Given we’re currently living under a cloud of a global pandemic, it’s not surprising that we’re seeing a debate about ways to boost your immune system, or whether you even can.
Some even completely reject the notion that boosting the immune system is possible or even desirable given that in reality a ‘hyped up’ immune system is not sustainable. Consider that how you feel when you have a cold is a taste of what it’s like to have your immune response in full flight – sinuses streaming, sneezing, aches, and so on. Obviously, it’s not how we want to feel from day to day.
But really, it’s just semantics. What you’re actually aiming to do is to optimise your immune function or, to put it differently, rather than trying to boost it, the aim is to remove any obstacles to your immune system responding effectively. We are constantly exposed to pathogens and an immune system at the top of its game can and does handle them with aplomb. So, what’s important to focus on is removing the things that can act like handbrakes on your immune system.
Do you sleep soundly and wake up feeling rested? If not, you’re depriving your body of its optimal time for repairing itself. For some it’s as easy as deciding to get to bed earlier. However, if you’re battling with insomnia then it’s worth getting some professional help to get on top of it. In my experience, herbal medicine is excellent in helping to restore quality sleep.
If your shopping trolley is packed with fruits and vegies rather than processed foods, chances are you’re doing okay with accessing quality nutrition. Do you need vitamins? Maybe. You may have one of a few common deficiencies such as zinc or vitamin D, in which case your immune system is compromised. If you want to find out more, ask your GP for a blood test. Also, given the current explosion of understanding around gut health, we’re likely to see more emphasis placed in the future on how we can balance our microbiome in order to optimise immune function.
If you’re exercising regularly and sleeping well, then you’re likely to be managing your stress pretty well. If, however, you’re reliant on stimulants like cigarettes and coffee to function through the day and alcohol to wind down at night, then it’s likely you’re steadily running your immune function into the ground.
Keep in mind whatever you do to help your immune system will also have other benefits such as better energy, less aches and pains and clearer thinking.