During this crazy time that we are all living through, staying healthy has never been more important. Your immune system, although virtually invisible to the naked eye, is crucial for keeping you safe and healthy. Your immune system is what helps your body fight off disease-causing microorganisms.
What makes us "sick"? When your immune system cannot fight off the illness-causing microorganisms that you have come in contact with, you get sick. Bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc., can all make us sick. Having a strong immune system makes you less likely to get sick.
So how do I strengthen my immune system?
Eat healthy. Eat real food and take a multivitamin. Your body will absorb nutrients from real food best. The multivitamin should only be used to fill any gaps that your diet is not reaching. Real food is packed with nutrition, so if you're only getting your vitamins and minerals from supplements and smoothies, you're missing out on a lot of good nutrition, such as fiber and micronutrients.
What vitamins and minerals should I focus on? Think "ABCD and Z" a.k.a. vitamin A, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc. Include these in your diet, and your body will thank you. Some examples of foods rich with these nutrients are: carrots (vitamin A), leafy greens (B vitamins), broccoli (vitamin C), and cashews (zinc). Shoot for at least one vegetable per meal, and fruit as much as possible throughout the day.
Exercise. Exercise improves circulation throughout your entire body. Better circulation leads to better healing. Exercise is also proven to improve blood pressure and facilitate weight loss, which can also boost immune function.. Although gyms are closed, there are many ways to fit in physical activity and get your heart rate up throughout the day. Go for a half hour walk through your neighborhood. Walk up and down your staircase 10 times. Find an exercise video on YouTube. Whatever you do, get moving.
Relax. Mental stress always lead to physical stress through the mind-body connection we call psychoneuroimmuology. When your body is emotionally and physically stressed, your immune system is compromised. With all of the uncertainty and abnormality going on in the world, it is easy to feel anxious and unstable. Make time for yourself and make your mental health a priority. Start a journal, call a friend, discover a new recipe, meditation. Mental health and stress management are just as important as physical health.
Sleep. Sleep plays a major role in immune function. Make sure that you are getting a good (7.5-8.5 hours of high quality sleep) night's rest every night. Try to stick to a regular sleep schedule, even if you are not working or are working from home.
The bottom line here is that healthy bodies generally have healthier immune systems and are better equipped to deal with physical and mental stressors. There will always be things in our life that we cannot control, so start taking charge of the things that you can control. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. I can be reached anytime at [email protected].
Stay safe everyone,