3 Things That Affect Your Immune System

We’ve all heard about the importance of boosting the immune system, especially before travel or during the chillier months of the year, when colds are rampant. But, what affects the immune system in the first place? 

Here are three factors at play:

1. Sleep 
If you’ve been reading The Drop for a while, you’ve probably learned that sleep affects so much of your health, and your immune system is one of the systems impacted.

Getting enough sleep is what repairs the body and helps you stay healthy. In fact, your body only releases cytokines, a certain kind of protein that boosts the immune system, during sleep.  When we don’t get enough rest, our bodies are more likely to catch colds or be impacted by germs as a result. The worst part? This lack of sleep can also make the recovery process longer when we do get sick.

No matter how busy you may be, it pays to prioritize rest. 

2. Stress and Anxiety 
Here’s a reason to make time for self-care: stress and anxiety can also weaken your immunity. This is because stress creates cortisol, a hormone in your body that can suppress your immune system and get in the way of white blood cell communication. 

While an anxious thought here or there isn’t going to immediately lead to a brutal cold, consistent stress is certainly a cause for concern. To keep stress to a minimum, try and take regular breaks throughout the day, journal out your feelings, and schedule in quality time with friends and family. 

3. Nutrients in Your Diet 
Nutrient-dense, whole foods play a huge role when it comes to staying healthy. Not eating enough fruits and vegetables can weaken your immune response, as these foods contain nourishing elements like vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E, while creating more white blood cells to fight off illness. 

Another component to consider, especially during the winter, is your vitamin D intake. This vitamin is known for its ability to boost the immune system, and can be found in certain foods like mushrooms and eggs. Sunlight can help as well! While convincing yourself to go for a walk in the middle of winter might be a challenge, a little bit of sunlight exposure is worth the bundling up. More on that here

With these three factors in mind, you can keep your immunity in great shape and stay healthy all year round. But if you find you’re lacking nutrients, struggling with stress, or having a hard time getting the sleep you need, adding a supplement into your diet might be the right choice. Below are a few of our recommendations:

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