The Best Way to Strengthen Your Immune System
Hey what’s up, it’s Dr. Jade Teta here.
As you probably know, the best defense against infectious bacteria, viruses and fungi is to build a strong immune system. But did you know the strength of your immune system depends directly on the strength of your metabolism?
That’s because your metabolism is the “Energizer Bunny” of your body. It’s responsible for “charging up” ALL your cells, organs, and tissues —including your immune system. So, without power from your metabolism, your immune system simply cannot defend you effectively.
Even better — an effective metabolism that primarily burns fat for fuel can also help you stay lean and energetic with a stable, optimistic mood, no matter your age.
How to Optimize Your Metabolism to Fuel Your Immune System
Most people have been taught the best path to an optimal metabolism — and healthy, lean body in general — is to eat less and exercise more (ELEM).
The truth is, this ELEM model is stressful on the metabolism. It causes the metabolism to react in uncomfortable ways… like increasing hunger and cravings, messing with your mood and sleep, and turning DOWN your energy.
These are all signals that the metabolism is “powering down.” That means your immune system has LESS fuel to fight off bugs.
Plus, STRESS is the number one thing to avoid when trying to build immunity. Here’s why…
Reduce Stress to Boost Immunity
Think of your immune system like a bucket.
You want your bucket to be as BIG and as EMPTY as possible. Your bucket may be larger or smaller, depending on your current lifestyle.
The BIGGER your immune bucket, the stronger your immune system is. It means you can handle more stressors without challenging your immune system (i.e. getting sick).
Stressors on the immune system include:
· Sugar — and foods that break down into sugar, like bread or pasta. (In other words, foods high in calories and low in nutrient density.)
· Sleep deprivation — if you lose just 30 minutes of sleep, you’re considered deprived!
· Emotional / mental stress — known to skyrocket the stress hormone cortisol. Elevated cortisol can impair lymphocytes — the “fighter cells” of your immune system. (High cortisol is also known to trigger fat gain… specifically on the belly.)
· Stressful exercise — too MUCH exercise or exercise that is too INTENSE for you is stressful to the metabolism. It can lead to fatigue, excessive hunger or cravings, disturbed sleep, mood swings, and yes, even weight gain.
· Infectious microbes — like bacteria, viruses and malevolent fungi.
The more stress you’re exposed to, the more your bucket fills up… and the more likely you are to experience immune challenges (i.e. getting sick).
So, to build immune system with a metabolism-first approach, we have two goals:
(1) We want to REDUCE incoming stress as much as possible. Yes, some stress is unavoidable… but that’s why we want to (2) make your immune “bucket” BIGGER, so you can handle more stress without becoming immunocompromised.
To do that, simply follow…
My 5-S Model For Boosting Immune Strength
· Sleep – get at least 8 hours per night. (If you want a great sleep science read that’ll blow your mind, I highly recommend Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker.)
· Stress – manage your stress hormones by being mindful of your lifestyle. Relax more. Meditate, go for leisurely walks, enjoy more self-care, and exercise appropriately. (Check out my Metabolic Aftershock, Metabolic Prime, and the women’s program Metabolic Renewal for affordable stress-reducing, fat-burning exercises.)
· Sugar – more specifically, enjoy more low calorie, highly nutrient dense foods. (I highly recommend The Metabolic Factor for help here. It’s an easy-to-follow, 22-day nutrition program written by Dr. Jonny Bowden.)
· Sanitation – wash your hands thoroughly and more often. That helps reduce the number of bugs your immune system has to fight off.
· Social Distancing – keep a 6 foot radius from other people to avoid inhaling potentially infectious water droplets.
Also, keep in mind the Law of Goldilocks. We want the nutrition, exercise, and sleep that is JUST RIGHT for YOUR metabolism. Continue reading the Metabolic Living blog for more information on how to create a customized “metabolic blueprint” for your body.
In the video below, I go into further details about all the concepts presented here… and how to strengthen your immune system by focusing on your metabolism first.
I hope this free immune-boosting guide is helpful to you. Please let us know if you have any questions in the comments below.