The Key To Optimizing Your Immune System Might Actually Be Managing Stress & Anxiety
To the year 2020: You've been a real treat. This year has thrown our daily routines for a loop, with disruptions to the way we approach our nutrition, our relationships, and—of course—our immunity. And with cold and flu season right around the corner, prioritizing your immunity should be more top-of-mind than ever—but it's easy to forget that it's more than washing your hands and bundling up when it's cold out.
One of the most important (and overlooked) ways to maintain your immunity is actually managing your stress. We get it, though—telling you to simply "chill out" isn't exactly a solution here. So we teamed up with Healist to show you that, despite *gestures broadly at everything*, finding balance by dialing down the stress (and dialing up the immunity!) is well within everyone's reach.
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Immune Support Capsules
Keeping your immunity in check can be a complex process, but like all things, we try to utilize solutions that live at the intersection of science and nature—that's where Healist comes in. We had the chance to test drive their recently launched Immune Support Capsules, and we're already loving them (and not just because their stylish packaging looks great on our counters). What separates these capsules from the masses of immunity supplements out there is that they contain 20 milligrams of CBD per serving. The CBD offers a calming effect that you usually don't see in immunity support products. Why does this matter? Because immunity and stress are more inextricably linked than you realize. Here's why:
First: A quick reminder of what stress actually means.
Stress, put simply, is your body's reaction to extreme circumstances (ever heard of fight or flight?). Stress can even be a positive (called "eustress"), like the excitement of starting a new job, the thrill of moving to a new city, or the butterflies we all get before a first date.
But you're probably more familiar with distress, which is the feeling you get after the death of a loved one, the experience of a financial loss, or a fight with your partner. Eustress is a short-term response, and is (typically) a force of good, while distress is what causes long-term health issues—and it's the one we're here to talk about.
What this means for your immune system.
When stressed, your immune system's ability to fight off antigens is reduced, making you more susceptible to infections. Our bodies react to stressors by producing higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which in turn can have a negative impact on our lymphocytes and suppress the effectiveness of our immune system. This is totally fine when stressors are infrequent and your body has ample time to recover and return to equilibrium.
I think you see where this is going: These days, "infrequent stress" is a lofty goal at best, and our bodies are constantly pumping out cortisol. So while those short bursts of cortisol are helpful in the moment, too much stress over time (and thus too much cortisol) can do serious damage to your immune system.
What you can do about it.
By creating an immune support blend that also utilizes 20 milligrams of CBD to help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, solutions like Healist can help counter this effect—while also powering our immune system through clinically tested ingredients (think organically grown black elderberry + echinacea). This dream team of ingredients—antioxidants and flavonoids from the herbs, soothing effects of the CBD—is a surefire way to harness the synergistic power of being able to both control your stress AND optimize your immunity.
In a time when we're all feeling bogged down with fear, restlessness, or anxiety, the Immune Support Capsules from Healist are a welcome source of calm and balance. We tried them, and after taking one capsule in the middle of a deadline-packed day, we could feel the stress dialing down. Plus, knowing that we were supporting our all-important immune system gave us a sense of empowerment—we CAN do something to proactively fight off the sniffles. This combination of calm and in-control was exactly what we needed to regain focus and power through the day.
We love that these little capsules use natural ingredients like vitamin D3 (also important for immunity now that most of us are getting less of it in these work-from-home times) and vitamin C to things like elderberry and echinacea, which you should know by now are clinically proven ways to boost your immunity.
One final tip.
Beyond all of the chemical processes going on in your body, it's important not to forget that your lifestyle plays a huge role in all of this too. Stress and immunity are in a bit of a "chicken or the egg" situation, and it can be hard to pinpoint which came first. In short: neither (or both, depending on how you look at it).
Think of a time when you were feeling particularly worried or anxious—post-breakup, moving to a new city, or pulling an all-nighter to cram for a college final. For many of us, this may very well have been accompanied by feelings of congestion or flu-like symptoms (you know, the stuff associated with a weakened immunity). Why? Because left unchecked, stressors like these may cause you to withdraw from social interactions, which may, in turn, affect your body's ability to fight infections.
So, if your goal is to minimize stress, the tools to do so are right at your fingertips: Prioritize your relationships, focus on your immunity, and utilize solutions that both soothe your mind AND build your defenses at the same time.
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Immune Support Capsules
Matt Scheetz is a brand strategist at mindbodygreen. He’s a NASM-certified personal trainer, so he’s usually the person everyone comes to when they need a new workout routine. He’s usually at the gym before the sun rises, which makes sense since his favorite hobby is eating things that make it necessary to be at the gym before the sun rises.