KEEP YOUR BODY STRONG
A healthy immune system helps your body defend against illnesses. But it needs your help to fight off viruses that cause colds and the flu. Here are some tips to help your body stay strong.
These aren’t guaranteed to prevent you from contracting an illness, but they will help you support your immune system. Of course, always consult your doctor for the best advice.
Get a good night’s sleep
Make getting seven to eight hours a night of sleep a priority. Inadequate or poor-quality sleep is linked to a higher predisposition to sickness, according to healthline.com. When we sleep, our immune system releases proteins which help promote sleep. The Mayo Clinic said certain proteins called cytokines need to increase when you have an infection, but lack of sleep may decrease production of those protective proteins. Help your body to stay healthy by catching some Z’s.
Moderate exercise can improve your immune system. By exercising regularly, you can help reduce inflammation and help immune cells regenerate regularly, according to the National Library of Medicine. It doesn’t take much activity to keep your body on a healthy track. Brisk walking, jogging or light hiking is recommended.
Eat fruits and vegetables
A tenet to increasing your immunity is eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. Those foods help reduce inflammation, noted healthline.com. Broccoli is rich in antioxidants, including vitamins A, C, and E, according to the U.S. News & World Report. Red bell peppers, spinach, garlic and shellfish (those high in zinc) are recommended.
Citrus fruits can support your immune system, especially lemons, oranges and grapefruit.
Try to minimize stress
This might be easier said than done, but lessening your stress and anxiety is important to having a healthy lifestyle. Stress leads to inflammation, and psychological stress has been found to suppress the immune response in children, according to www.healthline.com. The American Psychological Association said people who are older or are already sick are prone to stress-related immune changes.
Manage your stress with exercise, meditation, listening to music or making sure to laugh each day. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found adults 50 and older who exercised daily or performed mindfulness meditation were less likely to get a respiratory infection.
Find the right vitamins
There isn’t a cure-all vitamin or supplement, but Vitamin C can help reduce the duration of colds and has been shown to help improve resistance to respiratory infections, according to Scientific American. Vitamin D deficiency may increase your chances of getting sick, the National Institutes of Health said.
The Cleveland Clinic said including elderberry, which contain antioxidants, as part of a healthy diet with vitamins B6 and E can help support the immune system. Vitamin E is a “power” antioxidant, the Cleveland Clinic said, that helps the body fight off infection.
Zinc also can give your system a boost. The Mayo Clinic said it helps your immune system and also aids in healing wounds.
Drinking water is essential to your overall health. Dehydration can lead to an increased susceptibility to illness, healthline. com said. Support your immune system by staying hydrated. The Institute of Medicine recommends that men drink about 3.7 liters of fluid per day and women drink about 2.7 liters of fluid per day.
Not in the habit of drinking water? Make drinking a glass of water in the morning part of a daily routine, and consider snacking on water-rich foods, such as strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, tomatoes and oranges.