Take a break: The holiday season can be one of the more stressful times of the year
TIS THE season to be jolly… and if you know that good mood and laughter is great for your immune system, it is really the time to get jolly to avoid the winter sniffles.
Based on progressive research we find that, what we think about and what we feel, have far-ranging effects on our immune system. One important part of our immune system includes the natural killer cell or NK cells.
These are a type of lymphocyte and an important player in the war on invading bad microbes and mounting an attack against virus infected cells. NK cells are known to be protective against cancer. Some studies have documented that the less active your NK cells are, the more rapid cancer progression and the more it spreads throughout the body.
And guess what? These important NK cells actually respond to your mood. The most important emotion to boost these NK cells is happiness and the act of laughter. When you are feeling good, optimistic and happy your NK cells multiply exponentially! If you are a known pessimist, there is still hope for you.
A study done at the University of California showed that actors who spent time performing depressing movie scenes had a decreased immune responsiveness. On the other hand actors who performed roles where they were uplifting, had an increased immune responsiveness. So the moral of the story is something called, Fake it till you make it. Yes, even if you don't feel happy, at least act like you do! Your body's immune system will reward you for it.
Here is a good punch list to improve your mood and of course boost your NK cells: These include: watching funny movies, making music or listening to uplifting music, colouring in books, walking in the woods, going to a comedy show, spending time with good uplifting friends to something as simple as taking a soaking bath with relaxing herbs.
Nutritionally, one of the most important factors for NK cell count is vitamin B12, or cobalamin. It is a crucial cofactor to create all your blood cells, and research shows that people deficient in cobalamin have lower NK cell counts. Most of us consume plenty of foods that are great sources of B12, that is meats of all kinds. The problem is if you cannot digest and absorb it properly.
You need good digestion and high stomach acid levels to tear apart the meat fibers to get to the vitamin, as well as activate the intrinsic factor that is needed for its absorption. Aging, antacid use or just rushed meals are the culprits of low B12 levels.
So all in all, make sure you are relaxed and chew well when you are eating – even use digestive herbs or apple cider vinegar in water before meals to help. Be grateful for every blessing, and find something cheerful to activate your protective immune cells!
Create what the Nordic people call “hygge” – that peaceful bliss that the fireplace, a hot cuppa and a cuddle can bring this blistery Christmas season.
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