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4 Ways Boosting Your Immunity Extends Your Life

4 Ways Boosting Your Immunity Extends Your Life

Ever wonder why you always get the sniffles at least once every winter, but your one friend doesn’t even sneeze? Is it really only your genes that decide how great your immunity is? Well, think again! Scientists have found there are natural things you can do to boost your immunity.

Strengthening your immune system doesn’t just mean you can ward off the flu better, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that boosting your immunity lengthens your life too! They found that your immune system protects your body from all kinds of stressors, which can cause your cells to age. Researchers noted that older people with strong immune systems live longer, and not just because they can fight off infections better. It turns out that your immune system helps neutralize harmful free radicals in your body, which have been shown to cause aging and chronic diseases.

Here are four ways you can boost your immunity naturally:

1. Drink Aloe Vera Juice

If you’re vegan or vegetarian, you might not be getting your daily vitamin B12 from your diet. Major sources of B12 include meat, fish, and cheese. Vegetables and nuts aren’t on the list. In fact, spinach has no B12 at all!

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Why is this important? Researchers found that vitamin B12 is a critical player in maintaining a healthy immune system. Patients given B12 experienced a boost in the number of their immune cells. Their NK cell activity was significantly increased too. Why is that so good? Among other vital functions, NK cells are your immune system’s major cancer-killing cells.

Aloe vera is one of the few produces that has a significant amount of B12. It also has vitamins A, E, and C, which all support your immune system. These vitamins also act as antioxidants that help prevent free radicals from causing premature aging and damaging your body.

Does it work? According to SFGate, aloe vera supports your immune system directly by helping cleanse your body of toxins and bad microbes. They say it also regulates your immune system by helping prevent and alleviate hyperactive allergic reactions and autoimmune conditions, like arthritis.

How can you get your aloe vera? You can drink aloe vera juice or cut pieces of the raw plant’s inner stalk and mix it with your salad. Drinking aloe vera juice also helps keep your skin looking young, and when it passes your lips, can alleviate any soreness if your lips are sunburned or inflamed. Be careful not to eat or drink too much aloe vera because it has a strong laxative effect.

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2. Exercise Regularly

Exercising everyday isn’t just good for your waistline and heart, it boosts your immunity too! Medline Plus says that moving your body may help alleviate and prevent colds by flushing out pathogens from your airways. Exercising boosts your circulation, which may also boost your immune cells’ activity since they’re moving around faster and can catch possible pathogens faster too.

But don’t exercise too much! Researchers found that moderate exercise (like walking a mile everyday or one minute of high intensity interval training) protects and supports your immune system. But they warn that repeated strenuous exercise weakens your immune system. So don’t overdo it or you’ll end up hurting your immunity, instead of strengthening it.

3. Stop Smoking or Taking Nicotine

You know smoking can cause cancer. In fact, it causes between 80 to 90 percent of lung cancer deaths – that means only 10 percent of people who die of lung cancer aren’t smokers.

But cancer isn’t the only way smoking can shorten your life. Researchers found that nicotine suppresses your immune system by interfering with the communication between your immune cells. It also lowers your T-cell count, which weakens your overall immunity. It also weakens your macrophage response, which is your first line of defense against tuberculosis. In fact, there are increased tuberculosis infections among people routinely exposed to nicotine. As if these weren’t enough, nicotine also slows your body’s ability to heal wounds.

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Stop smoking or using nicotine products and you’ll stop weakening your immunity and live longer. Nicotine is very addictive, and it’s understandable that you can’t suddenly go cold turkey. In fact, the Mayo Clinic states that only 5 percent of smokers trying to quit succeed when they don’t get help. But you can boost your success by getting drug addiction help with qualified professionals.

