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Feeling thankful can improve immune response. So don’t do it only at Thanksgiving.

Posted Nov 24 2009 10:01pm

About this time last year I put up a post about Thanksgiving and how feelings of appreciation and gratitude can make a measurable, positive difference in immune function. This was supported by some research from UC Davis, pilgrims Univ. of Utah and Kent State.

Being that this is an entirely new year with many new developments in the health, sociological, political and economic fronts, I’ve decided to…..repeat the same theme.  Heck, Miles Standish, the leader of the Pilgrims, lived to be 72 years old. That’s a really, really long life back in the mid 1600s. His immune health must have been out of this world, and I’m sure his Thanksgiving state of mind was a big part of it!

More findings about immune health and the attitude of appreciation or gratitude are on tap this year. HeartMath, a non-profit focusing on heart/mind connections for healthier living and longevity, has some interesting observations on IgA and IgE changes (these are certain  classes of immune cells)  after subjects are induced towards strong feelings of care and compassion. A Web MD feature takes a wide look at immune health and gratitude. “There are some very interesting studies linking optimism to better immune function,” says Lisa Aspinwall, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of Utah. In one, researchers comparing the immune systems of healthy, first-year law students under stress found that, by midterm, students characterized as optimistic (based on survey responses) maintained higher numbers of blood cells that protect the immune system, compared with their more pessimistic classmates.”

So happy Thanksgiving. And keep it up year round. Your immune system will be equally thankful.

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