The human body is constantly under attack from millions of microorganisms with which we share the planet, which is why it is important not to take your immune system for granted.
What can you do to help keep your immune system healthy and ready to shield your body from infection?
To answer this question, Shaklee Corporation recently formed the Center for Immune Research, which offers these important tips:
1. Find ways to relax. Because stress produces many different effects on the endocrine systems, scientists believe that immune function may be diminished by chronic stresses. There are a number of techniques to help you relax, such as deep breathing or yoga, which can reduce mental and physical stress as well as lower blood pressure and slow down your heart rate.
2. Sleep matters. Besides leaving you feeling sluggish, irritable and forgetful, not getting enough sleep can temporarily reduce the activity of certain cells in your immune system by up to 50 percent. Strive to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
3. Feed your immune system well. Not getting enough calories and getting too much dietary fat may weaken immune response. This is one important reason why nutritionists recommend a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of fruit, vegetables, low-fat dairy products and whole grains.
4. Get physically active. Regular exercise helps to strengthen your immune system, cardiovascular system, heart, muscles and bones. Being active also stimulates the release of endorphins, improves concentration and other mental functioning, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, and may lower cortisol and other stress hormones.
5. Learn about interferon. Although most Americans have never heard of interferon, this natural protein helps protect the body from the daily exposure to millions of germs that can lead to serious infection. Activated when an invading virus attacks a cell, interferon signals neighboring cells into action and triggers their resis-tance mechanisms. Interferon also activates other immune cells that kill invading pathogens.