle today.
We've all heard the doctor's office adage about washing our hands, but long term strengthening of the immune system goes far deeper. Stress management is the irreplaceable secret weapon here! In short, when a body is stressed, it experiences heightened levels of adrenaline which communicates with the brain that it is time for fight or flight. The longer the body is under stress, it will begin to shut down those functions not necessary for survival. It's intuitive to draw a connection between someone who is stressed having a stomach ache, but less intuitive sometimes to realize that it was stress which caused the same person to come down with the bug going around the workplace. Stress management is my gold as a health coach, which is why I'll save the rest its magic for an entirely separate post...I could talk for days about the importance of this practice! But I couldn't NOT mention it in a post about immunity because the linchpin for longterm immunity, I believe, is what I've just discussed.
So how do you keep you stress in check? A couple of basic ways would be by getting enough sleep on a regular basis and keeping up a regular exercise routine. A few other ways to ensure that your impenetrable door of immunity is built up and ready to resist disease include: consuming enough fresh produce, staying hydrated, and finding an immunity blend supplement that works for you. It should go without saying that fruits and vegetables are the most nutrient dense foods out there. Eating at least five servings per day (more is recommended, but typically less is consumed by the average American), will deliver wonderful vitamins and minerals to your body's immune system. Staying hydrated is important for most of the functions in your body, but it specifically touches immunity in that water helps the lymphatic system do its job of detoxifying the body. Lastly, finding an immunity blend supplement that you like can help. Taking this from the months of October-March, specifically, will cover you with an extra layer of nutrients during your most susceptible months. I personally like Congaplex by Standard Process (and no, they don't pay me to say that!).
After all that information, my desire is that you feel equipped to build up that sturdy door of immunity to protect the fortress, which is you and your wellbeing during the upcoming season. Stay tuned because in the next post of this series, I'll touch more specifically on incidental response, or what to do when you feel a cold of flu coming on. So what about you? What are your go-to's for strengthening long term immunity?