An immune boost when you’re sick can be invaluable, but cultivating good health (especially as we age) has to be a long-term strategy. The analogy of wanting to look fit works really well here—working out everyday gives great results. While you can cheat a little for an important event (like doing a few push-ups so your arms look tighter) there’s only so much last-minute effort can hide—and the same thing goes for other aspects of health!
First, cultivate a good probiotic colony. Bacteria make up more of our body than our own cells do—so make sure they’re good, health supporting bacteria.
Just like with the analogy about working out, a last-minute boost can be helpful, but isn’t a long-term strategy. For instance, if you think you ate something iffy, a big boost of probiotics might settle your stomach. But it’s not the same thing as making sure you’re supporting those colonies with a healthy diet of prebiotics (vegetables, more or less) and probiotics (fermented foods like yogurt, or a supplement).
That long-term cultivation can really pay off: people who eat probiotics regularly are less likely to have bad-bacteria strains like staph (which can cause health complications if your immune system is ever weakened). Cultivating good bacteria also plays a huge role in all aspects of our health, at least if the current trend in research is to be believed. Weight, mood, heart health, longevity, a lot seems to be tied to what kind of bacterial colony makes us up!
Then there’s your circadian rhythms. Eating, sleeping, exercising. When you give up sleep to get a project done, you feel tired even after catching up with an extra long night—and it’s because you’ve trained your body to feel short-changed! That long night is good for you, but you won’t feel the same benefits you get as if you always got enough sleep. Cultivating good habits supports your immune system so it’s at its strongest when you need it (in other words, don’t run yourself down then expect your body to catch it all up at once when you get sick!).
And finally, keep the extra support going every day. A boost of immune support, mind support, sleep support, or needed nutrients can be great in a pinch, but just like all the above examples, having them consistently (even when you’re healthy) helps cultivate an all around stronger immune system.
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