Keeping our immune systems strong and healthy is a common goal among many individuals, but it can be challenging to know where to begin. If you feel overwhelmed or do not know where to start, read the 4 tips below to boost your immune system through maintaining or improving your lifestyle habits.
- Choose nutrient rich foods. Incorporate a regular intake of fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains, lean protein, and healthful fats. Aim for more whole foods and less processed foods. Fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and great sources of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Fruits and vegetables are also great sources of antioxidants, which may protect cells against free radicals and help with certain diseases. Select a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to get in an assortment of nutrients. Whole grains are great sources of dietary fiber, which can be beneficial towards weight management, blood glucose control, and heart health. Lean protein helps our body to build and repair our muscle mass. Finally, healthful dietary fat helps to lower LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol. For more information, explore each food group through choosemyplate.gov. By choosing nutrient rich foods you provide your body with optimal nourishment which may aid towards immune health.
- Minimize your stress. One key strategy to minimize your stress is to remain optimistic by finding a positive in difficult situations. If there are scenarios that you cannot control, consider accepting what you can control and what you cannot control. It may even be beneficial to find a positive outlet such as meditation, a new safe and fun hobby, or talking with a trusted support professional or loved one. If you find that your time is limited resulting in increased stress, determine how you can manage your time more efficiently or even prioritize areas of most importance. It is ok to say no to tasks or requests by limiting your obligations in order to reduce your stress level. Exercise has also shown to be beneficial towards reducing your stress level.
- Exercise regularly. Regular and consistent activity is beneficial for overall health, such as physical and emotional health, which can aid towards an enhanced immune function. In fact, the Mayo Clinic explains how activity can improve our moods and increase endorphin production. Improved moods can help us in managing stress. Regular activity can help our physical health by helping manage our weight, cardiovascular health, blood sugar control, and some cancers. Finally, regular activity can help us to sleep better.
- Get adequate sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults between 18-64 years old sleep between 7-9 hours each night and older adults, 65 years or older, should aim for 7-8 hours a night. Be sure to listen to your body. Some nights you may require more sleep and other nights less sleep. Ensure adequate sleep by creating a supportive and relaxing sleep environment. Read more here from an article written by Laura Andromalos about why good sleep matters for good health.
Above includes general tips for improving your immune health, however if you are looking for COVID-19 tips for people with diabetes, look here at our Cecelia Health blog or here for how people with chronic illness can prepare for COVID-19. Both articles are written by Erin Rose Baldry.