Boosting Your Immunity

While it may seem simple, boosting your immune system is much easier said than done. The immune system is actually quite complex, and that is for a good reason. It must have a balance between being strong enough to fight off a variety of illnesses and infections, but it also must be careful as to not overreact unnecessarily causing the development of allergies and autoimmune disorders. However, many lifestyle habits overtime with consistency can give your immune system it’s edge to fight harmful pathogens, and disease-causing organisms.

What are you feeding yourself?

Much like anything else, the immune system is dependent upon your gut. A happy gut equals a happy immune system, and this begins with your diet.

A healthy diet not only provides you with energy from macronutrients. It also provides you with many micronutrientsantioxidants, and natural sources of fiber. The fiber feeds your gut microbiome, or the good bacteria in your gut.

A healthy, nutrias diet can begun with focusing on whole plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes. And there are a few important vitamins from food for happy immunity

  • Vitamin B6, this energy vitamin is abundant in green leafy vegetables, salmon, chicken, tuna, and bananas. 
  • Vitamin C, the vitamin of citrus fruits is found in oranges and strawberries as well as tomatoes, broccoli and spinach
  • Vitamin E is found in almonds, sunflower seeds, peanut butter and spinach.

Another important food source in your diet is healthy fats like olive oil and omega-3s. Chronic inflammation can be a large suppressant of your immune system, healthy fats come in handy with their anti-inflammatory properties. 

Get exercise 

There is no doubt regular exercise is one of the pillars of healthy living. In terms of immunity, exercise directly promotes good circulation. This allows cells and different substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently.

Minimize stress

I am happy to say, modern medicine has come to appreciate the close link between the mind and body. Stress is different for everyone, including how we relieve it. Given the inevitable stress we know we run into, it is important to know how to identify it and act against it. Whether that be deep breathing, yoga, or a long run you should get familiar with what helps you. 

During a period of stress, particularly chronic stress that’s frequent and long-lasting, your body responds by initiating a stress response. This stress response, inevitably suppresses your immune system immensely if not helped. 

Sleep plenty 

Sleep for sure doesn’t feel like an active process, but some of the most important things are happening as you sleep. For instance, important infection-fighting molecules are created for your immune system as you sleep.

Sleep and immunity are closely tied. To show this, a study in 164 healthy adults found those who sleep less than 6 hours each night have much higher risk of catching a cold. Adults should aim to get 7 or more hours of sleep each night, while teens need 8–10 hours and younger children and infants up to 14 hours

This  also explains  why you seem to sleep so much while you are sick, your body uses that rest to boost your immune system and fight off illness. 

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate 

Water can be the simplest task you can do to help yourself out. Water naturally boosts many qualities of health, and one of those being your immune system. While tea and juice are also hydrating, it’s best to limit your intake of fruit juice and sweetened tea because of their high sugar contents.

Bottom line

If you are looking for ways to boost your immune system and you’re overwhelmed, always remember there is never anything wrong beginning with small steps in lifestyle changes. Be consistent and you will be surprised in how quickly they add up overtime. 

Also note, no lifestyle modification is complete protection from any illness and disease. But always note practicing proper hygiene and looking out what is best for your health is never the wrong answer.


Importance of Calcium for Women

Did you know calcium needs are different between men and women? This is much due to the female hormone levels and the role they play with osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a disease that causes our bones to weaken and break easily. It affects predominantly older women much due to the hormone, estrogen. Estrogen plays a vital role in building and maintaining bone and it comes into play for osteoporosis because oftentimes post menopausal, a women’s ovaries are producing much less estrogen. 

However, prevention of osteoporosis starts early. Bones grow in size during childhood, gaining mass and strength. Peak mass of developed bone is around 90% by the age of 18 for girls. The amount of bone mass you obtain while you are young determines much of your skeletal health for the rest of your years to come. The risk for developing osteoporosis is high if strong bones are not developed from an early age, and if an eating disorder, poor eating, lack of physical activity, or another health problem prevents building bone mass in life, the less bone there is to draw on later in life. 

In order to take the steps in building bone mass and preventing bone loss. Calcium is the one key nutrient to build strong bones; and throughout life our bones keep a balance between creating bone, and breaking down bone through the balance of calcium. When we do not consume enough calcium through our food, our body takes it from our bones, hence creating weak bones. Which is essentially the cause of osteoporosis. As you age, new bones can not be made fast enough to keep up with the bone loss; and after menopause, bone loss happens even more quickly due to low estrogen levels. 

Calcium is not made in the body, it is absorbed through the foods we eat, and the absorption of calcium is dependent upon a few factors

  • The current calcium status in our body. If calcium levels are high, absorption will be lower and vise versa. During periods of growth, such as pregnancy, lactation, and most commonly childhood, as much as 75% of  dietary calcium can be  absorbed. 
  • Vitamin D. Calcium helps build stronger bones, but vitamin D helps the body better use calcium. Sun exposure for 20 minutes two to three times a week is usually enough for the body to produce effective vitamin D. However you can obtain it from fatty fish, cereal, fortified milk, or a supplement. Those aged 51 to 70 should get 400 IU every day, and those over age 70 should get about 600 IU.
  • The bioavailability (or the absorption factor) of the calcium in the food chosen. For example, calcium is less bioavailable in plant foods than it is in animal-derived foods 
  • Outside of food, calcium supplements are also available

How much calcium you need also depends on your age:

  • 9–18 years: 1,300 mg per day
  • 19–50 years: 1,000 mg per day
  • 51 and older: 1,200 mg per day

It is also important to note, calcium contains a threshold minimum. That is to say, significant amounts of calcium will not create a long- term gain of bone. Outside factors indicative to bone growth can be dependent upon genetics and levels of physical activity. 

Other than bone remodeling, adequate calcium is necessary for many other aspects of good health. Our body uses calcium to help blood clot and muscle contractions on top of ensuring our organs and skeletal muscles are working properly. If you are looking for more ways to increase your health check out more supplements at Douglas Laboratories.