If you feel like you’re battling frequent colds, a cough that won’t quit, or just seem to be tired all the time, it may benefit you to find time for a daily walk or simple exercise routine. Doing this a few times per week can have many health benefits and help build your immune system. Viruses such as COVID-19 take hold in our bodies when our immune systems are at their weakest points. Below are a few ways to help increase your immune function so your body can function as it’s meant to and stay balanced!
A scientific review conducted in 2019 in the Journal of Sport and Health Science found that exercise can improve your immune response, lower illness risk, and reduce inflammation. This study reported on immune system reactions to those who partook in moderate to vigorous physical activity lasting less than an hour. The author of the study, David Nieman, stated that “Because exercise increases blood and lymph flow as your muscles contract, it also increases the circulation of immune cells, making them roam the body at a higher rate and at higher numbers.” This shows that increased exercise helps increase your immune system function thus giving you a better chance at staying healthy. There are many reasons that exercise is recommended when it comes to nurturing a healthy immune system. One reason is because of your body temperature; as you workout, your body temperature rises during and after exercise which helps to prevent bacteria from growing, thus helping to fight infection. Additionally, physical activity helps to flush bacteria out of your lungs and even slows the release of stress hormones (cortisol) which is also known to hinder the immune function.
Overindulging on Alcohol
If you drink everyday, or frequently, you may notice that you are more susceptible to catching colds and drinking is shown to dramatically impair the immune system.
If you have a hard time refraining from drinking, these self-massaging acupuncture points help the body release toxins, control cravings and become more grounded.
Liver 3: Located on the top of the foot. Start in the space between the big toe and the second toe, now walk your fingers back along that depression onto the top of your foot until you run into a bone and you can’t go any further. This is Liver 3. It helps to balance the liver energy of the body, and helps reduce stress.
Large Intestine 11: Located on the lateral elbow, at the end of the elbow crease. Large Intestine 11 clears toxins from the body, as well as releasing heat. It also balances digestion and helps to regulate body temperature.
Excessive Sugar Intake
When you look at a nutrition label, what’s the first ingredient you look for? For many of us, we’ve been trained to look for the calorie count per serving, but did you know that The American Heart Association recommends that we limit our sugar intake too? The AHA suggests that men eat less than 36 grams (9 tsp) of sugar per day and that women have no more than 24 grams (6 tsp). To add perspective, the average person eats nearly 15 teaspoons of sugar each day (that’s almost double the recommended amount)! Why is the consumption of sugar an issue? When we consume sugar, our bodies break it down and become inflamed. This decreases our immunity because it weakens the white blood cells ability to fight off infection! If you have a sweet tooth and want to make a sweet treat that also optimizes your immune function, try making this TCM herbal tea below:
- 4 cups water
- 3 tsp dried thyme
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 tbsp raw honey
Add all ingredients to a pot and bring to a low boil and then simmer for around 10 minutes. Once it’s done simmering, turn on low heat, stir in honey and then pour through a strainer. Enjoy!
Immune function has never been more important. If balancing your body is now a priority to you, schedule an appointment with us so we can create an individualized acupuncture plan just for you to help keep your immune system in tip-top shape!
Source: Medline Plus Article & CDC Alcohol Fact Sheet