Boost Your Immune System with New Habits for the New Norm
These are some crazy times with the coronavirus roaring through the world. Hand sanitizer is getting all the glory, while organic foods and healthy living is really what needs to shine. The media outlets are going crazy getting us to wash hands and keep a certain distance, but the real strength is in our health habits. If your interior habitat is not strong, your exterior cleanliness will only go so far.
Health is a balanced combination of food and nutrition, exercise and movement, sleep and relaxation, and happiness. Together they make a strong and healthy individual. For some this may sound simple, yet for others they struggle with weight loss and obesity and tip the scale of their health in the wrong direction.
The latest research from NYU, stated that Obesity is the primary link to complications with Covid-19. For years, I have coached individuals to help them come to terms with their relationship with food. It’s a relationship because everyone has a different perspective about what food is actually for. Is it for soothing and comfort, socialization, or plain enjoyment? The reality is that food is fuel, it’s the gasoline that takes you from one point in your day to the other. Changing our perspective and recognizing the nutritional value of our food choices, and how they affect our interior health, is the key to living a healthy and lean life.
When it comes to living a lean life with a strong immune system, the main challenge for most is SUGAR. Sugar is not just sugar, it’s sugar, flour, dairy, and alcohol. All of these break down and metabolize as a sugar. We need a certain amount of sugar for brain function, but it’s not a lot. Let’s say, hypothetically speaking of course, that you need 10 grams of sugar for your day of thinking and learning, yet you eat 50. That extra 40 grams of sugar is stored as… Fat! That’s right, even if the cracker is “fat free” your body still has the “right” to store it as FAT.
Not to mention that all the nutrients needed to support and strengthen our immune system, are the same ones that help break down and metabolize the sugars. When our bodies have to digest sugars, certain vitamins and minerals, that support our immune function, have to “leave their post” in order to help out in the digestive process. This leaves our immune system unattended for periods of time.
We no longer have the time to leave our immune system unattended in hopes that we are unstoppable. This is the time to ramp up your nutrition through your foods. Your interior habitat needs the very best fruits and vegetables as their main multi-vitamin. The darker the richer the color, the more nutrients they offer. Set up your kitchen with fresh ingredients in the refrigerator. Next, have your freezer set up for the ultimate back-up plan. This is where batch cooking is so helpful. You can make some wonderful soups and stews with tons of fresh ingredients and then freeze them for those days that the refrigerator runs bear. My top favorites are Mexican Chicken Soup and Savory Indian Spice Lentils . The more nutrition you pack into your foods, the stronger your system is to deal with any challenges you may have to face.
Great food alone is only one piece of the puzzle. Managing stress is directly related to how the body properly digests foods. We can choose all the right foods, but if we are not aware of our stress levels, we miss out on the vast array of nutrients we consume. In other words, if we are stressed, our digestion is stressed, and we don’t fully absorb all the nutrients from our food choices. This can lead to low immunity, obesity, and other health issues.
Anything that creates stress in our body, will lower the strength of our immune system. Daily stress, illness, life, homeschooling, and world issues can all have an effect. Some of us can deal with many things at once, and other cannot. This is where I like to encourage relaxation rituals as your “go to” in times of non-stop crazy. If you can take yourself out of your current situation, even for a brief moment, you can reset your brain and look at everything with fresh eyes. If you stay on a non-stop hamster wheel, you simply ramp up the stress and challenge the interior health of your body on a daily basis.
Relaxation rituals refer to something you truly enjoy. This is where you can place all of your focus on something, even for a moment. I love to have a cup of tea, solving world piece on a video chat, or delving into a great book. You know your thing, so make sure you have what you need to make it happen at a moment’s notice. Journaling can also be a very helpful tool. Having the ability to write out your thoughts and even responding to your thoughts with no judgment from others is very powerful.
Relaxation works to diffuse some stress, but not all of it. We are all different. For some, movement is the magic pill. Exercise is a great way to help relieve stress, lower the chances of obesity, and help with other areas of our lives. Did you know that exercise will boost the nutrients needed to strengthen our immune system. It sure does, but as long as you are doing it in a healthy manner. There’s a fine line between working out too much and working out enough for health benefits. If you work out so much that you wear yourself out, that is too much. Your goal should always be to work out enough to energize and invigorate the body to feel great. There’re tons of workout options across the net, and they don’t all have to last an hour. Even a good 15-minute routine can do the trick and rev up the metabolism.
Your metabolism is that “thing” that helps you burn extra calories doing ordinary things. It turns on for two reasons, food and exercise. When our metabolism is working strong, it becomes easier to keep the weight down and our energy up. Think of it this way, when carrying excess weight, the body slows down and you feel it. It also requires nutrients to handle that weight, taking them away from positively impacting health, resulting in physical laziness.
The last piece of the puzzle is sleep, without allowing weight gain and laziness to justify it. Sleep is so important for recovery. We physically and mentally recover in our sleep. This recovery is a re-set so that when we start the next day we start fresh and ready to go. What if we didn’t fully recover? This means that the stress from the day before is still there, and it will layer up with today’s stresses. Layer after layer, the stress can take over and soon you don’t even realize you are carrying all this on your shoulders. Every morning you should wake up ready to get up, no snooze, no nothing. If you find it hard to get up, you feel lazy, and keep that groggy, sleepy thing going on through the morning, you are not fully rested.
We have sleep cycles that are so important for us to recover. This is deep sleep, and in a perfect world we would have 6-7 60-minute cycles per night, this is RECOVERY! Set yourself up for success by making sure your room is pitch dark, colder than usual, and your home reflects serenity in every way. Want to check out how your sleep cycles are doing, sleep with a #FitBit or exercise watch that tracks your sleep for a few nights in a row, and see where you are at. If you are not bringing in some good ones, reevaluate your nighttime rituals, your weight, and your health habits so that deep sleep becomes the norm.
There you have it, a strong immune system and a healthy weight are built on great nutrients, plenty of rest, low stress, movement, and a zest for life. It’s time to reevaluate your current habits and start implementing the ones that will make your immune system and your body SuperPower Strong!
In Peace, Love, and Health,
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©Copyright 2023, Adita Lang. Adita Lang works with individuals and groups to maximize their health through exercise and nutrition. She is available for Coaching and Public Speaking.
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