Your immune system is an amazing defense mechanism that identifies germs and makes antibodies to fight them, creating a learned response to identify and fight the same bugs quicker the next time.
“Because the adaptive immune system is constantly learning and adapting, the body can also fight bacteria or viruses that change over time,” the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care says.
A properly functioning immune system is essential, so here are five tips to keep it healthy.
Eat for health
Your vitamins should come mostly from food, with supplements to fill in the gaps — and your immune system needs more than Vitamin C.
“Vitamin C is typically more directed towards healing of your skin and wound care,” says chiropractor Justin Stilson with Activated Life Chiropractic & Wellness. Stilson recommends people aim for these goals, after discussion with their doctor:
· 600 mg of Co-Q10
· 100 mg of Vitamin B complex (including Niacin, Thiamin, B12, and B6)
· 1,000 mg of Vitamin C
· 5,000 IUs of Vitamin D3 (up to 15,000 IUs per day in some cases)
· 100 mg of Zinc
· 100,000 IUs of Vitamin A
· 400 IUs of Vitamin E
· Omega 3 fatty acids
Fruits and vegetables are a great way to get many of the vitamins and minerals you need. Carrots, for example, are a good source of Vitamin A.
A healthy immune system starts with a healthy body, and exercise is key. Researchers have theorized that exercise flushes bacteria from lungs and airways, according to MedlinePlus. They also think that the rise in body temperature from exercise may prevent bacteria from growing and help fight infection.
While ongoing research is needed, Stilson recommends people exercise every day, if they can. Whether you do a little or a lot, walking, bicycling, practicing yoga, or anything physical could help your immune system.
Lack of quality sleep sabotages your immune system, so aim for 7 to 10 hours per night. If you have a difficult time falling asleep, leave your phone in another room.
“The blue light from electronic screens is stimulating to our eyes,” Stilson says. “People should put their phones away at night and focus on mindfulness and peacefulness, instead.”
If you need your phone nearby, turn on night mode to project an orange light filter on your screen, which is less stimulating than blue light, Stilson says. Even better is to put screens away an hour before bedtime and relax by reading or meditating.
Many people don’t drink enough water, but it’s important for health.
“Water is your body’s natural way of detoxifying,” Stilson says. “The lymph needs water to move around all the junk that builds up in your body.”
Aim for about eight cups a day, something most healthy people can do simply by drinking when they’re thirsty, the Mayo Clinic says.
Relieve pain to relieve stress
While chiropractic adjustments don’t directly affect your immune system, they relieve pain and balance your body, leading to lower stress.
“When we’re stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens is reduced,” Simply Psychology says. “That is why we are more susceptible to infections.”
A chiropractic adjustment every month or two will keep you aligned and balanced, unless you have pain, in which case you and your chiropractor can discuss a schedule that meets your needs.
For more information about how chiropractic care can reduce stress, visit Activated Life Chiropractic and Wellness, and make an appointment to discuss your concerns.