With the global COVID pandemic, as well as everything else 2020 has thrown at us, it has never been more important to take care of our immune systems and well-being.
Our immune system is an amazingly complex network of cells, organs, and tissues, working in unison to protect our body from infections and illness. Luckily, the strength of our immune system is largely determined by non-heritable factors, such as the germs we are exposed to over the entire course of our lives, alongside other factors such as diet, exercise, sleep, and stress levels.
Whilst there is no holy grail for creating the perfect immune system, there are several things we can strive towards to give it a helping hand. Ultimately, if we care for our immune system, it will look after us:
- Maintain Healthy Gut Bacteria
A healthy diet is one of the most efficient ways to boost your immune system.
Often known as the second brain, the gut and the immune system are symbiotically connected: the diversity of your gut bacteria is a particularly good indicator of your health, immune system. And even your biological age. Healthy foods that include a rainbow of colours can provide you with the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, as well as a host of healthy drinks like Kombucha and herbal teas. These lead to a healthier microbiome, which boosts your immune system so it can fight off infections more effectively.
Conversely, an unhealthy diet can have many detrimental effects. The British Journal of Nutrition indicates that whilst light alcohol (beer/wine) consumption can reduce infections, there is a strong correlation between excessive alcohol consumption and immune efficiency. Based on the research, those who drink in excess impair their immune system’s responsiveness; making them far more susceptible to respiratory illness and pneumonia. The mucosal immune system will suffer, leading to a higher rate of infections, and lengthened recovery time. In short, everything in moderation.
- Exercise to Promote Immune System Health
Extensive studies support exercise’s ability to improve the immune and metabolic systems. Regular exercise increases your body’s production of antibodies and T-cells, causing them to circulate more rapidly. Plus, a good workout session helps expel toxins from your body and reduce stress hormones. Even a 30-minute walk per day in the fresh air can have so many benefits. Try aiming for 10,000 steps. And if you can’t leave home due to restrictions, exercise at home with the help of a free Zoom or Instagram class. Pages like Zero Gravity Pilates on Instagram or Joe Wicks HIT workouts on Youtube are crowd favourites.
- Winding Down
Whilst practicing yoga and other mindfulness techniques on a daily basis is proven promote a healthier immune system. It can be as simple as having a long, relaxing bath followed by a massage. Massages stimulate blood flow and flush out any toxins, plus combats unwanted cellulite. Moreover, the benefits of physical contact are often overlooked; something those of us who live alone might miss; our body releases oxytocin, making us feel loved and cared for and therefore increasing our feelings of well-being.
Evidence shows that people who believe they are doing better, actually do better than those who are less positive. It’s called “the power of intention”; of manifesting your reality. Research also suggests that anxiety and other negative mental states can harm the immune system. So take time out to actively relax. We use the term “actively” because anyone who has tried to meditate knows how complicated the simple task of switching off can be.
Getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep a night helps support your immune system, and greatly reduces your risk of getting sick. It’s no news that there are proven benefits of a good night’s sleep. If you’re struggling to fall asleep or sleep through the night, a 10% CBD tincture can enable you to achieve the recommended amount
- T Cells
Researchers are also finding that getting adequate sleep improves immune cells, known as T cells. “T cells are a type of immune cells that fight against intracellular pathogens, for example virus-infected cells such as flu, HIV, herpes, and cancer cells,” says Dr. Stoyan Dimitrov, a researcher from Germany.
- Friendships & Love
One of the most powerful and yet underestimated influences on our health is the power of love. While it might be more problematic to see friends and family now, or meet someone romantically if you are single, the love within friendships and support systems are crucial for a healthy mental state. CBD is proven to help with enhanced social interactions, interpersonal communication, and social bonding due to its interaction with the 'love' and 'trust' hormone oxytocin as well as its prolongation of the 'bliss' molecule anandamide in our system. Call your friends or loved ones, or, meet them at a park if you’re able to get outside! Check up on neighbours and remember those who live alone.
Of course, all of these processes are easier said than done. But before giving up and reaching for the bottle of wine, why not try a healthier alternative. The natural plant-based oil contains cannabinoids which are naturally produced by our bodies when we are feeling relaxed or euphoric.
With its antioxidants and healing properties, sleep facilitation and stress relief, CBD is a saving grace for our immune systems. Give your family a present they need. Focus on their wellness this winter.
It’s never too late to start taking care of your health, especially with all the time people are spending at home and indoors. Although none of these lifestyle changes can prevent Covid-19, they may be extremely helpful in supporting your body’s defence against sickness and infection.