We all know that by washing our hands, avoiding contact with those that are sick and getting enough sleep helps us to avoid getting sick but there are several less common ways that we may be inadvertently sabotaging our immune system and if health is the anecdote to sickness, there’s no better time than RIGHT now to stop unknowingly self-sabotage our immune system.
Do you want to know how you may be harming your immune system and how to stop it? Good, let’s do this.
- Not pooping enough (poop consistency matters too!)
Few things capture our attention like a call to the restroom, particularly if you’re having trouble in that area. It may sound gross but paying attention to your bowel movements is actually pretty important. Your BM’s are a strong indicator of your digestive health and your gut is where the majority of your immune system comes from. Changes in the frequency, color, shape and texture of your stool can reveal signs of infection, digestive issues and more serious health problems, such as cancer.
You should have 1-3 bowel movements per day.
Your stool should be brown with a soft to firm consistency.
It should be in an “S-shape” or “sausage shape”.
Your stool should sink to the bottom of the stool, not float.
- Take a high quality magnesium supplement before bed every night
- Take Super Aloe 250 or 450 if Magnesium isn’t enough
- Purchase a Squatty Potty
- Drink at least a half an ounce per lb body weight of water (for example – if you weigh 150 lbs , you will need a minimum of 75 ounces of water)
Dehydration can not only impact bowel movements, but it affects the overall health, so stay hydrated. I understand it can be tough to get the ounces needed so here are a few things that will make it easier
- Drink a large glass of water immediately you wake up
- Use large jars or water bottles so you’re not refilling your glass 6-8 times a day and there is less refills to count or keep track of
- Add slices of citrus fruits like lemons, limes or oranges to your water
- Always drink filtered water
Loneliness has been shown to, at least indirectly, negatively affect the immune system. Current isolation measures will affect more than the others so we can all be a part of decreasing another person’s loneliness.
Now, a new study sheds light on the issue, finding that loneliness can alter immune system cells in a way that increases susceptibility to illness.
Click HERE to read more about these studies.
- Use technology (zoom, facetime, skype) to connect with family and friends.
- Reach out to nursing homes and ask if you can send cards to residents that don’t have a lot of friends or family
- Join an online support group or book club
- Call a friend or family – set up an ongoing “date” each week.
- Sitting Too Much
Did you know that the average American spends a minimum of 6-8 hours sitting PER DAY? –-> most on an electronic device, in front of the TV or computer, or on their phone. Not only are we increasing risks of back problems and weight gain but sitting is now considered the “new smoking” – that’s how hard it is on your body. More studies need to be done, but a 2012 study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that being sedentary can negatively impact the immune system health and function.
- When working with a computer, get up every half an hour to simply stretch at your desk and do squats. The goal is to do 20 squats every hour
- Use your lunch break to go on a walk with a coworker
- Ask your boss for a standing desk
- Maintain a healthy exercise routine to offset so many hours of sitting
- Choose activities other than TV with your kids
Having a “glass is half empty” mindset can not only make you hard to be around but could affect your immune system.
A positive attitude can improve your immune system and may help you live longer, according to a University of Queensland study. The research, published in Psychology and Aging has found that older people who focused on positive information were more likely to have stronger immune systems.
Choosing to focus on the positive and be grateful isn’t just about living life like everything is “rainbows and unicorns”. It’s about positively impacting your health.
- Know that life can throw you against any wall and you’ll come back fighting
- Trust that you can handle anything that comes your way (you’ve handled everything up to this point right? You’re still here!)
- Get a journal and write down 5 things every day that you’re thankful for (I love the Rachel Hollis journal. Click HERE to order)
- Reach out to someone that’s brought positivity to your life and thank them.
- Find someone that needs a little joy and do something for them. Your candle can always light another’s
Fear is different than negativity and can signal “danger” to our bodies, causing a “fight or flight” response which affects the immune system.
Take for example – if you’re in the woods camping and a bear jumps out of the woods to scare you, what does your body do?
1) Slow (or shut) down non-essential functions that you don’t need for immediate survival (such as digestion)
2) Sharpen or strengthen things you need for survival such as eyesight, increased heart rate, blood flow and blood pressure so you can run from the bear
3) Provide increased hormone flow to the amygdala part of the brain to focus on danger
4) Increase Adrenal hormones so you can run faster and not feel pain (would you feel a briar patch if you ran through it? Most likely not)
Most of us aren’t running from a bear. But we’re constantly stressed out and in fear wondering why we don’t feel good, unknowingly affecting our immune system.
- Get off social media. There’s no greater place than the social media where negativity spreads like wildfire. Focus on your loved ones in front of you and put social media away
- Use prayer for focus and faith
- If prayer is talking to God, meditation or focused quit time is listening to HIM. My favorite form of meditation is guided imagery through Brain Tapping – Watch my interview of the doctor and founder of Brain Tap HERE.
– Get your free 14 day trial HERE.
– 24 minutes of Brain Tapping is equivalent to the health benefits of 4 hours of meditation.
While too much sitting is an issue, you can also overtrain and negatively impact the immune system. Signs of overtraining could include swelling and fatigue that doesn’t go away after bouts of training.
If you are training for an event or race but performance is deteriorating, you may be overtraining.
In a nutshell, if you train too hard or too long, it can negatively affect your immune system.
- Schedule more walks or hikes into your routine (where you’re moving and getting exercise but not intense exercise).
- Make your off days a priority. If you don’t take your rest days, your body will find a way to force you.
- Recognize that exercise can come in various forms. Dancing in the kitchen or getting busy in the bedroom counts!
- Sugar Intake
While sweets taste great and can soothe your soul (temporarily), consistently ingesting sugar is not beneficial to your health, it is quite the opposite.
Recent studies have found that sugar intake decreases the immune function by 50% over the next few hours
Eating sugar may put your white blood cells into a temporary coma.
- Make smoothies
- Make fresh pressed juices
- Eat some protein or fat
- Meditate, exercise when stressed.
You were never expecting any of that, right? That’s how it is. Sticking to the guide in this article will ensure that your immune system gets improved and boosted. Staying away from the sick and infected, washing your hands and sanitizing yourself will help improve your immune system, but that’s not all. Stay away from negativity, fear, too much consumption of sugar, sedentary, excessive training, loneliness, dehydration, and bowel movement obstruction. Embrace positivity and liberation, limit the consumption of sugar, drink more water and stay hydrated, exercise more but not too excessive, free your bowel and stay connected with loved ones.
At Yost Wellness Center, we are leading a Wellness Revolution that advances a new model of health care by pioneering cutting edge treatments while utilizing Functional Medicine.