Sugar season has begun! Last week we talked about sugar and some of its negative effects. One major effect is that sugar decreases our immune system response! With all the candy and treats abundant during the holiday season, this often will lead to the dreaded cold and flu season. We all know that when flu season begins that to be healthy, we need to boost our immune system. But what exactly is the immune system and how exactly do we boost it anyways? The immune system is composed of several different parts of the body that work together as a defense to fight infections. Some of the main players are antibodies, white blood cells, proteins and other chemicals that seek out, attack and kill viruses and bacteria. Each part of the immune system does something different:
- Tonsils-make antibodies
- Lymph system-made up of lymph nodes and vessels that carry waste material away from the tissue and destroy bacteria and viruses
- White blood cells-made in the bone marrow, their job is to destroy foreign substances found in the body.
- Spleen-filters the blood
- Bone marrow-produces white blood cells
Ok, so now we have a handle on the anatomy what can we do to keep our immune system function well in order to stay healthy? There are many ways to do this but all of them focus on living a healthy lifestyle. Here is just a short list to get started.
- Don’t smoke. Cigarettes have tar and other chemicals that damper the immune system so that it can not function to fight off other bacteria and viruses.
- Eat a diet heavy in vegetables and fruits which are natural sources of antioxidants.
- Exercise often. Moderate exercise that increases your heart rate and allows you to sweat out toxins is best to help your immune system work harder.
- Drink alcohol in moderation (if at all) especially when feeling ill. Water, on the other hand, should be your main source of fluids to stay hydrated!
- Get adequate sleep. It is recommended that you get approximately 8 hours a night. When we are sleeping our body does a lot of importantly regenerating and healing.
- Wash hands often. Make sure to be using regular soap and warm water.
- Minimize stress. Being stuck in “fight or flight” from prolonged stress will not allow your body to do the healing it needs to.
- GET ADJUSTED. Studies have shown that getting adjusted will improve the function of the immune system.
If you want to know more about this topic tune into our Sugar Webinar tonight at 6:15 pm on Facebook where we will continue to dive into this topic. There are 4 seasons in the year and flu season is not one of them! 😊