My top 10 lifestyle habits to boost your body’s defense system.

Let’s face it, we are up against all kinds of viruses on this planet, not only Covid-19 and its variants as most people are predominantly concerned about. Moreover, if you are suffering from a chronic health condition, it is likely that those are the symptoms of hidden inflammation or viral infection. The best way to boost your immune response is to improve your overall well being. Lifestyle is the single most important modifiable factor involved in maintaining overall health.

The findings, published January 15 in Cell, show that life habits and experiences shape our body’s defenses more than the DNA passed down from our parents.

Therefore it is not only seasonal but our lifetime responsibility to take good care of ourselves and our families. No matter what virus you want protection from, I hope this information can help you and your loved ones to build up your immune system so you can fight off pathogens and recover quickly and effectively.

Take a look at the list of things below that weaken your immune system and make an honest self-assessment of your lifestyle:

  1. Poor diet (rich with sugar and simple carbs, highly processed foods with additives, low on fruit & veggies)

  2. Smoking and excessive alcohol and/or other drugs consumption

  3. Sleep deprivation

  4. Dehydration

  5. Obesity

  6. Chronic stress

  7. Antibiotics

  8. Not maintaining regular exercise and limited time spent outdoors in nature.

Now take a look at some easy lifestyle habits that can improve your overall health and boost immunity:

1. Hydrate: The body including our brain is 75% water and without proper hydration, all body functions suffer. Making sure you’re staying hydrated is an important first step. The recommended daily water intake varies depending on weight between 2-2,5l for women and 3-3,5l for men. However, if you exercise an hour a day, you need to add more water to your recommended amount. If you feel cold, herbal tea is a great alternative.

2. Nurture yourself with a whole food diet:

The revolution of food science or commonly known as food processing has ushered in the chronic disease and weak immunity epidemic and fundamentally undermined the biology of the planet on a grand scale. 94% of our fate is determined by what we eat and the microbiome within us because it determines the strength of our immune system and what we absorb.

However, it is hard to find any packaged food that does not harbor a chemically-altered compound that our physiology has never had to handle. Highly processed , sugar and simple carbs rich foods and alcohol destroy the health of our microbiome and gut lining. (Read my blog post “Sugar is an Antinutrient and #1 Addiction!” to learn more).

The increased toxicity of processed food increases tissue-damaging free radicals, disrupts insulin regulation and electrolyte balance – all of which leads to increased levels of chronic inflammation. The consequences of this will manifest with mood instability, as well as poor memory and concentration and low immunity. Just remember that most supermarket food is designed to prolong shelf life, not yours. To restore our microbiome, it is important to avoid processed foods and prioritize fresh, organic, whole, fiber and nutrient-dense food.

3. Get adequate sleep: Quality sleep is essential as it allows our bodies to shift into detoxification and regenerative mode, producing higher levels of hormones, chemicals and white blood cells which heal wounds and fight infection. Failure to get enough sleep can elevate the chemicals in your body which promote inflammation. In fact, many scientific studies have linked sleep deprivation to an increased risk of developing many chronic and potentially life threatening diseases such as High Blood Pressure, heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes and depression

The Sleep Foundation website explains the core relationship between sleep and immunity. There you can also find tips for your particular sleeping problem. Sleep & Immunity: Can a Lack of Sleep Make You Sick? | Sleep Foundation

4. Minimize stress: These are stressful times and we are all experiencing moments of heightened anxiety.

Nowadays you might feel exhausted just from trying to maintain a positive outlook. It’s hard to be at your best when you’re tired and stressed out. Energy isn’t just for movement and exercise; you also need energy for emotions and thinking. (To learn how to engage gracefully with difficult emotions, read my blog post “Emotion = Energy in Motion”). Mental stress is one of the most detrimental factors against building immunity. Minor stress is normal. But if your job, relationship or financial situation is eating away at your mental health, keep in mind that it’s doing the same to your physical body. When you’re mentally overwhelmed, the body puts the immune system at the bottom of the priority list. The simplest and most important thing you can do is to go outside for a walk and get fresh air. Inside, we primarily breathe pathogen-laden recirculated air which is proven to be 5 times more polluted than the air outdoors. Going outside gives our lungs a chance to discharge toxins, increase oxygen intake and lower cortisol. (Read my blog post “Why detox must become a lifestyle?”)

Keep checking in with yourself. Pinpoint anything that may be causing you unhealthy amounts of stress, and see how you can change or eliminate it.

A daily meditation and/or yoga practice is proven to lower stress and anxiety.

5. Maintain healthy hygiene: Often people don’t realize that basically 90% of what we are is bacteria. Out of all known bacteria only less than 1% are pathogenic. So our job is to keep the good 99% of bacteria thriving so they do the right job for us. “We really are a collection of organisms. There’s a word for it, it’s called holobiome… The holobiome means a super-organism. So what we really are is a walking-talking rain forest. We are a collection of mini-ecologies all over our body,” says a well-known microbiologist Kiran Krishnan. Studies show that children have more allergies and asthma when homes are well sterilized. Our exposure to microbes actually builds strength in the immune system, building a certain type of knowledge within our immune system. Using eco-friendly cleaning products or