I usually think of the immune system as something to worry about during the winter. But really, our immune systems can get worn-down any time during the year. For many of us, summer is an extremely busy time and it’s pretty easy to get overextend ourselves. This article was originally published in the winter, but I think it’s a good reminder for this time of year as well.
The holidays can be a very stressful time, and excess stress has been known to weaken the immune system, thus making us more susceptible to falling ill. This paired with the fact we are exposed to more germs due to family visiting from out of town, it’s no wonder we are all getting sick during this time of year. Fortunately, there are several preventative measures you can take to make sure you’re doing the best to maintain overall well-being during this busy time of year.
CBD Health Benefits for the Immune System
As we have talked about previously, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is responsible for regulating most functions in the human body. One of these functions is our immune response. Cannabinoids (like CBD) interact with our ECS. When our ECS is active, it helps to aid our body in bringing itself back into balance (homeostasis). When our body is in balance, it is more likely to make sure proper immune function and regulation is occurring.
The immune system is extremely complex, and there is still much to be learned about it. We are excited to see more research being conducted about the relationship between CBD and the immune system. For now, though, it appears the ECS and CBD are very much involved in the maintenance of a properly functioning immune response.
Busting Myths About Immune Health
Due to the complex nature of the immune system, there are many misconceptions when it comes to staying well as the weather changes. Let’s bust one of those myths before jumping into the best preventative measures you can take to keep sickness at bay.
Many of us have heard the phrase ‘put a coat on or you’ll catch a cold!’ Although we may associate sickness with colder weather, research suggests our increase in sickness during the winter months is most likely due to spending more time indoors (to avoid the cold) and spending more time in close contact with others who may pass a virus to us.
Having busted this common misconception, let’s dive into some effective, preventative measures to keep you healthy this winter.
1. Manage stress
Stress is the single most important factor you can manage to avoid weakening your immune system. Stress wears down our immune system rapidly, making us more likely to fall ill when we are exposed to germs.
It’s not uncommon to be stressed out during the holidays, it can be a stressful time! You can help mitigate this stress by meditating, indulging in regular exercise, and practicing mindfulness. There are many various ways to manage stress over the holidays, so whichever option works best based on you and your schedule is great! We’re not so concerned HOW you manage stress, we’re merely advocating for you to do so!
2. Prioritize sleep (or make yours better!)
Our bodies repair themselves while we sleep – which is why it is so crucial to make sure we’re getting enough quality sleep. When we skip out on our regular amounts of sleep, the number of infection-fighting antibodies and cells in our bodies are reduced.
Supplementing with a CBD supplement before bed will help you relax and therefore get into a deeper sleep. There are several things you can do to ensure you get a better night’s rest, and it is in your immune system’s best interest to get quality sleep when you can.
3. Support your body with herbs and supplements
At Made By Hemp, we always recommend using a supplement as just that – a supplement to an already healthy lifestyle! Things, like sleeping well and managing stress, will always make a more significant impact than a supplement, but we listed a few supplements that can help boost your immunity nonetheless.
- CBD. As we mentioned before, CBD can be a powerful tool to help maintain balance in your body. Including CBD into your daily routine will be all-around beneficial – and will especially aid in activating your ECS and keeping you balanced this winter.
- Reishi mushroom. Mushrooms are widely used in Eastern medicine and have been known to act as a powerful immune sidekick. Source high-quality reishi mushroom powder and try mixing it into your morning latte.
- Echinacea. Echinacea has been shown to increase the number of white blood cells, which helps to fight off colds or infection. Try an herbal echinacea spray or a bag of tea that contains dried echinacea.
4. Load up on healthy foods
Vitamins can help an infection from even happening in the first place. If you are eating a healthy, balanced diet, then you should not need to take a supplement – the vitamins are already in the food we eat! We know there are plenty of treats around this time of year and we are not suggesting you don’t indulge (because we sure do!), but that doesn’t mean you have to completely ditch your healthy lifestyle altogether. You can still eat healthy meals in between your holiday get-togethers, and squeeze in workouts when able.
- Vitamin D. Due to the decreased amount of sunshine, vitamin D is an important supplement to add to your regime. You can either purchase a high-quality vitamin D supplement or look for fortified milk and cereals.
- Vitamin C. Vitamin C is probably the most well-known immune booster. You can get your dose of vitamin C by eating citrus (like oranges, grapefruit, or lemon), bell peppers, kale, and broccoli.
- Vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that will help the body fight infection. You can get vitamin E from nuts (like sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, or hazelnuts), avocados, mango, and kiwi!
- Zinc. Zinc is a mineral that keeps the immune system strong and aids in healing. You can find zinc in legumes, nuts, seeds, and soy products.
Prioritize eating a salad packed with vegetables, drinking a green juice, or even making your own vegetable broth before your next holiday get-together. Your immune system will thank you!
5. Stay hydrated
Making sure you stay hydrated aids your body in eliminating toxins and other unwanted bacteria. Soda, alcohol, and sugary drinks are not substitutes for water; if you need to, try herbal teas or add flavorings to your water to make sure you are getting enough.
As a guideline, to be properly hydrated, our bodies need ½ of our body weight in ounces per day to stay hydrated. If you weigh 150lbs then 75oz of water daily is what you need. We know drinking that much water isn’t always possible, but 35oz of water daily is better than zero. Do your best!
6. Wash your hands
One of the easiest tips of all, but we had to mention it! Thoroughly wash your hands, especially before handling food or after being in an environment with a lot of germs (like a Christmas work party or family dinner).
These tips can help you avoid sickness this winter (or anytime in general). We want to show you how easy it is to integrate a wellness lifestyle into your already busy schedule. Wellness is a choice that everyone can make!
Featured image credit: Foundry Co via Pixabay