Our immune system is our best line of defense against illness and disease. Good immune health will assist us in staying well, feeling good, and living our best lives.
There are many factors present in our lives that can stress our bodies and deplete our immune health. Some of the biggest influences include stress, poor diet, lack of movement and exercise, environmental pollutants, and chemical toxins.
Thankfully, we can invest in our health and create a lifestyle that supports our immune system and overall well-being. Read on to learn some of the key tips for how to do this.
Follow a Healthy Diet
- Enjoy a balanced diet abundant in fresh fruits, vegetables and leafy greens. Choose lean proteins and healthy fats. Avoid refined oils and be sure to include plenty of omega-3 fats such as avocados, flax and chia seeds, walnuts, and wild caught salmon and sardines. For those who eat grains, be sure to choose whole grains over refined or processed grains. Going gluten-free can be a major health boost, especially if you are sensitive or allergic. Choose your sources wisely – local and organic if possible. Go for variety and seasonal choices to ensure a high nutritional value.
- Set a goal to move every day. This does not need to mean an hour of strenuous exercise. Think small and build from there: take a walk on your lunch break, stairs instead of elevator, slow stretches or yoga in the morning when you wake up. Building movement into your daily routine means burning calories and increasing energy, but it also helps to inform and connect to both your emotional and physical state.
Drink Water – Stay Hydrated
- A good rule of thumb is to aim for half of your body weight (in ounces) of water per day. This means that a 150 lb. person would need to drink 75 ounces of water per day.
Get Adequate Sleep
- Get at least eight hours of sleep each night. These eight hours are a deeply restorative time for body processes. Getting less than optimal hours affects all areas of life: stress and energy levels, as well as your immune function. Develop tools to help you get the sleep you need: meditation before bed, changing diet, relaxing herbal tea an hour or two before bed time, a relaxing bath, and stress coping skills are among a few.
Laugh and Smile Often
- Overall well-being and a positive outlook on life do affect how your body functions. You need to SEE beauty/health/peace in order to BE it. A good laugh certainly helps as well. Laughter decreases stress, boosts serotonin, and has proven to help speed healing and recovery.
Wash Hands Often
- This one might seem obvious – but do it. Tried and true. Good hygiene is part of a healthy lifestyle.
Take Time Out
- Especially important this time of year – take a break. Schedule it in if you have to. That time to rest, renew and just have some moments to yourself are pertinent to functioning optimally and is often the first thing to go when stressed. Make it a priority.
If you have tended to get sick often, have chronic low energy, or any chronic illness, it could be very helpful to schedule a functional medicine appointment with Dr. O’Keefe to get you started on a personalized healing plan to help you improve immune function and elevate your overall health.
Feel like you are getting sick?
Here is Dr. O’Keefe’s personal protocol:
- Echinacea Premium (angustifolia)
- Vitamin C
- Andrographis Complex
We carry all of these products at our clinic. Call or stop in to order. We also offer delivery via USPS for those who need it.