Enhancing Your Immune System
Dr. Gabrielle Francis
The philosophy of Naturopathic Medicine is centered around the Prevention and Strengthening of the individual’s immune system so that the latest infections are less likely to invade. At this time of the year my focus is on the immune building lifestyle factors that can enhance our body and prevent illness. If a patient ends up getting sick, they are more likely to recover faster if they have been focusing on a stronger immune system.
There are many lifestyle factors that enhance our immune system. These lifestyle factors may sound simplistic but should not be overlooked as they are essential not only for a strong immune system but enhance our overall well being and energy.
Lifestyle Tips That Enhance Our Immune System
Sleeping 8-10 hours per day. This may seem unheard of for most people, but we need 8-10 hours of deep sleep per night in order to maintain our health. If we are sick our body requires more like 10-12 hours per night. Sleep is the time in which our body goes into it rest and regeneration mode.
Moderate Exercise 3-4 times per week. Exercise allows the blood to pump through our body delivering nutrients and oxygen to all the organs and tissues. Exercise should be enjoyable and need not be excessive. Note that exercising too rigorously when you are tired, overworked, and stressed may actually weaken your immune system. You can enjoy regular walking, swimming, fitness classes, yoga, and or weight training. The regularity of exercise is also a key factor.
Sunshine daily. When the sunlight hits our skin the vitamin D gets converted into its active form. We need about 20-30 minutes per day of sunlight hitting a small part of our skin. This can be achieved even on our walk to and from work. Sunscreen will prevent the conversion of Vitamin D so there must be a small part of your skin that is exposed without the sunscreen. Vitamin D is a hormone that has a profound affect on strengthening our immune system.
Positive thoughts and language. Positive thoughts and language have been studied to increase our white blood cell count. I encourage my patients to repeat affirmations that increase their optimism about life.
Supportive Relationships. When a person feels supported by friends and family and connected to other people in their life, they receive health benefits from it. It is essential to express gratitude to the people around you that are your personal immune boosters.
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Job Satisfaction. Research has shown that people with greater job satisfaction have a stronger immune resiliency. For some people this may seem out of their control if the environment at work seems unhealthy. However, small changes in your perspective my help improve your work and job satisfaction. Focus on the benefits of your job and career instead of the negatives.
Expressing Emotions. In Chinese medicine philosophy we discuss how the repression of emotions can cause stagnation and illness in the body. Modern research has shown that people that express their feelings in a healthy and balanced way have greater white blood cell activity.
ORGANIC/WHOLE FOODS FOR STRONG IMMUNE SYSTEM
Food is our Medicine. The latest science on nutrigenomics studies the ability of foods to enhance the health of our genes and cells therefore preventing diseases. There are many foods that may enhance our immune system and can be easily incorporated into our diets. Try to eat these as often as you can.
The key to a healthy immune system is prevention. It is not necessary to be extreme and change everything at once. This fall make an effort to incorporate these lifestyle guidelines and foods into your life and see the benefits in your health, vitality, and quality of life.
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Dr. Gabrielle Francis
is a Chiropractor, Acupuncturist and Naturopathic Physician.
She has a private practice in SOHO called The Herban Alchemist.