I’d like to continue summarizing Dr. Uche Odiatu’s article about how to fortify your body to support a healthier immune system. Even though Dr Odiatu wrote this article for fellow dentists, I thought it valuable for our patients, as we head into cold and flu season. You can read the first post here.
“It is only while you’re sleeping that your body launches into regeneration mode. Muscles relax, heart rate lowers and the kidneys detoxify. 50 million cells are renewed per second as the unsung hero of your immune system - your lymphatic system disposes of damaged cells.”1
Did you know the average amount of sleep per night for most Americans is 6.8 hours and that only 34% of Americans get more than eight hours per night.2 Sleep is important and like you, I need to get to bed at a regular hour. This insures my body rebuilds and I’m ready for the new day. It also prepares me for long days in the operatory which starves me of sunlight and in close contact with patients.
Remember, people are three times as likely to catch a cold when they average less than seven hours of sleep per night according to a BBC study.
Now, let’s talk about hydration. According to Dr. Odiatu, “Water is a major player in lymph production and helps keep this vital part of your immune system functioning well.”3 If you wait till you are thirsty, you are too late.
Our body naturally loses about eight cups of water per day. Water rids our body of wastes, keeps our temperature normal, lubricates joints and protects sensitive body tissue.
The good news is we are hydrating more. And we are drinking more water and less soda. In fact, “Americans are down to 44 gallons of soda per year and up to 58 gallons of water.”4 Which is good because a typical 12 oz can of caffeinated soda contains 45 mg of caffeine. And caffeine makes dehydration worse by increasing urine production. Not to mention the extra calories from sugar and the effect of the acid on your teeth. So, if you drink soda, I recommend you drink an extra cup of water for every can of soda pop you drink.
Water and sleep are two more keys to a solid immune system. You can take supplements, Vitamin C and Echinacea to boost your immune system but you still need to average eight hours or more of sleep and stay hydrated to maintain a healthy immune system
So, as we head into cold and flu season I’m going to focus on getting eight hour of sleep and drinking eight or more cups of water per day.
1 Idea and Discovery Magazine, April 2016
3TPD Magazine pps 60-62
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