Lifestyle and Your Immune Health
School is just around the corner for the kids and college students, so time to start upping your game to strengthen your immune system. And as we all know, cold and flu season comes soon after the start of the school year. On top of that we’re still dealing with what is hopefully the tail end of
There are two main considerations for keeping your immune system healthy:
1) Things we’re exposed to
2) Things we do to ourselves.
1. Things we’re exposed to have a big impact on our immune health. Exposure to viruses or bacteria (duh), overuse of antibiotics which kill healthy bacteria in our gut (intestines) just as readily as it kills the bacteria causing infection, and chemicals and heavy metals found in our food and environment are all things you should be aware of. Clearly, exposure to viruses and bacterial infection can tax our immune system as it fights them off to keep us healthy. But what about chemicals and heavy metals?
Chemicals and heavy metals can be found in our food and drinks and the air we breathe. Chemicals that our food is exposed to during the growing season or during manufacturing of food can be extremely detrimental over long term exposure. And although heavy metals are naturally occurring (heavy metals just means they have a relatively high density compared to water), exposure to excessive amounts of them can cause serious problems. Chemicals and heavy metals can affect your thyroid function, disrupt your immune health and create inflammation, which may in turn cause autoimmune disorders, allergies or other inflammatory based issues. So, the less chemicals and heavy metals in the food and water you take in, the better off you are. Going organic can be very important to your immune health.
2. Things we do to ourselves is the 2nd part of our immune health. This includes emotional balance, nutrition and habits/lifestyle choices. Emotional balance has been an issue for many over the past year and a half, and for many it has developed into intense stress, anxiety and/or depression. Stress, anxiety and depression can decrease the effectiveness of your immune health, so remain aware of how you’re doing emotionally and if you’re struggling seek help. One of my passions is helping manage emotional health issues, so I’m happy to speak with you about how acupuncture can help. It’s not only important for your emotional wellbeing, it’s important for your immune system!
Bad habits and lifestyle can really affect your immune health as well, and you probably already know all of this. Drug abuse or excessive alcohol consumption, insomnia, and excessive work, can all have a big impact. If you’re struggling with drug or alcohol addiction please reach out for help. Excessive work can’t be helped some times, but if it’s a chronic issue please consider ways you may be able to reduce your work load where you can. It’s for your health. Insomnia is a huge problem for millions of Americans, and this can cause many chronic health problems, including weight gain, along with adversely affecting your immune health. If you’re really struggling with insomnia, there lots of things you might be able to do, some are the obvious things you’ve been told all along. But acupuncture can also help, so let me know if this is something you’d like to focus on.
The elephant in the room is nutrition. Everything you eat affects your body for better or worse because it can either create a great place for healthy bacteria to grow and strengthen our immune system, or create a great place for the bacteria that causes inflammation and health problems to grow and weaken our immune system. You know what you shouldn’t be eating and drinking: junk food, soda pop, processed food, refined sugar, modern wheat, and poor quality foods that lack minerals and trace elements. These things all contribute to a weaker immune system and potentially chronic health issues.
If you want to keep yourself and your family healthy, think through what you’re being exposed to, and what you’re exposing yourself to by your own actions, and take the necessary steps to keep your system strong. You may still get sick, but you’ll most likely recover more easily when your immune system is strong and healthy.
If you feel you need extra help or guidance, that’s what I’m here for. Acupuncture has been shown to help keep your immune system strong, help manage emotional health, support digestive health, and promote good sleep. And it’s also great at helping people recover from colds, flu and respiratory infection.
Stay safe and healthy out there!