Think of your immune system as your body’s very own Department of Defense.
Your personal DoD happens to be very good at protecting you, using a variety of tactics and specialized weaponry to keep foreign invaders out and neutralize most that do make it in.
And all of this is done outside of your conscious awareness. It really is remarkable when you think about it…
But ingrained in the seemingly magic response of the immune system are very real, physical limitations. The immune system’s function and efficacy are affected by what we eat & drink, how we move & sleep, and even what we think about. Resources in the body are limited and choices we make can increase or decrease the amount of resources and how they are allocated.
The good news is that we have good & clear scientific research showing a number of ways to improve immune system function. Here are the top 5 all-natural, evidence-based steps you can take to boost your immune system function.
- Sleep – The average adults needs 7-9 hours every night in order to maximize immune system function. And this should occur as often as possible (“catching up on sleep” is a myth). Sleep is the ONLY time certain processes essential to immune system function can occur.
- Manage stress – Notice the goal is not to eliminate stress. It’s not going to happen. But taking steps to limit the amount of “fight or flight” nervous system activity (and increasing “rest and digest” activity) will greatly improve immune system function. Effective, evidence-based ways to manage stress include exercise, yoga, mindfulness meditation, breathing exercises, acupuncture, bodywork, or taking a walk outside.
- Watch what you eat – limit sugar and processed foods, and increase intake of colorful fruits and veggies in order to give your body the raw ingredients it needs to have a powerful and effective immune system.
- Incorporate supplements and herbs to boost immune system function. Evidence-based (and personally tested) recommendations are Elderberry syrup, Yu Ping Feng San (purchase from your local acupuncturist), Vitamin D3, and Zinc.
- Get Acupuncture – Two of the many proven benefits of acupuncture are reducing stress and increasing immune system function. Just what you need!