Some smokers need the tactile sensations of inhaling and holding a cigarette. If this is your challenge, you can try electronic cigarettes. E-cigs are shaped like cigarettes and deliver vapor to your lungs when you puff on them. But unlike regular cigarettes, e-cigs only deliver pure nicotine without the thousands of carcinogens. The NIH found that e-cigs are a safe method smokers can use to quit smoking. The FDA is also making sure they’re safe to use by increasing e-cig regulations and even creating an online e-cig reporting tool to stop malfunctioning or low quality products in their tracks. But remember that nicotine still suppresses your immune system – even if e-cigs are a great step down from regular cigarettes, they’re still shortening your life. You should only use them as a temporary crutch to help you quit permanently.

4. Do Intermittent Fasting

Have you ever skipped meals? There’s a whole methodology behind it called intermittent fasting. You don’t have to skip a specific meal, you can also intermittently fast by eating during specific intervals, like choosing to eat only every eight hours. In fact, Marilyn Monroe practiced intermittent fasting too by routinely skipping lunch.

But is it good for you? Yes, researchers found intermittently starving yourself lowers your blood pressure and overall inflammation, which are both risk factors for cancer and cardiovascular disease. It also lowers the levels of harmful free radicals in your system, which means it helps extend your life!

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It also boosts your immunity by fine-tuning your immune cells. Researchers found that when your body is in survival mode when you’re fasting, it starts recycling damaged and dead immune cells to use as energy and building blocks. Then the next time you eat, your body quickly makes new, super efficient immune cells. The result is a rebooted, supercharged immune system. If you practice intermittent fasting routinely, you sharpen your immune system because most of your immune cells will always be at their best to protect you from toxins and harmful microbes.

Your immune system isn’t just as strong as your genes dictate. You can ramp up your immunity by making healthy, cost-free lifestyle changes, like quitting smoking and exercising everyday. Boosting your immunity not only means you’ll get sick less, but it can add years to your life too!

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Last Updated on December 4, 2020

17 Ideas to Get Motivated to Lose Weight Now

17 Ideas to Get Motivated to Lose Weight Now

You made it here – the decision to lose weight! This means that mindfulness is kicking in. This is important for motivation, weight loss, and health. Being healthy and active is necessary!

Our bodies were meant to move, not be sedentary. For weight loss, the success of your journey is based on your ability to stay motivated throughout.

Motivation is easy at first, but holding on to it may breed a little challenge. Please know that this is normal. You will have days where motivation is at its all-time high and other days where motivation is at an all-time low.

In this article, we’ll look into some of the best ideas on how to get motivated to lose weight and why we lose motivation easily along the weight loss journey.

Motivation and Inspiration for Losing Weight

There are varied reasons for wanting to lose weight. The one common factor: everyone needs motivation.

One piece of advice:

Motivation comes a little easier when you determine the reason for wanting to lose weight.

What is/are your motivating factors for losing weight? It is important to understand your “why”, no matter how small.

Losing weight, even just 5% of your weight can help:

  • Improve blood sugar
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Reduce joint pain
  • Reduce the risk of certain cancers

As someone who has been through this journey, I can tell you that it will require constant recharges of motivation.

I did it the old-fashioned way, diet, and exercise. It took me almost 3 years to achieve 85 pounds lost. That may seem like a really long time. However, keep in mind that healthy weight loss averages 1-2 pounds per week.

    Motivation is really strong in the beginning, but it starts to shift when the results aren’t immediate. The results take time, and your motivation is the key to get you there.

    Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.

    Common Weight Loss Motivation Struggles

    Lack of motivation is common for many reasons. Motivation can trigger a number of emotions, making it hard to get motivated.

    Some of the common motivation struggles that people face are:

    1. Unsupportive Social Environment

    Your social environment is your physical and social setting (home, family, friends, etc.). Many don’t realize the importance and influence of a social environment.

    If you are trying to get on the right track and hear something like “oh, you don’t need to do that, let’s go out and get ice cream”, your motivation to do the right thing is will likely be impacted.

    2. Lots of Hard Work for Slow Results

    When you work out 5 times a week and carefully count your calories, naturally you want to see more than 2 pounds gone. Please keep in mind that normal and healthy weight loss averages 2 pounds per week – about 3500 calories burned means one pound lost.

