Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Boost Your Immune

This is the time of year when you need to be healthy and wise.  There are football games, trick-or-treat-ing, the weather's getting colder, and people are sneezing, sniffling, and crowding into rooms to cram for mid-semester exams and projects.  Thus, it is not uncommon that all of this begins to add up while your immune system begins to falter--the lack of sleep, nutrition, and exercise begin to take their toll.



Try to find some time to boost your immune system and decrease your susceptibility to the common cold viruses, infectious mono, flu, pneumonias, bacteria, fatigue, and other illnesses that can really ruin your day, and oftentimes, your long-awaited vacation break!  Check some simple advice and lifestyle changes that might just make this winter a little easier for you.

(Adapted from a recent article on WebMD)

Immune Boosters

1. Regular Exercise
    --Getting your heart rate up 20 minutes / day at least 3x / week can increase your immune response
    --Helps release your endorphins, "feel good hormones"
    --Facilitates better sleep
2. Improve Your Diet & Antioxidants
    --Increase brightly colored fruit and veggie intake with Vit C / Vit E / beta-carotene
    --Increase fresh garlic
    --And even chicken noodle soup
3. Get Adequate Sleep
    --Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep
4. Stress Reduction
    --Look for ways to relax:  meditate, work out, consider counseling, slow down
    --One experiment demonstrated increased immune response to the flu vaccine in those that meditated
5. Stay Connected
    --Having a good support system and strong friendships / relationships is critical to well-being
6. Laugh  
7. Get the flu shot
8. Don't smoke.
9. Wash Your Hands--alot

Immune Busters

1. Lack of exercise
   --Puts you at risk of weight gain
   --Fatigue and poor sleep
   --May contribute to a poor sense of well-being.
2. Being overweight
    --Increases your risk of developing diabetes, heart disease
    --Weakens your immune system 
3. High sugar diet
    --Avoid excessive sugar intake which curbs your immune systems ability to fight infection
4. Constant Stress
    --Chronic stress will wear you down, lead to fatigue
    --Decreases your immune system's ability to combat common illness
5. Socially isolated
    --Feeling lonely has been shown to weaken the immune response to the flu vaccine
6. Lack of sleep
    --Fatigue increases susceptibility to illness and decreases response to flu vaccine
    --Increases stress hormones which add to weight, feeling stressed out

Check out full articles WebMD.
Or a more indepth look at these issues on Harvard Health Publications.