The body is designed to survive and thrive. Thanks to our immune system, this statement is true, most of the time. What happens though when you are under stress? Since our immune system works hard to protect us and works best when we are in a state of calm, it is in our best interest to minimize the stress.
I know, I know, easier said then done. Or is it? We can all agree that it is our job to find strategies and lifestyle modifications to ensure we are supporting this important system. According to Dr. Mark Hyman, "food is medicine" and his recent article How to Protect Yourself from COVID-19: Supporting Your Immune System states that not only is food, exercise, and sleep a key feature in immune health, but "Increased levels of stress increase susceptibility to viral infections."
So, what really happens to our immune system when stressed? The body is flooded with hormones for bursts of strength and energy to ward off“danger. Most specifically Cortisol. At the same time, non-essential systems for immediate survival shut down. One of those systems is the immune system. If left in stress the impact can be severe and have a ripple effect in your body. It will weaken the immune system, which can lead to illness and chronic medical conditions. Clinical Immunologist Dr. Calabrese of the Cleveland Clinic recently commented that the bodies lymphocytes are decreased with stress which increases your risk for viruses. He also mentioned conditions that are perpetuated with the increased inflammation and that techniques for stress reduction are paramount for immune health.
Learning and practicing ways to release stress helps keep the body in a calm state and reduces your risk of illness. So here are 4 ways to boost your immune system and alleviate stress.
1. EFT tapping. This non-invasive technique quickly deactivates the stress response and returns the body to a relaxed, calm state. It has an overall effect that not only reduces and can even eliminate the feelings of stress, but also energize other areas of your body, including boosting the immune system. It is a psychological acupuncture technique that only requires your own fingers to tap on the pressure points.
2. Using food as medicine. A healthy, diet that consists of whole foods, raw foods, good quality foods will eliminate deficiencies which Dr. Hyman demonstrates to be the greatest line of defence to build and maintain a healthy immune system.
3. Get Moving. Daily physical exercise is crucial in anyones life. Not just for your physical well being but your emotional health. From yoga to cycling, crossfit to walking, any movement is most cases is considered beneficial. Scientifically, it also releases "happy" hormones and works to improve circulation as well. All exercise should be tailored to your goals, your abilities, your limits and fit your lifestyle.
4. Sleep. It seems so simple and so trivial but sleep is essential on so many levels. When we sleep it is our bodies "reboot and update" time. The National Sleep Foundation says "Without sufficient sleep, your body makes fewer cytokines, a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response." So good sleep habits should never be over looked.
In conclusion, to combat a weakened immune system and manage your stress then start practicing these 4 tips. You can find support in learning the EFT technique through Nurture Your Vibe. For more healthy eating bits of information contact your local holistic nutritionist or sign up for Dr. Mark Hyman's emails. Be safe, practice excellent hygiene and enjoy the journey towards your new healthier lifestyle
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