Stress and the Immune System

The immune system is one of the largest and most widespread organ systems throughout your body, inextricably tied into almost all other processes in your body, central to keeping you alive. Hundreds of tiny organs and a few bigger ones, a network of vessels and tissues, billions of cells with dozens of specialisations and quintillions of free floating proteins.

The immune system, however, is not a shield or a weapon that can be charged or made stronger, it is more like a dance of a complex dance of a billion of parts that needs to be in balance and working optimally.

The most important thing you can do to have a healthy immune system is eat a diet that provides you with all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs.  In addition to eating a healthy diet, the positive health effects of regular exercise are well known. In essence, the best thing you can do to boost your immune system is to have a healthy lifestyle.

BUT there is something very important that one should do to prevent damage.  Psychological stress has significant negative consequences for the immune system, and many people are actually suppressing their immune system without even being aware of it.

In recent years a pretty strong connection has been made between chronic stress and a range of diseases and conditions. In general, chronic stress seems to disrupt the ability of the body to shut down inflammation which is linked to a higher risk for numerous diseases from  cancer to diabetes, heart and autoimmune diseases.

So a very powerful thing we can all do to boost our immune system is to try to eliminate the stressors in our life and to take care of our mental health.  Living a happy and fulfilled life with less stress goes a long way to provide real health benefits.

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