    3. Injuries

    Many suffer from injuries that reduce their ability to exercise. However, you should also consider low impact exercises and exercise modifications.

    Additionally, discussing approved workouts with your doctor is helpful. Exercise can still happen with an injury, but don’t lose motivation!

    4. Cravings

    You will have cravings, and that’s ok! Even the healthiest people have cravings. When cravings strike, be mindful of the craving and the portion.

    Craving cookies? Bake them at home so that you can modify and control the recipe for your goal.

    5. Healthy Food Is Expensive

    There is a bit of truth and a bit of a lie here. Healthy food can be a bit expensive. However, if you eat more of a plant-based diet (fruits, vegetables, grains, etc.), the costs won’t skyrocket.

    6. Lack of Time for Working Out

    If losing weight is really what you are set out to accomplish, then you have to find some time. You have to schedule and coordinate your day to day to include working out.

    For days that you simply can’t, make choices that force a little more movement. Park at the back of the parking lot and take the longer path to the store, take the stairs instead of the elevator, do squats while cooking, and/or do sit-ups during commercial breaks.

    The Importance of Mindfulness for Motivation and Weight Loss

    Be honest with yourself, how many times have you eaten something without actually thinking about what you were feeding yourself?

    Mindfulness plays an important role in our everyday decisions, especially the decisions regarding our health. There are many mindfulness considerations that will help motivate you to lose weight.

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    In the past, we were taught what to eat and what not to eat. However, there was no guidance on how to select and consume, which ultimately contributed to weight issues.

    In general, people have a strong misconception about food and its purpose in our lives and health. This creates unhealthy habits that contribute to weight gain.

    The importance of mindfulness in this journey is crucial to your weight loss success. That’s why mindfulness is essential in knowing how to get motivated to lose weight.

    Take a look at this article to learn more about mindful eating: The Best Benefits of Mindful Eating for Weight Loss and How to Start Now.

    17 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Lose Weight

    1. Love and Appreciation

    Love inspires motivation and motivation feeds appreciation.

    Loving yourself motivates you to appreciate our body and all the things that it can do. Appreciation for the body improves body image and appreciation for body image leads to weight loss motivation.

    2. Mindfulness

    As discussed above, mindfulness is the key to success. Being mindful ensures that you are aware of your “why”, the reason for starting your weight loss journey, and are dedicated to making good choices that support your ultimate goal.

    Mindfulness also keeps you aware throughout the process: food choices, social settings, and process/progress.

    3. Be Committed

    Your motivation for weight loss will suffer if you are not committed. Making a public commitment will help hold you accountable and enhance motivation.

    4. Get a Mentor or Accountability Partner

    Having a mentor and/or an accountability partner will help with maintaining your motivation. Having someone that inspires you and believes in you will also boost your motivation.

    5. Animals Help Motivate

    Getting a dog will increase movement because dogs have to go outside and play. A dog can be an accountability partner too! Not only will they make you move, but they are also awesome support beings.

    6. Goal Setting

    You know your “why” and now you’re ready to get started. What are your goals? Are they realistic?

    As discussed above, an average of 2 pounds a week is normal and healthy weight loss. Setting goals like “I plan on losing 15 pounds in a week” will result in a lack of motivation at the end of the week.

    7. Pace Yourself

    The weight loss journey is a lifestyle transformation journey. This doesn’t happen within a few days.

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    Habits take time to break. Don’t lose hope!

    8. Perfection Doesn’t Exist and Setbacks Will Happen

    Don’t be so hard on yourself. Be patient and love yourself through this process. This isn’t an easy journey, so expect a few setbacks as you transition and get into the groove.

    9. Don’t Set Your Eyes on the End, Set Them on Each Day

    What I mean is, focus on the journey, not the end goal.

    If you are trying to lose 50 pounds, focusing on that number will motivate you initially, but it will cause a lack of motivation later due to being overwhelmed about the length of time.

    Instead, focus on your daily goals.

