Anti-Aging and Stress Reduction
How to stay healthy by boosting your immunity.
It’s a crazy world out there right now with the COVID-19 virus and all of the craziness and stress associated with it or how about just ‘normal’ living. It cannot be overemphasized how important it is to take care of yourself mentally as well as physically.
So let us talk about some of the proven ways that you can support your body’s ability to fight disease and stay well. We are talking about both supporting and boosting your immunity with some simple everyday things you can do.
EAT A BALANCED, NUTRITIOUS DIET
Every day you need to eat 7-9 servings of colorful fruits and veggies. The key thing to remember is to eat nutrient dense foods. The ever wise Hippocrates told us many years ago to ‘let food be thy medicine’ and this is borne out by modern research and science as well. The array of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, anti-oxidants, macro and micro nutrients found in Whole Foods is quite literally medicine for our bodies. Two thirds of each meal should be fruits and or veggies. You goal is to get a bountiful variety of colorful fruits and veggies and whole grains every day. Your proteins can either be plant based or pastured grass finished meats and deep sea caught fish.
Now is the time to kick sugar to the curb – for good! Sugar literally paralyzes your immune cells as well as being very inflammatory. Now is the best time ever to pretty much eradicate or drastically decrease sugar in your diet. Read labels – you will be surprised to see how much sugar in various forms is in canned and packaged foods.
I don’t know if this one is harder or not but you also want to avoid fried, packaged and processed foods as well as simple carbohydrates. These are all inflammatory and typically provide primarily empty calories.
DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
This is also a great time to toss the sodas and sweet drinks in favor of wrinkling pure, sweet life giving water. You need to have at lease half your body weight in glasses of water every day. Water quite literally is involved in all of our bodily function and is especially important when it comes to flushing out toxins. A great way to start each day is with a glass of warm to hot water with a lemon half squeezed into it. You will be surprised how you will learn to actually look forward to this little ritual, and improved bowel motility is additional perk. -Try having a smoothie for breakfast with 18 or more ounces of water.
Here is another fun way to encourage drinking more throughout the day – add a drop of a pure high quality essential oil like lemon, grapefruit or peppermint to your water. Yum!
It is best if you can to drink pure filtered or spring water to avoid chlorine and other toxins.
GET 7-9 HOURS OF SLEEP
Sleep is when our bodies heal and rebuild. We all know that one of the fastest ways to get sick even in good times is to miss out on sleep.
Develop a good sleep routine and if possible aim to get to bed by 10 o’clock each evening. Establishing a consistent routine of sleep and wake times is very important. This is vital to supporting our normal body rhythms of cortisol and other hormone functioning.
Keep your sleeping room as free as possible of lights. – pitch black is actually best.
The ideal temperature for best sleeping conditions is 75 -69 degrees.
You should also turn off TVs and all other electronics. For those who live in noisy areas white noise can be very helpful.
Eliminate caffeine in the afternoon as it is a stimulant
High quality functional medicine supplements should be a part of your everyday routine throughout life and especially at this time of increased stresses in our environment.
A baseline for all should be a high quality daily multivitamin which means functional medicine quality, Omega 3, D3 and zinc. Then at times of increased threats you can include additional Vitamin C, magnesium and B-vitamins to help buffer stress. Melatonin is also being shown to help support your immune system.
KEEP CALM AND MANAGE STRESS
Turn off media – we need to be informed but beyond that the vast majority of what we are seeing and hearing out there is typically is stressful, inflammatory, exhausting, and definitely not contributing to staying healthy.
Learn and practice deep breathing. Slowly inhale to the count of 5 and exhale to the count of 7 and Repeat 3-4 times. Deep breathing actually helps to switch your body from the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) to the parasympathetic nervous system (calm, relaxed and healing). Do this several times a day or whenever you feel that level of stress or anxiety rising.
Practice gratitude. It’s a fact that you can’t be stressed and truly grateful at the same time. Write down 10 things a day for which you are grateful. Pick one a week to celebrate.
Start your day with some quiet time, meditation and reading or listening to uplifting material.
Consider keeping a journal and listing daily 10 things for which you are thankful.
Put positive affirmations or Bible texts on your mirror and read out loud every day throughout the day. This is so powerful that it almost seems like magic. I love the text in Proverbs 23:7: ‘As a man thinks in his heart, so is he’.
Exercise has many benefits and one of the most important is stress management. It is powerful and better than pharmaceuticals according to some studies in alleviating depression, anxiety, panic attacks and other mood disorders. Completing 10-20 minutes of exercise every will make a dramatic difference in your outlook and ability to
Whenever possible get outside for your exercise and you will find that fresh air and sunshine also have wonderful healing and restorative properties.