Reflecting on 2020: The Importance of Your Immune System

What a year it has been!  The thing dominating the news has certainly been the pandemic which has shown us unprecedented times of limited social gatherings, businesses closing, travel plans and sporting events canceled, and, unfortunately deaths of loved ones.

While this has dominated the news cycle each day, what has been lacking from the information that we are gathering is how to enhance your immune system.

Our immune system is designed to fight off any germs that get into your system not to cause you harm.  People have varying degrees of the way their immune systems work, and I am sure you can think of people off the top of your head that seem to be not feeling well a lot of the time as if their bodies do not know how to fight off illnesses.

The truth is I used to be one of those kids growing up.  It seemed as if I constantly had a head or chest cold.  These days of congestion were not short-lived as they seemed to drag on and on.  I even tried to constantly take vitamin C to see if that would help.  In the 3 years that I have been working at Align Weight Loss and Body Balancing, though, I have only had brief moments of congestion here and there.  (I know, knock on wood, right?)  This has certainly not been nearly as much as before.

This got me thinking about how my immune system has changed.  I do not suddenly live in a bubble where I am not around germs.  I am not constantly taking some kind of decongestant in an attempt to prevent the colds from coming on.

The biggest thing that has changed is my lifestyle.  Here are some changes I have made that I know firsthand have enhanced my immune system.

1. Changed my nutrition

How you fuel your body is the most important piece to enhancing your immune system.  I was raised on processed foods like Hamburger Helper, frozen tv dinners, and Lunchables.  These foods are heavily processed, providing harsh chemicals that inhibit your immune system from working properly.  Despite what their labels may say, they do not provide nutrients for your system to function at its optimal level.  I began focusing on eating real foods like good proteins, vegetables, and fruits that provide my body with the nutrients that it needs and the foods that our bodies were designed to digest instead of foods that have been processed and modified.  I also began limiting the amount of sugars and processed carbohydrates that I was consuming.  Sugars and carbs are the leading cause of inflammation in our systems, and inflammation inhibits our immune systems from working.  Reducing the intake of these items has helped my body focus on fighting off whatever germs I come in contact with, as well as helping me feel better sooner for the few germs that do cause some congestive issues.

2. Began Chiropractic adjustments

Dr. McAlees is a chiropractor as well and owns Charlotte Health Center (which is directly across the hall from our Charlotte location).  I was able to begin chiropractic care in the office.  When my neck and spine were first examined by the doctor, he felt the top of my neck and asked me if I had been sick a lot before I began seeing him.  The reason was because several of my neck vertebrae were not aligned properly, and this area of my neck was responsible for relaying messages to and from my immune system.  With my neck not being aligned, the messages were not able to be sent and received as they should have been further causing problems for my immune system.  I have since begun and continued my chiropractic care to ensure that my neck and spine are all aligned, so all of the signals that are supposed to be reaching various areas in my body are getting there.

3. Started taking High Potency Vitamin D3

Many people hear that vitamin C is important for your immune system, but one vitamin that may be even more important is Vitamin D3.  Low amounts of Vitamin D can cause obesity, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, osteoporosis, neurological diseases, low immune function, and depression.  Many supplements for Vitamin D have D2 in them, which is thought to take a while to convert to D3, the form that our bodies need to use.  Therefore, supplementing with Vitamin D3 is important for preventing all of these difficulties, including making sure your immune system functions properly.

4. Started taking a probiotic

Did you know 70% of our immune system lives in our gut?  When we have a healthy gut, we can have a properly functioning immune system.  Probiotics can enhance our body’s production of antibodies which signal our immune system to get to work on neutralizing pathogens like harmful bacteria and viruses.  Probiotics also help balance the bacteria in our gut and eliminate the harmful bacteria that cause indigestion and other uncomfortable issues.  Additionally, we absorb nutrients in our intestines, so promoting the growth of good bacteria helps our bodies better absorb nutrients in our gut which our bodies can then use to fight off illnesses.

5. Prioritized sleep

When I was younger, I thought sleep was something that I could just do for a few hours a night.  If my friends wanted to stay out late, I was not someone who would say no.  One thing I did always have going for me was being a morning exerciser.  However, if I was staying up late and still getting up early to exercise, that was not helping my body get the rest it needed to restore all of its systems, including my immune system.  This cycle of not getting a lot of sleep inhibited my immune system, causing me to get sick more often and stay sick for longer.  Now, if I am going to be staying up later than usual, I will also adjust my wake-up time.  For the most part, though, I do try to keep a regular sleep cycle throughout the week, so my body is used to resting at the same times each 24-hour cycle.

Have you noticed anything in common with these options?  They are natural options and do not include expensive procedures or medications.  The best part?  We are ALL capable of making these changes.

Looking back over all of these changes that I have made certainly did not happen overnight for me, and it took my reflection of this time to help me understand just how much each of these has impacted my daily life.  I know; hindsight is 2020, right? 😉

Align Weight Loss and Body Balancing is connected with Charlotte Health Center and Charlotte Pain Clinic, where we serve a wide variety of patients with all different backgrounds but who all want the same goal: to feel better.

Let us know how we can help change your nutrition, provide you with chiropractic adjustments, or help with the neuropathy that you are experiencing!

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