Thoroughly washing hands, touching the face less, wearing a mask indoors and in transport – this is what the current pandemic has taught us. It also made me think about how to take care of my immunity on a daily basis. We have selected some tips on how to maintain health and reduce the risk of getting sick from our books.
Stir up the lymph
Jenna Maccioki, an immunologist with 20 years of experience, says that if you know nothing about lymph, you know nothing about health. This vast network of vessels and nodes is a highway for immune cells. Through it, white blood cells patrol every corner of the body, tracking infections, cancer and other troubles. It is involved in the transport of fats and detoxification of the body. When lymph does not flow properly, we become vulnerable to infection.
Lymph travels through the body through daily muscle contractions. Therefore, a sedentary lifestyle is the worst thing you can do for her. Moving more is our salvation.
Even a single exercise is useful: after it, the number of natural killer cells (guardians of immunity) increases 10 times.
Try to add movement to your every day: exercise, work while standing, walk more. – A source
Get enough sleep to take care of your killer cells
Sleep and immunity are interrelated. Increasing sleep is unlikely to make you completely immune to disease. But its lack will quickly lead to imbalance. It is enough to sleep poorly or just one night, so that the number of killer cells in the body, which are the first to begin to fight viruses, are sharply reduced. This reduction – sometimes up to 70% – means that we find ourselves practically unprotected from danger.
For those who sleep an average of 6 hours or less a day, the risk of catching a cold in the presence of a virus nearby increases fourfold compared to those who rest more than 7 hours at night on average. It is possible that this is why by the end of the New Year’s party season, some begin to get very sick. Studies also show that those who sleep poorly or poorly sleep less well with vaccines, which increases their risk of developing more serious illnesses, especially in the elderly.
Sleep at least 7-9 hours. And if you don’t get enough sleep, get a good rest the next day. – A source
Be in the sun more often to get sick less often
Vitamin D plays an important role in regulating the functioning of the immune system and contributes to the realization of its many functions. For example, T cells, the main regulators of immune processes, with a lack of this vitamin, stop plying through the body at the required speed. Vitamin D helps the antimicrobial functions of the skin, lungs and intestines, which provides protection against many infections; suppresses the immune response to inflammatory Th1 and Th17 cells, which are associated with the development of many autoimmune diseases; supports the work of killer cells.
Recently, doctors have come to the conclusion that with a high content of this vitamin, it is easier for the body to fight a number of diseases, including multiple sclerosis, asthma, depression, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. But at the same time, about half of the world’s inhabitants are deficient in vitamin D.
How do I get the right dose? It is produced quite quickly: according to the WHO, it is enough to spend only 5-15 minutes in the sun several times a week, but always without a protective cream on the hands and face. However, if you live in northern latitudes, you may not get the right amount of sunlight throughout the year. Fatty fish and vitamin-fortified milk are good sources of vitamin D.
Diversify your diet and the microbes will take care of you
Everyone has a companion who shares a lifestyle, addictions, travel with him. These are microbes. They are responsible for the digestion of food, control the absorption of calories, provide vitamins, and support the immune system. But if 15 thousand years ago a person regularly consumed 150 ingredients weekly, today the diet consists of only 4. The intestinal microbiota is becoming poorer. This seems to be the cause of allergies, autoimmune diseases, obesity and diabetes.
Set a goal to try 15-20 foods a week. The more varied you eat, the happier your germs and better health.
Remember that you can catch the virus even from someone who has recently been ill.
Every now and then we hear (and say ourselves): “It’s just a mild cold, I’m almost not contagious.” So is it possible to infect others if the disease subsides? Can.
If symptoms are barely present, this does not mean that the virus is weak. It is likely that a person is fortunate enough to have acquired a set of compatibility genes that helps the immune system effectively fight a particular type of virus. But even with mild symptoms, it can infect others, and someone can get seriously ill, especially the elderly and children. Try to have less contact with those who have just started to recover, give the person the opportunity to recover.
Love more – loneliness kills
Dr. Dean Ornish, one of the authors of Diseases Canceling, reviewed hundreds of studies (now tens of thousands). These experiments show that people who feel lonely, isolated from society are 3 or even 10 times more likely to get sick and die prematurely from various diseases compared to those who love and love, who have a social circle.
Loneliness causes chronic emotional stress and over-activates the sympathetic nervous system. In addition, in lonely and depressed people, inflammation constantly increases, provoking changes in the concentration of C-reactive protein, interleukins, as well as biological mechanisms, which we wrote about earlier. Researchers have shown that loneliness also includes the expression of over a thousand genes associated with chronic disease. By contrast, anti-inflammatory genes are turned off.
When a person is isolated, the body begins to perceive it as a mortal danger. Strengthen your bonds. – A source
If loneliness kills, then love and close relationships have healing properties.
For example, social support changes the expression of genes in the brain, especially in the area that is responsible for stress – in the amygdala, as a result of which the stress response is mitigated. Close relationships – the ones that save us from loneliness and restlessness – heal us. It can be a romantic relationship, platonic love for a friend, child, parent, brother or sister, teacher, and even affection for an animal. Especially to the animal! Studies have shown that when a person looks into a dog’s eyes, both have increased levels of oxytocin (a hormone associated with the formation of social bonds), much the same happens when a mother looks into the eyes of a child.
Take “forest baths”
The concept of “biophilia” is associated with the fact that every human being has a need to get in touch with nature; this word comes from the Greek and means “love for the living and life.”
Contact with nature helps relieve stress and achieve a balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. The Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku (literally meaning “forest baths”) dates back to the early 1980s: doctors began to actively recommend that patients go to the forest to improve their well-being. After many hours of walking in the woods, many have a drop in cortisol levels in their blood, and their immune cells begin to become more active. The healing effect is provided by volatile aromatic substances called “phytoncides” produced by plants – these are the very aromas that we enjoy breathing in in a field or forest. Perhaps the need to be in nature was formed in the course of evolution in order for us to replenish our vitamin D reserves.
Nature has a beneficial effect on killer cells – our main weapon in the fight against viruses; they are also responsible for recognizing cancer cells.
Take forest baths. But don’t forget to dress warmly. – A source
Those who can afford to spend a lot of time in nature have a significantly lower risk of chronic diseases. It has even been noticed that if trees are visible from the windows in a hospital, this contributes to the recovery of patients and even allows to reduce the amount of painkillers and medications that accelerate recovery after operations.
Based on materials from the books “Immunity”, “Diseases are canceled”, “Myths about diets”
Post cover – pexels.com