• Lee

Mental Health and Immune System

Updated: Mar 1

In this episode of the mental health series, we will be talking about ways to keep your immune system up and functioning effectively. The immune system is the body’s way of fighting against foreign materials and keeping us safe every time from infections. The stronger your immune system is, the more you are able to fight diseases and stay healthy for a long time. In the quest of boosting the immune system, many supplements which are claimed to be good for the immune system have been released into the market. However, some of these drugs may not work as they are being advertised in the market. If most of these drugs are actually effective and there is hard scientific evidence of their improvement to the immune system, why haven’t doctors with immunocompromised patients already prescribed such drugs as the major source of treatment?

Rene Leon a clinical immunologist says that she will not allow her patients to take in superfoods for the reason of improving the immune system. Nutrition is important in keeping your immune system strong and active but saying to yourself I am going to eat a lot of vegetables or a lot of oranges because they contain a lot of potassium or vitamin C is the wrong idea and surely that alone will not help boost your immune system. A balanced diet is very important and can help your immune system get better faster than all the drugs we have on the market now.

So why is a strong immune system important for good mental health? People already struggling with mental health issues have the tendency of being more susceptible to inflammations and other infections. For them to be able to avoid getting sick and feeling worse, a strong immune system is one of the best options and can even increase calmness in the individual. For people who do not have mental health issues, we all deal with stress at one point or another. Either due to work, school, or any relationship you are in. Stress causes your immune system to slow down making you also susceptible to infections. Here are somethings that you can easily do and have been proven to be the best choices for building your immune system other than using supplements and superfoods.

The first of these is exercise. Yes. Exercise! Exercise!! Exercise!!! We hear this all the time and yet people still think drugs are much better. There have been a lot of experiments that have shown that once we exercise even as little as 35-45 minutes and get the heart pumping at a higher than the regular rate, it activates what David Nieman, an exercise physiologist calls the best fighter cells of the immune system. Thus, exercising every day for at least 30-45 minutes is like employing the best cells in your body every day. This makes you fight diseases easily as your system is strong and gets your brain active too. According to Nieman in a study he conducted, he concluded that exercise is associated with a 40 to 45% reduction in the number of sick days people take.

The second way to boost your immune system is through sleep. After a long day, the body and mind need time to relax and energize themselves. Sleep keeps your immune system strong as you rest but it works best when you have a set time when you sleep and a set time you wake up. This seems very trivial but is very important. Sleeping 8 hours daily at any time interval is not as helpful as sleeping at a set schedule.

The last method I will mention is having a balanced diet. Nutrition as I mentioned is very important to build up your immune system. Eating a balanced diet will help you build your immune system and strengthen you.

These are easy things you can do to stay safe and strong. In the year 2015 alone, the Food and Drug Administration issued out warnings to 14 companies selling supplements that had been coated with illegal drugs. Instead of taking in something you are really not sure of, take your health into your own hands and do it the best and safest way possible. Always remember it’s just you and us.

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