Your immune system is your first line of defense against illness. Thank this complex system of cells in your skin, blood, bone marrow, tissues, and organs for keeping you healthy during cold and flu season or minimizing the damage of an illness when you do catch one. The importance of your immune system is undeniable, so why not treat it as such and do what you can to keep it working properly? Here are 3 ways you can do so, starting today.
Keep Stress Under Control
Did you know that stress can lead to chronically elevated levels of as the steroid hormone cortisol? The body relies on hormones like cortisol during short-term bouts of stress – otherwise known as those instances when you enter “fight-or-flight" mode. Yet, when cortisol levels are consistently high, the hormone essentially blocks the immune system from doing its job to protect the body against potential threats. The solution? Find an effective stress-reduction technique, and stick with it. Even setting aside 5 minutes for deep breathing can make a world of difference in lowering cortisol levels.
Always Drink in Moderation
Everyone knows that heavy drinking is unhealthy and can contribute to many serious health issues. But, what you might not realize is that your immunity is also linked to alcohol intake and that drinking heavily will also impair your immune function. Let’s put it this way: when you drink high amounts of alcohol, your body is too busy trying to detoxify your system to bother with normal immune system function. Stick to healthy amounts of alcohol to keep your immune system in tip-top shape. That’s one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
Treat Chronic Conditions Properly
It might sound like a no-brainer, but it’s important enough to repeat: keeping chronic conditions under control is key to immune health. That's because mistreatment of your preexisting conditions can affect your immune system, increasing your risk of infections – whether related to your condition or not. If you manage your chronic conditions well, you'll make it easier for your body to fight against infection. Be sure to stay on top of any medications, doctor visits, and habits that keep your symptoms at bay. Your immune system will improve as a result.
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