5 Steps to “Immune Resiliency” To Help Avoid COVID-19 Infection and Complications
The immune system is a complex network of cells, tissues, organs, and the substances that protects your body from outside invaders such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and toxins. There are many factors that go into increasing or decreasing the strength or your immune system including genetics as well as lifestyle factors such as sleep, nutrients, exercise, sleep and stress. While we cannot change our actual DNA code, lifestyle factors have been show to alter the expression of our genes. The following are lifestyle factors that encourage a healthy immune system.
1. Start with Diet.
A healthy digestive system and a body that is fortified with nutrients is a integral part of the immune system. Diets low in fiber and nutrients (aka the SAD or “Standard American Diet”) can make us more susceptible to illness and we always encourage our patients to stick at least 80-90% of the time with a diet of whole foods or foods that have 1 ingredient. Additionally, some of us need nutritional support from supplements such as vitamins, minerals and probiotics. Your provider can direct you towards proper nutrient supplementation.
2. Start Moving Your Body, Working Up to a Minimum of 150 Minutes Per Week.
Regular moderate exercise strengthens the immune system. It also helps with sleep, stress, mood and body composition.
3. Get Good Quality Sleep, Approximately 7-9 Hours.
Sleep promotes production of protective proteins called cytokines which the body uses when we get an infection. Sleep deprivation may decrease cytokines thus reducing our ability to fight infection.
4. Work on your stress.
Stress is a normal physiological reaction to events our lives and in small doses can be helpful. But, the constant stressors we face day-to-day at home, at work and in terms of our relationship with the world can have an impact on our immune system. Long term stress causes inflammation (a risk factor for all chronic diseases) and lowers the body’s white blood cell count (the cells that fight disease). Some of our favorite stress relievers are meditation (check out Insight Timer app or Calm app), making art or music, and gentle movement yoga, chi gong or tai chi.
5. Stop causing inflammation with substances
Cut back (or stop) your alcohol use and quit smoking. Your provider can assist you with both of these if needed.
- Infra-Red Sauna and Ozone Therapy: Both of these therapies stress the body slightly to increase the creation of anti-inflammatory resources in the body. Because we believe in these modalities, we offer them in our office.
- IV Vitamin Infusions: Based on your individual needs which, we can recommend specific infusions to support your overall health and well-being. We also offer IV vitamin infusions in our office.
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