|Blog Article|||||By Simplyhealth & Monica Durigon||23 June 2020|
So you’re eating a good diet with plenty of nutritious foods to help you stay healthy and boost your immunity. But there’s a little more to it than that. If your diet’s healthy but your lifestyle’s not, then that will make a big difference if you’re aiming for a strong immune defence. Nutritionist Monica Durigon takes us through some crucial lifestyle actions to help you on your way.
Nutrition is just the beginning.
Nutrition’s not enough. Monica says "nourishing our immune system is just one part of the puzzle." Don't forget the other cornerstones of a healthy lifestyle:
Have you ever noticed that the first thing you feel when you start getting ill is TIRED? It's not a coincidence. Responding to an immunity attack takes a lot of energy. Our bodies use fatigue as "a message" telling us that it's time to allocate our energy and resources to fight infection and get better."
Society and culture may programme us to "push through". But Monica points out that this is actually counterproductive. If we don't get the rest we need, it'll delay our recovery.
"Chronically elevated levels of stress lead to chronically elevated levels of stress hormones, which are immune suppressants," says Monica. Over time this means our bodies can't respond properly to an attack because our immune system is depleted and doesn't have the resources it needs.
Monica reminds us that "exercise has so many health benefits and it is impossible to ignore its influence in any of our body systems". This is particularly true for immunity. Physical activity is key to keeping the lymphatic system healthy. Your lymphatic system includes everything from organs, such as the thymus and the spleen, to vessels, lymph nodes to body tissues. It's a vital facet of your immune system.
Your lymphatic system helps get rid of impurities from your body fluids. It forms a filtration system via the lymph nodes. And it's the part of the system that produces and grows lymphocytes (types of white blood cells). The lymphatic system relies on muscle contractions for proper circulation. It doesn't have its own pump like the circulatory system does. That means exercise is really important for the lymphatic system.
Did you know that you can use the power of THOUGHT to boost your health? Monica says: "We can use our bodies to de-stress. And we can use our thoughts to improve the physical health of our bodies."
The power of positivity
Have you noticed that your optimistic friends are sick less often than your pessimistic friends? People used to think this was because optimistic people would take better care of themselves. But some researchers found out that it's because of something completely different. It's because their positive thoughts had a positive effect on their immune systems!
But Monica warns: "Just as positive may be conducive to great health and immunity, negative thoughts can also have an effect on your health outcomes." We have positive placebo effects. We also have the nocebo effect: negative outcomes to healing because of negative thoughts.
As we said at the start: our bodies are amazing. So are our minds. Like our immune systems, they're powerful tools to serve us and keep us well. We need to do our part, though. We need to support them with healthy food. We need to be intentional about living a healthy lifestyle.
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