- Dr. Nadia Mawji, ND
5 Tips for Optimizing your Health
Begin this New Decade feeling GREAT!! Your immune system plays a significant role in overall health. All diseases can somehow be linked to inflammation and therefore our immune system.
Whether it’s the common cold or another condition, here are 5 tips to help optimize your immune system:
1. Reduce refined sugars in your daily meals & snacks. Sugar can give you a temporary surge of energy and can also cause significant damage to individual cells, in high quantities. Refined sugars can increase oxidative damage and therefore oxidative stress and increased inflammation in the body overall. Increased inflammation is hallmark for all disease – infection, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, cancer, autoimmune disease, etc. Our immune systems then have to work harder to mitigate these inflammatory effects.
2. Get enough sleep. Do you stay up late at night? Are your waking up rested in the morning? Do you get sick often? Do you get headaches? Sleep is a very important part in modulating our circadian rhythm. It boosts the immune system and gives our body a little break from all the work it does to keep each one of our bodily systems going during the day & night. One hormone important for circadian is cortisol. Both can play a role in stress modulation as well. Sleep therefore, also has important benefits on our mental health.
3. ‘Eat the rainbow’. You’ve definitely heard this one before, right?! Fruits and vegetables of all colours are important in providing nutrients (vitamins, minerals), antioxidants, carbohydrates, proteins, fiber. Fruits and vegetables are really important in the anti-inflammatory processes that take place with our immune system. It gives our bodies the building blocks it needs, but also help provide antioxidant support to help with inflammatory processes that may be going on i.e. oxidative stress and oxidative damage.
4. Meditate. Stress is both mental-emotional and physical. Mental-emotional stress can manifest physically again, via inflammation. For some people, this can be psoriasis or eczema during stress, some people may break into hives, some people may experience diarrhea, etc. This is the immune system that is being triggered as well. Meditating allows you to centre yourself on your breath and can help improve immune health overall.
5. Exercise. Exercise helps to counteract the oxidative stress and supports the immune system on a cellular level to reduce inflammation. Exercise within your means and as directed by your doctor.
Our immune systems are very intricate and can be affected by a variety of factors. Stay warm for the rest of winter and let’s optimize those immune systems!