The Best Practices to Support Healthy Immunity
With so many viruses going around today – from the common cold, to influenza and the Coronavirus – it is more important than ever to make sure you are practicing the most effective methods to support healthy immunity. According to our degreed healthcare professionals, here are the top best practices to keep your body running effectively.
Wash your hands correctly.
According to a study from the US Department of Agriculture, 97% of hand washing is done incorrectly, leading to contamination of food and surfaces and resulting in illness. Most consumers failed to wash their hands and rub with soap for 20 seconds (the amount of time the CDC recommends to remove as much bacteria as possible), in the study. Poor hand-washing practices led to cross-contamination, the study found.
A separate study released this month by researchers from the University of Mauritis and presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, found 49 of 100 towels tested showed growth of bacteria normally found in or on the human body. That included E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus, often referred to as “staph.”
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Boost your immune system with clinically studied nutrients
In our latest podcast episode, Jerry Hickey, Ph. discussed the evidence that links green tea and other important nutrients to a healthy immune system.
According to a study from the University of Florida at Gainesville, Green tea also stimulates a particular type of immune cell called a gamma-delta T cell, which helps govern the ability of your immune system to fight viruses in general. The research shows that Green Tea also stimulates the release of interferon-gamma further helping contain viruses.†
In the Journal of Nutrition, the University of Shizouka School of Pharmacy, looked at 2663 school kids from different parts of Japan over 2 winters and found that drinking Green Tea 6 times a week decreased a diagnosis of the flu by a pediatrician by 40%. But if they drank green tea more frequently, it cut the risk by 46%. In a study of healthcare professionals by the same pharmacy school, taking a green tea capsule along with it’s component L-Theanine, lowered the risk of the flu in healthcare professionals by 75%.†
Other supportive nutrients, according to Jerry Hickey, Ph., include:
- Zinc Lozenges†
- Vitamin A (from animal products) or Beta-Carotene (from vegetables)†
- Vitamin D†
- Probiotic (especially Bifidobacteria animalis subspecies lactis)†
Follow a healthy diet
A healthy immune system is needed to support overall health and wellness. The good news is there are plenty of foods that can help support and boost your immune system. According to the Cleveland Clinic, your diet should be composed of:
- Leafy green vegetables, like spinach and kale
- Almonds, peanuts, chickpeas, hazelnuts and sunflower seeds
- Bananas, oranges, grape fruits, carrots
- Fatty fish, lean chicken breast, turkey, sardines
- Sweet potatoes, squash, whole grains
Other Best Practices for a Healthy Immune System
According to numerous studies, the most physically fit you are, the less likely you are to suffer from colds in the winter months. Researchers from the Appalachian State University and the University of North Carolina have published their results online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. They followed a group of 1002 healthy adults aged from 18 to 85 years, over a 12 week period during the US autumn and winter seasons in 2008. Over the 12 weeks, the subjects reported experiencing symptoms of an upper respiratory tract illness (URTI) on average for 13 days in the winter and 8 days in the autumn. But those who were fit and exercised frequently were much less likely to develop a cold, and when they did, it was much less severe.
While sleeping doesn’t prevent you from getting sick, unhealthy sleeping patterns could adversely impact your immune system. The Sleep Foundation reports, “Without sufficient sleep, your body makes fewer cytokines, a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released during sleep, causing a double whammy if you skimp on shut-eye. Chronic sleep loss even makes the flu vaccine less effective by reducing your body’s ability to respond.”