How can you naturally build up your immunity?
Good Question: On Your Side Tonight’s Alex Giles took those questions to Novant Health’s Dr. Harriet Davis
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - We are asking about immunity.
Sally writes: “We are talking A LOT about the immunity found in vaccines. Why aren’t we talking about the steps we need to take to improve our immune systems in general? Vaccines only protect so much.”
“Can we talk about what we should be doing to take care of ourselves in addition to vaccines?”
On Your Side Tonight’s Alex Giles took those questions to Novant Health’s Dr. Harriet Davis.
Giles: How powerful is just the natural immunity? I have a feeling if you’re near somebody who’s sick, there’s a good chance you might get sick regardless, right? But how powerful can that natural immunity be?
Dr. Davis: “It’s pretty powerful, especially if you’re practicing some infection control measures like - even if you’re around them, you’re washing your hands, you’re not coughing or sneezing out into open space, but using your arm so your natural immunity is really good. So what are the main things you should be doing to boost your immunity?”
Dr. Davis: “No. 1, you know making sure that you are getting adequate rest, so at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night is important, trying to reduce your stress, so whether that’s through exercise, which is one of my favorite things, or whether that’s through meditation, whatever it may be, that’s important.”
“I don’t think a lot of people realize that sugar suppresses your immunity for some hours after it has been consumed. So, you know if you’re just eating cookies and watching, you know a movie or a television show and you’re around a bunch of people and someone sick, you’re actually suppressing your immunity for several hours while your body is processing that sugar. So, trying to eat more fruit, which is nature’s candy to me or nature sweets is going to be more important.”
“Women should have anywhere from two to three liters of water a day, just baseline. And then men should have between three or four liters of water a day. If you’re active, then you need to add to that based on kind of your levels of activity.”
Giles: I’m wondering, is there any hierarchy like, would you say it’s more important to get the correct amount of sleep than it is to make sure your diet is appropriate?
Dr. Davis: “So, sleep is very important because it’s really where our body does its checks and balances and also restores just about anything. So, I would say, and this is something that I always have to try to work on too, is sleep, so if that’s probably the weak or the vulnerable point for most people is their sleep. The other thing is what you put in your body, so I would say it is very important to pay attention to what your food is doing for you.”
Giles: “I know you mentioned like taking supplements for cold and flu season, and anything specifically you try to do in different times of the year just because it’s better for your body in that particular time of year.”
Dr. Davis: “Well, the one thing I always do is just increasing my supplementation during the time of the year we’re inside, or so you know as far as in the summer months when the days are longer, then those are days that obviously people tend to sleep less, so increasing my water intake.”
“That’s an all-year-round thing, but it seems like it’s easier to do that more so in the summer months. So, I think about getting dehydrated a little bit more in the summer.”
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