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What is the Best Lifestyle for our Immune System?

Our Immune System is our Best Doctor! It is vigilantly on duty all 52 weeks per year, 7 days per week, 24 hours per day. As and when we encounter any foreign invader, be it bacteria, viruses or even a speck of dust, our immune system will spring into action and start its work.

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A well-balanced immune system will immediately know where to go, what to attack and when to stop. Isn't it a great amazing gift to us from God? How are we supporting our immune system today to ensure that it is always well-balanced?

There are four aspects to it...

1) Nutrition

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The food we eat has a direct impact on our immune system. Nutritional immunology is the study of the direct link between nutrition and our immune system. You can read more in this post.

2) Sufficient Sleep

Do you know that when you are sleeping, your immune system is hard at work. It is busy carrying out the tasks of repairing and detoxification. As such, you may find that when you do not have enough rest, you can see the effect on your skin, it looks more "tired", because it doesn't repair that well.

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From a more scientific standpoint, this is because "Prolonged sleep curtailment and the accompanying stress response invoke a persistent unspecific production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, best described as chronic low-grade inflammation, and also produce immunodeficiency, which both have detrimental effects on health." (NCBI, NLM, NIH, 2012)

3) Relax, Unwind and be Positive 🙂

Stress has many faces in today's busy society. It could be from relationship issues, from financial related problems or even work related complications. According to the American Psychological Association, stress weakens the immune system.

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As such, it is important for us to relax and unwind. At the same time, a positive mindset will give a boost to our immune system according to a University of Queensland study. There are many ways we can keep up with a positive attitude in life. To begin with, we can count our blessings each day!

4) Exercise

Physical activity need not be overly intense to be able to help in our immune system functions. As recommended by US CDC, moderate physical activity such as daily walks. As long as our heart rate increases and we break a perspiration it means our body has worked enough. Just need to keep up with that for about 5 hours each week.

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When we exercise, it helps to circulate our lymphatic system. Our lymph nodes are part of our immune system. It helps to filter fluids that are forced out of our bloodstream during regular circulation. Bacteria, abnormal cells and other matter are filtered off before the fluid is returned to the bloodstream via the lymph vessels.

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Our immune cells can then head directly for the lymph nodes where they can get rid of bacteria or other pathogens without having to hunt for it all around our body.

Having all four components in our life: Nutrition, Sleep, Relax and being Positive, Exercise -- This is also known as the Nutritional Immunology Lifestyle. With this, we can have a robust immunity, leading to longevity.

References: 
1) Sleep and Immune Function http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3256323/
2) Stress Weakens the Immune System http://www.apa.org/research/action/immune.aspx
3) How a Positive Attitude Boosts our Immune System https://www.uq.edu.au/news/article/2014/09/positive-boost-immune-system
4) Physical activity recommended by US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/

About the Author

Janice Yap

Having 4 years of experience with nutritional immunology and moving fast towards a more plant-based lifestyle, I would love to help you out if you're looking to improve your health or wellness or that of a loved one...

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