How to Boost Your Immune System
With the current COVID-19 situation sweeping our nation, a focus on immune system health has become more critical than ever.
People with compromised immune systems, like many of the elderly population, have been deemed more at risk than other demographics. This is consistent with other illnesses such an influenza, however the nature of the COVID-19 strain is even more debilitating to those who have weaker immunities.
Choose a Healthy Lifestyle
One of the best ways to bolster your immune system is to live a healthy lifestyle. That includes good nutrition, exercise and movement, getting adequate sleep and reducing stress. All of those things seem easy enough, but can often be elusive given the nature of our busy lives. With all the responsibilities we each have to our families and our work, often taking care of ourselves becomes a low priority.
Citrus Fruits: Our bodies need Vitamin C on a daily basis because we do not naturally produce it or have the ability to store it. Oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, lemons, etc. all contain Vitamin C. It is a critical component in fighting infections because it helps with the production of white blood cells.
Greens: Spinach is a great immunity boosting food. Like citrus fruits, it is high in Vitamin C, but also has beta carotene and lot of antioxidants which help the immune system increase its infection-fighting power. Eating spinach (and other greens like broccoli) is most effective when eaten raw or cooked very little. This helps the food retain its nutrients.
Turmeric: This spice is popular in curry dishes and has been used for hundreds of years as an anti-inflammatory. It has been found to allieve pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Chicken: Poultry foods, like chicken and turkey contain high amounts of Vitamin B-6 which is a key player in multiple chemical reactions that happen in our bodies. B-6 is also needed to form new, healthy red blood cells that we need to thrive and stay healthy.
Yogurt: The "active and live cultures" found in yogurt (especially Greek yogurt) may stimulate your immune system to help fight infections and diseases. Look for brands that also contain Vitamin D as it helps regulate the immune system and ha the ability to boost the body's natural defenses.
Other Ways to Boost Immunity
Other important healthy lifestyle tips that will keep your immune system in tip-top shape include:
Stay hydrated. Avoid drinking too much caffeine or alcohol as these can have detrimental effects on the body.
Get some sleep! While scientists don't fully understand how sleep specifically affects the immune system, what we do know is that when we are not well rested we have a higher risk of becoming ill.
Keep moving! Exercise and movement is vital to our overall health and wellness. Daily movement of any kind should be incorporated into your routine. Not only will your brain produce natural, feel-good endorphins, but the movement will help with your ability to sleep at night.
Reduce stress. This is always easier said than done! Situations during this COVID situation feel very out of control for many people. This can increase stress levels which can have a trickle down effect on how we eat, our ability to sleep and our motivation to keep our bodies moving. Everyone has different ways they deal with stressful situations. In times like this, harnessing those activities or habits that can help you feel more in control and reduce stress are particularly important.
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