Listen To Your Body: The Art Of Balancing Your Immune System
Having a strong immune system means your body is able to fend off infections and illnesses to keep you at your healthiest. You probably see a lot of stuff online about “boosting” your immune system, but we’ll let you in on a secret: “boost” is really just a buzz word – in reality, it’s all about balance. So, how do you balance your immune system for optimal health?
There are a variety of ways you can listen to your body to reach your health goals. Read on for more info on balancing your immune system.
What is a balanced immune system?
A balanced immune system means your body is able to fight off illnesses because it’s functioning optimally. But what can you do to get a balanced immune system? As we mentioned above, many people focus on boosting their immune system – but you really don’t need to become a Goop devotee and obsess over things like immune system detoxes or supplements. In fact, there are plenty of ways you can keep your immune system in balance that won’t impact your life in a huge way.
Tips for balancing your immune system
Eat well-balanced meals
This is pretty easy to intuit. Eat at least five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day, skip fried or fatty foods, and steer clear of highly processed foods.
Drink the recommended amount of water each day to allow your system to flush out toxins and help you avoid dehydration.
Skip cigarettes and drink in moderation
Cigarettes can wreak all kinds of havoc on your body, so if you’re currently a smoker, it’s time to quit. Drinking alcohol is fine if you’re doing it in moderation.
Get enough shut-eye
Getting a good amount of sleep (we’re talking at least seven to nine hours a night) is crucial to allow your immune system to be balanced and in good fighting shape.
Keeping your body moving and engaging in moderate exercise can be really beneficial to your entire health, but especially for your immune system. Even taking a walk can get your body moving without being too strenuous. And of course, yoga is a great form of activity that can be as high or low intensity as you choose!
Managing your stress levels
Have you ever noticed that you get sick more when you’re stressed? That’s because stress can cause your immune system to work less effectively. In order to keep your immune system balanced, it’s important for you to monitor the stressors in your life and make changes when necessary. Make sure you’re making plenty of time for self-care activities, such as meditation, yoga, and journaling, so you have a way of relieving the stress in your life.
Can you overstimulate your immune system?
There are ways you can overstimulate your immune system, but these are generally actions you’re consciously taking, like choosing certain supplements. In fact, people who experience an immune system working on overtime often take supplements such as echinacea. Always check with your doctor before beginning to take any new medications, vitamins, or supplements.
There are also people who experience an overstimulated immune system because they suffer from autoimmune diseases. These types of conditions are usually managed with medication and lifestyle changes.
What are the signs of a good immune system?
If you have a healthy, balanced immune system, your body will be able to fend off any foreign invaders (like germs) that it sees as troublesome. That means that a balanced immune system allows you to get sick far less often, although it can still happen occasionally. You’ll also feel a general sense of wellbeing, like your body is functioning well.
By following the above tips, you could have more energy and clearer skin as well as a well-balanced immune system. But what are the signs of an unbalanced or weak immune system? Here are a few…
Your stress levels are way too high
When you’re stressed, your body produces less lymphocytes (or white blood cells), which fight off infection. You’re much more likely to catch a cold if your lymphocyte levels are low.
You’re always sick
Like we mentioned above, you might feel like your immune system is weak and allows you to get sick constantly. For many people, contracting colds two or three times a year is perfectly normal. Most people recover within seven to ten days. However, if your immune system is unbalanced, you could get colds more frequently or have a harder time recovering from them than other folks do.
You’re always having stomach problems
Compromised immune systems make people experience a lot more stomach issues (including diarrhea, gas, constipation, etc.). In fact, more than 70% of your immune system is located in your digestive tract – so having trouble with your stomach could mean your immune system isn’t up to par.
You have wounds that are slow to heal
If your immune system is unbalanced or sluggish, your skin cells have a harder time regenerating. This means that your wounds have a hard time healing, and you’re stuck recuperating with the wound for a lot longer.
You contract infections all the time
Research has shown that individuals can be experiencing an immune deficiency if they have more than four ear infections per year; pneumonia twice during one year; chronic sinusitis or more than three cases of bacterial sinusitis in a year; or infections that require more than two courses of antibiotics a year. If you find your doctor prescribing antibiotics to you pretty regularly, chances are your immune system is not balanced.
You’re tired all of the time
Many of us feel pretty tired most of the time, since we lead such busy lives. But if you’re getting an adequate amount of sleep and still feel exhausted or drained, your immune system could be working overtime to conserve energy to fight off germs.
Having a healthy body means that you need to listen to what your body is telling you, because there will always be clues that your immune system is unbalanced. Pay attention to how you’re feeling every day – some people find it helpful to journal about their symptoms or different aspects of their health so that they can keep track of how they’re doing. If you’re taking good care of yourself, chances are your immune system will be balanced and in good shape.
Be sure to check with your doctor before making any major changes to your lifestyle. And remember to take care of your body – it’s the only one you’ve got!