4 Easy Ways to Build Your Immune System By Jacob Appleton I

mmune health has been all the rage lately, and rightfully so. With the Coronavirus circulating, it is more important than ever to keep ourselves healthy and if we do happen to get infected; having a healthy, robust immune system will help us avoid ending up in the hospital. There are many interventions that can help immune function, some are well known like taking Vitamin C, but I am going to focus on some that are completely free. That’s right, you don’t even need Amazon to have access to these remedies.

1. Mindfulness Meditation. Studies show that after an eight- week meditation trial period participants had lower Nf-Kappa Beta. For those of you who haven’t been following the biochemis- try of disease, having high levels of this stuff is bad and low levels of it is good. The fact that these participants showed reductions means that their immune systems were working more effectively.

For starting a meditation practice, I would recommend using an app. Calm, Headspace and 10% Happier are all great options (See, still no Amazon necessary). For those who don’t want to use an app, you can start by finding a comfortable seat, somewhere you can rest your back but can hold your head up. Holding the head up is important because you want to stay awake during meditation. Once you are comfortable, start to focus on your breath, and let it flow as naturally as possible.

The first few times you do it, it will not feel natural but that

is OK. As you are focusing on the breath, notice if your thoughts start to wander. Your thoughts are going to wander, and if they don’t during your first meditation try, you should quit your job and become a monk. The key to mindfulness is noticing that you have started thinking (about food, sex, work, your favorite TV show), and just bring your attention back to your breath. That is the es- sence of mindfulness. You are supposed to think, it is like doing bicep curls for your brain. Each time you bring your thoughts back to your breath, that is a rep.

2. Sleep. It has been established that sleep is another impor- tant factor in keeping a healthy immune system. But did you know how important light is in getting good quality sleep? The answer: very important. Light regulates our circadian rhythm, which basi-

cally tells us when we should wake up and when we should go to sleep. Our immune system functions in this way as well. If we don’t sleep, the natural rhythms of our immune system don’t hap- pen. This results in an overactive immune system, which is just as bad as an underactive immune system.

I’m sure you’ve heard about the cytokine storms, which are

caused by an overactive immune system. Light modulates all of this. Getting good quality light in the morning (sunlight not artifi- cial light), and avoiding bad light a few hours before bed will help you sleep better and help your immune system stay in alignment. “Bad” light is the highly concentrated blue light that comes from our phones, TV screens, and even LED lights. This kind of light tells our bodies that it’s time to be awake, which throws our circadian rhythm off.

To combat this, the most important thing is to get sunlight first thing in the morning. Actually, you don’t even need sunlight, just light from outside. First thing in the morning, open up your window and let some of that natural light in. Even better, you can actually go outside (I know, crazy right). The simplest way to elimi- nate blue light at night is to turn off all of your screens a few hours before bedtime. For people who need to work or like to watch TV at night, there are a few options as well. An app called f.lux modu- lates your computer's light, making it darker and warmer, so you are being exposed to less blue light. If you want to go the extra mile, there is a company called Truedark, which makes red tinted glasses, blocking out all of the blue light and other junk light, and allows you to use the screens later without the strain.

3. Eat Your Veggies. You should avoid gluten, dairy, soy and processed food like the plague. These are all inflammatory foods and unless you are eating organic, the pesticides they come with add even more inflammation to the mix. These foods cause reac- tions in the body similar to that of a foreign invader. And who has to deal with that reaction? You guessed it, your immune system. The more taxed your immune system is from dealing with what you eat, the less resources you have to fight off the real invaders.

I want to focus on gluten especially. Gluten releases a protein called zonulin, which regulates the cells lining the gut. When 37

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