    10. Incorporate a Plan That Fits Your Daily Life

    Everyone has different responsibilities and different reasons for losing weight. One plan doesn’t work for everyone.

    Build your own plan – one that you can fit into your everyday life.

    Mindfulness is key here and helps keep you motivated. Being mindful of your day and incorporating a weight loss plan is important.

    A few suggestions:

    • Reduce the number of calories you eat. Keep a food journal and track everything.
    • Make smaller plates with smaller portions. Portion control is important.
    • Reduce your unhealthy snack and sugar intake. Sugar can breed disaster.
    • Stay away from deep-fried/fried foods.
    • Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables.

    11. Don’t Weigh Yourself Everyday

    This is a huge NO. Weighing in once a week and keeping track of progress is what you need. Weighing yourself once a day is one of the fastest ways to lose motivation.

    Remember, healthy weight loss averages 2 pounds per week.

    12. Don’t Focus 100% on the Scale

    The scale is just one way to track progression and even in that, special considerations must be given. You may have gotten on the scale 2 weeks ago and have lost 15 pounds, but this week you may gain 5 pounds.

    If you turned fat into muscle, this will happen, so don’t lose motivation! This is a good thing. It means that you are burning fat and building muscle, and building muscle means toning up.

    13. Celebrate and Reward Yourself

    When you reach a goal, celebrate! Share your success with your social environment.

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    Being happy and celebrating your achievement enhances motivation.

    14. Hire a Trainer

    It is okay to hire a professional trainer to help motivate and coach you toward your weight loss goal. The trainer doesn’t have to be a workout trainer. You can consider a dietician or therapist.

    15. Use Music

    Music is a motivation booster for sure! Music will help you move and groove, taking the focus off of the act and allowing happy to kick in and motivate you.

    Research conducted by the North American Association for the Study of Obesity found that those who listened to music while exercising were more likely to stick with it than those who didn’t.

    16. Keep Those Jeans

    You may have a pair of jeans that you want to get back into. Keep them! Let them motivate you.

    17. Take Pictures and Document Your Progress

    Your body will change as your eating habits and exercise habits change. Take a picture at the start and consider a photo every 30 to 60 days. Seeing your progress will help keep you motivated.

    How to Get Motivated to Lose Weight When Motivation is Lost

    You may find yourself 100% motivated in the beginning and less motivated after a few weeks of trying.

    Keep in mind that habits generally take 21 days to break. If you find yourself with 0 motivation after having been 100% motivated before, try these:

    • Go back to your why. Why did you start? What was the purpose?
    • Try resetting your goal. Maybe your initial goal was a little too aggressive. It’s okay to adjust and do what works for you.
    • Talk to a coach or trainer. It is a good idea to discuss with struggles with professionals. Many will offer free insight and advice for getting started and staying on track.
    • Reconsider an accountability partner and/or group. Being around like-minded people on your journey can help so much with motivation.
    • Find out if working out is the problem. Working out alone can be a bit boring. Have you considered a group fitness class? This goes back to being around like-minded people who are sharing your journey.
    • Get more motivational messages. Words and phrases of affirmation are so important. Loving yourself and being patient with yourself is at the core of success for this journey. How about waking up each day to a motivational message that you wrote for yourself?
    • Stop comparing yourself to others. Weight loss reasons, weight loss motivation, and weight loss journeys are different for everyone. Focusing on the journey of others takes you away from your goals and accomplishments. Don’t compare your progress with anyone else’s. This is your journey and you’ll do great!

    The Bottom Line

    It took me almost 3 years to lose 85 pounds. I have kept my current weight for over 5 years and counting. This guide on how to get motivated to lose weight is only here to help you. It’s still up to you whether you will follow them or not.

    Mindfulness and lifestyle transformations really are key for keeping it off. Your journey will make you strong, educate you, and transform you.

    Your motivation is within. Find your “why”, hang on to it, be patient, love yourself, and you will find success at the end of the journey.

    More Tips on How to Get Motivated to Lose Weight

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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