7 Summer Health Tips for Energy & Immunity
Though June often signals more time outdoors, bbqs, and time with friends, our bodies may still be susceptible to illness with the changing seasons. We would all love to assume that warmer temperatures would naturally slow the spread of all viruses, but there is much we still don’t know. What we do know, however, is that an optimally functioning body adjusts more easily to changes in temperature and humidity. Optimally functioning means that our mitochondria — the energy producers of our bodies — are working efficiently. This mitochondrial health gives us more energy and also keeps our systems running properly, including the immune system. Ultimately, healthy mitochondria boost our immunity and also give us more energy to live an active lifestyle without pain or illness.
Unhealthy Mitochondria, Higher Risk
On top of increased risk of infection, individuals with poor mitochondrial function may experience muscle weakness, fatigue, gastrointestinal symptoms, headaches, intellectual impairment, even neuropsychiatric symptoms like anxiety and depression.
Here are some ways you can maintain your immunity during the summer season and also reap the benefits of healthy mitochondria.
Avoid Toxic Foods
Avoid the empty calories of sugars, flours, and other processed foods. Our mitochondria process these poor quality foods quickly to generate energy, but at the expense of also creating free radicals and inflammation, which in excess, erode our bodies and ultimately make us weaker.
Eat Plenty of Summer Fruits and Vegetables
Summer is a wonderful opportunity to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables that are brightly colored. Diets rich in vitamins and minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants, healthy fats, proteins, and fiber will give our bodies the tools it needs to repair itself. The fiber in these foods can also help the body detox that byproducts that build up and slow down mitochondrial function.
Smoothies can also be a great way to include many energy boosting fruits and veggies and taste like a sweet summer treat.
Move your body. Exercise increases our immunity primarily via its role in reducing inflammation. Many studies also suggest that physical activity may flush out bacteria from our airways, circulate white blood cells more rapidly throughout the body to detect and fight off illness earlier, raise body temperature to prevent bacteria from growing, and lower illness reducing stress.
Exercise does improve cardiovascular function and increase muscle mass, both which support mitochondrial health and therefore providing a boost in energy.
Water helps to carry oxygen to your cells, which results in properly functioning systems. It also works in removing toxins from the body, so drinking more of it could help prevent toxins from building up and having a negative impact on your immune system. Be sure to drink plenty of water especially in warmer temperatures, when dehydration from sweat and activity are likely to deplete fluids.
Get Enough Sleep
When we sleep, the immune system releases cytokines proteins. Some of these protective cytokines needed to combat infection and inflammation decrease in production when we are sleep deprived. Infection-fighting antibodies and cells also decline when we don’t get enough sleep.
You must get enough sleep to boost your immunity. Although hot weather can hamper your sleep, make sure you sleep for 7- 8 hours as good sleep is necessary for your immune system to function properly. Also, ensure your room is properly ventilated.
Sunlight for a Boost in Mood, Vitamin D, and Quality of Sleep
We know that getting enough of Vitamin D helps the body protect itself from illness. The sun’s UV rays help your body make this nutrient, which is important for your bones, blood cells, and immune system. It also helps you take in and use certain minerals, like calcium and phosphorus. But sunlight also is known to elevate our mood, improve our quality of sleep, both of which can increase our immunity and boost energy. Dr. Anita follows a practice of giving her children sunlight the first 30 minutes upon waking to support their circadian rhythm and quality of sleep. Obviously, sunlight comes with a plethora of benefits beyond just Vitamin D.
Supplement if Necessary
Vitamin C has for decades been known to boost our immunity. But other micronutrients acetyl-L-carnitine, alpha-lioic acid, coenzyme Q10, N-acetylcysteine, NADH, D-ribose, resveratrol, and magnesium aspartate will also protect our mitochondria and therefore boost energy. Dr. Wang’s Wellness Plans include the appropriate testing to check your micronutrient levels and gut health to see what if any supplements may be needed for optimizing cell function.
The Bottom Line: Healthy Mitochondria for Healthy Immune System
When our mitochondria produce energy and is efficient, our entire body works well — especially the immune system. Mitochondria are living organisms that help us live, but some think our purpose is to support the mitochondria. In any case, the greater quantity and quality of mitochondria our bodies contain, the better we’ll feel, and the more robust our metabolism will be. This powerful mitochondrial force not only protects us better from illness and disease, but also provides better energy and focus, and greater ability to sustain high levels of activity without fatiguing.