Healthier, more energy, better immunity

The main purpose of your immune system is to protect your body from viruses and bacteria. Without it, they’d have free reign and you’d be constantly falling ill. Your immune system works by recognizing the difference between your body’s cells and alien cells, allowing it to destroy any that could be potentially harmful.

Highlights

People who follow a moderately energetic lifestyle, benefit most from starting (and sticking to) an exercise program

Medline.gov

There is robust support for the beneficial effects of a plant-based diet on metabolic measures in health and disease

Translational Psychiatry

Studies suggest that mindfulness may impact our hearts, brains, immune systems, and more

Greater Good, UCLA

This usually works well but can cause problems if your immune system wrongly classifies some of your own cells and attacks them instead. A robust and properly functioning immune system helps you go about daily life as you come into contact with germs and bugs from pets, other people, and your environment. Without a healthy immune system, you could pick up infections and infectious diseases more easily.

Exercise is good for boosting immunity, but, you should not overdo it. People who already exercise should not exercise more just to increase their immunity. Heavy, long-term exercise (such as marathon running and intense gym training) could actually cause harm.

Studies have shown that people who follow a moderately energetic lifestyle, benefit most from starting (and sticking to) an exercise program. A moderate program can consist of:

  • Bicycling with your children a few times a week
  • Taking daily 20 to 30-minute walks
  • Going to the gym every other day
  • Practicing yoga regularly

Another way to boost immunity, feel more energized, and become healthier in your physical body is to consume more fruits and vegetables. A study by Medawar et al titled “ The effects of plant-based diets on the body and the brain: a systematic review” in which researchers wanted to understand the effects of increasing fruit and vegetable intake and following a plant-based diet. Based on the systematic review of randomized clinical trials, there is overall robust support for the beneficial effects of a plant-based diet on metabolic measures in health and disease. 

But is mindfulness effective for our bodies as well as our minds?

Recently, researchers have been exploring this question—with some surprising results. While much of the early research on mindfulness relied on pilot studies with biased measures or limited groups of participants, more recent studies have been using less-biased physiological markers and randomly controlled experiments to get at the answer. Taken together, the studies suggest that mindfulness may impact our hearts, brains, immune systems, and more.

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