What You Can Do to Boost Your Immune System:
As Thanksgiving and the Holiday Season draw near, our stress levels begin to rise. Holiday shopping! Parties! Family visiting! Much of it is exciting, but it can also feel like a lot! You may know this, but stress, especially chronic stress, can have a negative impact on our nervous system, which results in the lowering of our immune system’s ability to ward off the bad germs that are floating around us all the time.
So how can you keep your immune system in top shape during times of stress? As a chiropractor, I like to talk about the DREAMS list…. Each letter representing the major components that can help us to live a life Full of abundant health!
ALIGNMENT (nervous system)
Often, when we are run down, if we examine our DREAM list, we can pinpoint just where we are out of balance. Each of these components is very powerful in its own way, and so this is a good starting point to answer that question…. ‘What can I do to boost my immune system?”
Let’s start with D—diet. Our diet is one of the fundamental building blocks of a healthy life. A healthy diet is not about being on a diet; it is about taking in food that nourishes the body, is easy for the body to digest, and doesn’t take away health from the body. A diet full of inorganic red meat, junk food, sugary snacks, soda and other harmful foods actually stresses the body more—and we are usually eating these foods when we feel stress! Adopting healthier eating habits are longer lasting then being on a diet. Discovering healthy choices that work for you, that check off the basics, such as getting enough high quality, organic protein, eating a good variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, incorporating healthy fats and drinking enough water, are all part of good eating habits that help the body better manage stress and flourish.
Now the R—Rest. It is when we sleep that our bodies detox and heal, so getting enough rest is key to managing stress and boosting immunity. When we are depleted and running on fumes that we get susceptible to viruses and bacteria. For the body to truly restore, we need 7-9 hours of sleep a night. During the holidays, that can seem like a tall order. But make sure you prioritize it! Keep to a steady sleep schedule, don’t eat within 2 hours of bedtime, and keep alcohol consumption to a minimum, as that interferes with sleep. Some deep breathing before getting into bed can be really helpful!
E is for Exercise. Exercise keeps the white blood count and antibodies regulated in the body. Overdoing exercise, however, can compromise this, as can no exercise at all! So what is the perfect amount of exercise? It’s different for everyone, but I like to recommend 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day. This can look like swimming twice a week, spin class once a week, yoga three times a week and a nice long walk on a Sunday. It can be more vigorous for someone who is an athlete or less vigorous for someone older or recovering from illness or surgery, but the bottom line is—move your body for 30 minutes a day.
The Big A—Alignment! Chiropractic’s effect on the nervous system and the immune system’s functioning are tied together. Dysfunctions and subluxations found along the spine can create a weakened immune system that becomes susceptible to disease, such as recurrent colds and flu. By addressing these misalignments at their source, which is the nervous system, and aligning the body properly and consistently, chiropractic care is able to help strengthen your immune system to fight off colds and the flu effectively! By going regularly to a skilled Maine chiropractor, your body can be at its absolute best.
M is for Mental Attitude—What we think, we become. Positive thinking is another fundamental key to great health. A positive attitude can benefit your body more than you may think. The Mayo Clinic says optimists have 50 percent lower risk of early death than pessimists. There is a great deal of science on the direct link between positivity and immunity—as though, much of time, we can think ourselves well! While it takes more than thinking to cure many diseases, people who think positively tend to take better care of their bodies, make healthier choices, and get sick less often. So why not be one of those people?
S is for Stress. Some stress in our lives is normal, even positive. But when our bodies never have a chance to recover from stress, the negative effects build up and cause poor immunity. You see, stress is really the root cause of illness, whether that stress is from illness, accident, an unfulfilling job, an unhealthy relationship, poor diet, and lack of exercise or negative thinking. At Simply Chiropractic ME, we will focus on the health of your spine and nervous system, helping you to live a healthier life with less stress and more wellness and joy. Let me help you live your best life today—call me, Dr. Beth Reddy, at my South Berwick, Maine location for a consultation: (207) 200-3113.