Is your immune system remaining strong this flu season? The immune system helps the body defend against everyday and acute stressors. Stress, inadequate sleep, poor diet, and general aging can leave the body vulnerable and less equipped to fight off seasonal immune system challenges. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than a third of adults do not get the recommended amount of sleep on a daily basis. Numerous studies have shown a link between inadequate sleep and impaired immune system function. Additionally, proper nutrition which includes fruits and vegetables provide the body with resources (like vitamins) to help fight off infections. Maintaining an exercise routine is also helpful for blood and lymph circulation as well as decreasing stress. Long-term or extreme stress can have health consequences and adversely affect the immune system.
Prioritize these areas to help boost immune function:
1. Sufficient sleep—At least seven hours a night for adults ages 18-70 is recommended by The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Research Society.
2. Good Nutrition—In a season where sweets are readily accessible, remember moderation is key. Sugar renders nerve endings more susceptible to virus infection.
3. Exercise/Movement—Lymph vessels do not have valves like blood vessels, so they rely on body movement to maintain good circulation of immune cells throughout the body.
4. Spinal Alignment—Pressure on the nervous system can impair proper immune system function. Make sure to be checked and adjusted (if needed) so that your body is functioning at its best during this season!