Have you come across advertisements for products or supplements claiming to help boost your immune function? They sound great – who wouldn’t want a more effective immune system to fight off those seasonal colds? However, the notion that we can “boost” immunity by consuming a smoothie or a supplement is appealing but also bogus.
While there is no magic food, pill or powder to improve our immune function, there are other factors that can influence our immune system, most of which are actually within our control. Lifestyle factors such as sleep, smoking, alcohol and physical activity can all play a role in affecting our immune health. By choosing to adopt a healthy nighttime routine or setting a goal to be more active, you can help your immune system to function optimally!
Did you know that mental health is another important factor that can impact immune health? Stress, anxiety, depression and grief can all contribute to reduced immune function. While you may not be able to eliminate stressors from your life, you can try different strategies for coping with those stressors, such as seeking help with building resilience. Hopefully, these strategies can help to reduce your suffering and also reduce some of the burden on your immune system.
Finally, while we discussed earlier that there aren’t any magical foods or supplements that act like a silver bullet to boost immunity, there are ways your diet can impact your immune health. If your health care provider has told you that you are deficient in certain vitamins and minerals, they may recommend you take a multivitamin or supplement to address those deficiencies, helping your immune system get back to recommended levels.
At Vitality, we’re never going to stop talking about the power of prevention and the importance of a healthy lifestyle. There is tremendous power in being physically active, getting adequate sleep, and eating a nutritious diet – your body and your immune system will thank you!
With a PhD in Exercise Physiology, Jonathan Dugas spends his days thinking about how we can help more people be more active. With four Ironman finishes and 13 marathons and counting, he’ll see you out on the road.