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    Give Your Immune System A Bulletproof Makeover

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    by Sandra Chabot Weber, Holistic Nutritionist

    As the seasons change, so do our habits. Come fall and winter we start spending less time outdoors, schedules get busier, and even though Mother Earth's days become shorter, ours remain the same. Prevention is the best way to support your body and to create a healthy foundation as this natural shift occurs. A huge part of what sets you up for wellness success is to strengthen your immune system - before you get sick.

    It's important to remember that your immune system is your first line of defense and its primary purpose is to protect the body against infection. Maintaining a strong immune system truly requires a holistic approach taking into account the following factors: a positive mindset, stress management, nutrition, a health-promoting lifestyle, and supportive supplementation.

    While external influences will always be there and certainly have an impact on your health, you have the capacity to give your body what it needs to remain balanced and in a state of vitality. Simple lifestyle practices can establish a much healthier and happier immune system.

    Here's how to bulletproof your immunity and stay vibrant all season long:

    Reduce sugar intake

    Sugar is one of the most immune depressing substances out there. This is because sugar hinders the capacity for your white blood cells to destroy invaders. Furthermore, sugar demineralizes the body and can set off inflammation.

    Progressive Tip: Limit consumption of sugary foods, alcohol, and refined carbohydrates especially if you feel a cold coming on.

    Make sleep a priority

    Getting sufficient high quality sleep is crucial to staying well. Sleep deprivation can leave both your body and mind in a place of higher susceptibility to catching a bug. In fact, it's been shown that sleep deprivation has the same type of effect on your immune system shown during exposure to stress. 1

    Progressive Tip: Work on creating a calming bedtime routine with ample time to decompress and wind down from your day. 

    Slow down  

    Stress isn't something that only affects your mental wellness; it also changes your body's physiology. People who are chronically stressed often experience frequent infections. Slowing down your pace puts your body into rest and digest mode, the ideal state for your body to be in for bulletproof immunity.

    Progressive Tip: Some great techniques for slowing down include meditation, yoga, deep breathing, journaling, and spending time outdoors in nature.

    Up your Vitamin C intake

    Vitamin C stimulates immune function and serves as an overall immune booster. Because it gets used up in the body within four hours, it's best to have divided doses throughout the day to reach your daily requirements efficiently. The Progressive Vitamin C Complex is formulated for optimal absorption and maximum antioxidant protection. It features other key nutrients that work synergistically with Vitamin C to further boost its powerful effects.

    Progressive Tip: Supplementing with Vitamin C allows you to reach more therapeutic levels that can ultimately help protect you from the common cold. 

    Balance your gut

    ''Probiotic'' has become a huge buzzword lately as more and more research is coming out highlighting the numerous benefits of rebalancing one's gut bacteria. The bacteria living in your intestines, also known as your gut biome, are key players when it comes to your well-being. Research is showing that probiotics can actually enhance the immune response.2 Opt for a human strain high potency probiotic that promotes healthy flora throughout the entire digestive tract.  

    Progressive Tip: Health truly begins in the gut and balancing your gut biome can help bring more balance to the rest of your body as well.

     

    References: 

    1. http://www.aasmnet.org/articles.aspx?id=3196
    1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24499072