Staying healthy is at the top of everyone’s mind during 2020 especially given the current state of the U.S in regards to the COVID-19 Global Pandemic. The unfortunate truth is that those who have pre-existing/underlying medical conditions, older adults, or are not in great health are at more risk when it comes to the severity of the effects of the virus. Following the CDC guidelines of washing your hands, social distancing, cloth face covers, and sanitizing your home/workspace are great ways to reduce the chance of contracting any virus, but what about boosting your immune system?
Experts at Harvard Health have determined that a “healthy immune system can defeat invading pathogens” such as bacteria and viruses. Achieving your weight loss goals is great, but here at Dr. Urshan Health and Weight Loss Center, we want to see our clients succeed at achieving overall health and wellness. Your immune system is your body’s defense against invaders, so why not strengthen it?
Here are 5 proven ways to boost your immune system today:
Maintain A Healthy Weight
You may be wondering how maintaining a healthy weight is linked to your immune system. A study by Australian scientists published on Science Daily shows that the truth is that excess body fat triggers pro-inflammatory cells to be produced at a more rapid rate in your body. These cells then travel around your body via blood damaging other cells and in turn increases the risk of infection and disease. The higher your body fat, the more “bad” cells your body will create, and instead of protecting your body, you will be actually attacking your body. One sure way to reduce inflammation is by introducing healthy bacteria into your gut. Probiotics are a great way to begin introducing these healthy bacteria.
Eat A Diet High In Fruit & Vegetables
These categories of food are your best friend when it comes to boosting your immune system. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with the alphabet of vitamins, full of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, magnesium, zinc, potassium, and the list can go on. Foods such as broccoli, kale, spinach, asparagus, carrots, green peas, brussel sprouts, apples, strawberries, watermelons, bananas, cranberries, pineapples, lemons, and blueberries are all great additions to your grocery list. Did you know that ounce for ounce a red bell pepper contains nearly 3 times the amount of vitamin C as a Florida orange! Ginger has also been used by ancient civilizations as a natural remedy to combat the flu and boost your immune system. P.S. You’ll also feel great walking out of the grocery store with a bag of rainbow-colored food.
Get Quality Sleep
The National Sleep Foundation suggests that “While more sleep won’t necessarily prevent you from getting sick, skimping on it could adversely affect your immune system, leaving you susceptible to a bad cold or case of the flu.” We’ve all heard that getting 8 hours of sleep is the ideal, but given our hectic lifestyle achieving this goal is more difficult than it sounds. Tactics such as not watching TV before bed, reducing caffeine intake throughout the day, ensuring that your bedroom is reserved for only sleeping, and limiting your alcohol intake before bed can all help with getting a restful night’s sleep. However, not everyone has the luxury of sleeping for that amount of time. If 8 hours of sleep isn’t achievable, try planning two 30-minute naps throughout the day, or a 20minute siesta for lunch.
Stress is part of everyday life and can vary from moment to moment and person to person. According to research conducted by the Current Opinion of Psychology, “several facets of the human immune system have been empirically associated with stress.” Stress is inevitable, but how we deal with stress can drastically reduce the chance of long-term effects and ultimately strengthen your immune system. There are numerous effective strategies to assist with reducing stress but we suggest starting small and doing at least one stress-reducing activity per day. Simple things such as meditating, stay hydrated, planning your day, managing your time, deep breathing exercises, planning some time for yourself, and most importantly having fun can assist you on your journey to wellness.
It’s A Lifestyle
Finally, coming to terms with the fact that it is a lifestyle and not a quick fix is key to achieving a gold standard immune system. The truth is that a massive shot of vitamins or a juice cleanse is not going to do the trick; it all comes down to mindset and consistency. Many have made the comparison between how health is handled in the East vs the West of the world and it can be said that in the West we don’t have Health Care we have Sick Care. Preventative methods combined with a consistent lifestyle is the best way to ensure that your immune system is at its best.