What Impacts Your Immune System

 

As we battle with a pandemic and head into the cold and flu season, it’s important to know the main contributing factors that impact your immune system. While healthy habits may seem obvious, not many people realize that one healthy change doesn’t help much without others. By neglecting certain aspects of your life, daily routine, and health you can increase your chances of being more susceptible to getting sick or being hit harder than you would have been otherwise. Take a look below at things to keep in mind to keep you healthy this season!

Handwashing

 (Shocker!) We’re sure you’ve heard it thousands of times as we live in the era of COVID-19, but we’re here to reinforce it again! Many people tend to neglect basic hygiene practices or not implement them properly. Studies show that only 5% of people wash their hands correctly. But when up to 80% of communicable diseases are transferred by touch, it’s crucial to practice hand hygiene. During the day, you touch around 300 items on average which equals a whole lot of germs! So lather up and wash for at least 20 seconds, and keep hand sanitizing wipes on you at all times.

 

Sleep

Our immune system greatly benefits from being well rested. When you sleep, your body releases proteins that help keep us healthy and fight against infections, inflammation, and more. So just how much should you be sleeping? 7 hours is the minimum recommendation for sleep that is considered healthy. Making sure you’re going to bed at a good time and sleeping through the night is crucial for your health.

Stress

I think we’ve all had plenty of that this year, right? When our cortisol levels get too high, it can have a chain reaction on your day and deprive your body from what it needs. When you experience a lot of stress, you likely are going to have interrupted sleep or not be getting enough of it. Stress also impacts your mood, physical activity, and your diet. Because let’s face it, when you’re stressed you’re not as likely to hit the gym or whip up a healthy meal. All these things greatly impact your immune system and when all are ignored, it can create a perfect storm to get you sick.

 

Nutrient intake

Vitamins, vitamins, vitamins. Cooking meals packed with nutrients can help keep your immune system strong. Studies show that vitamins C, A, E, B6 and B12 and minerals like iron and zinc are important for the maintenance of immune function. Being mindful of eating plenty of fruits and veggies is a great way to get these nutrients in. But no worries if you need a little extra help! Don’t forget that you can find vitamins that work for you. Whether it’s a multivitamin or you’re lacking one in particular, make sure that you are in tune with your body and giving it the proper nutrients it needs.

Remembering that health is not “one size fits all” is so important. As mentioned above, there are so many elements that go into keeping you strong and healthy. If you feel like you’re slacking in one area, try to make a point to build it into your routine over these next few weeks and see if you start to feel better! Now more than ever, it’s especially important to be mindful of our habits and how we treat our bodies.