A strong immune system can help your body fight infection and keep you healthy. Last month we discussed some supplements that could help with this, and now it’s time to look at some lifestyle changes (pat yourself on the back if you’re already doing some of these).
Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables
80% of your immune system is in your gut. Often times when your gut is healthy, you’re healthy.
Cleveland Clinic recommends 4 foods that can have a positive impact on your immune system:
- Garlic: Allicin, which is found in garlic, can give a boost to your immune system. The benefits often come from eating raw garlic, but if this is not bearable, roasted garlic is also an option.
- Prebiotics: Jerusalem artichokes, green bananas or plantains, Jicama root and asparagus contain prebiotics, which can help keep your gut healthy.
- Vitamin C-rich Foods: Oranges, broccoli, kiwi or cantaloupe all provide great sources of vitamin C, which is known to be a great vitamin for boosting your immune system.
- Antioxidants: Berries, carrots and spinach (as well as other brightly colored foods) have antioxidants that protect you against oxidative stress which in turn can strengthen your immune system.
The British Journal of Sports Medicine found that those that exercised at least 5 days a week had half the risk of getting a cold than those who were more sedentary.
Finding ways to stay active could be as simple as doing some at-home exercises or any activity you enjoy. Pick something active you like to do and have fun with it. This often yields better results than suddenly starting a rigorous exercise schedule that you may abandon.
Get adequate sleep
There’s only so much time in a day which in turn can make getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night difficult for some of us. Prioritize sleep, particularly during the current health crisis. Plan accordingly to set aside enough time for sleeping each night.
Dr. Halstrom also has discussed the difference between “sleep” and “sleep opportunity.” If you want to get 8 hours of sleep, you will need to plan for more than 8 hours in bed as your “sleep opportunity” time frame will need to account for the time it takes for you to fall asleep.
Stress affects everyone differently, making it difficult to define. However, we do know that the mind can have a dramatic impact on how the body reacts. A staggering 77% of us experience physical complications caused by stress.
Find ways to de-stress and take yourself out of stressful situations. How you do this will vary depending on what works best for you.
We’re wishing you the best and hope you continue to stay healthy! Use healthy eating, exercise, sleep, and decreased stress as your tools to keep yourself healthy. Wearing a mask in public can be a great source of protection and peace of mind for you.