Autumn is in full effect here in Northern California. Leaves are changing color, days are getting shorter, and we've even had quite a bit of rain! This is the time of year it is especially important to focus on boosting immune function.
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine take a preventative approach to health. This means taking steps to improve your health before you get sick! This year, consider incorporating these few tips into your daily practices to boost your immune system and avoid getting sick.
- Avoid sugary foods. High sugar intake is known to lower the body's immunity. One Loma Linda University study showed that intake of the same amount of sugar found in one soda (100g) significantly inhibited the function of phagocytes (the white blood cells which engulf harmful bacteria) for up to 5 hours after ingestion!
- Get 30 minutes of sun exposure a day without sunscreen or supplement with Vitamin D. Vitamin D is a key component in immune health. Study after study shows that a low serum Vitamin D level significantly increases your chances of getting sick, among many other health issues.
- Make sleep a priority. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep per night for adults age 18-64. It has been shown that chronic sleep loss is a risk factor for immune system impairment.
- Manage stress. This requires taking some "you time". Do something healthy to help you shut off your mind and get a break from the monotony and constant doing. Take up daily meditation or breathing exercises, incorporate yoga practices into your life, schedule a massage!
- Exercise. We all know that exercise is key to good health. Exercise can effect immunity directly by improving blood circulation, allowing the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body and its tissues freely to do their job efficiently.
- Keep up with your acupuncture maintenance care. Acupuncture is incredibly effective at increasing the functioning of the immune system (this study demonstrates how a single acupuncture treatment improves immune function for 72 hours and continued treatment does so for even longer).
Follow these 6 easy steps and you may save yourself a couple of not-so-fun days. Who has time to get sick anyway?!