Five Ways to Boost Your Immunity
Your immune system helps your body maintain its normal functions. Due to recent concerns about COVID-19, it’s extra important to ensure your immune system is at its strongest. It all starts with living a healthy lifestyle—which doesn’t need to involve a major overhaul of your current way of living! Changing up your daily routine to help strengthen your immune system is easier when you take it one step at a time. Before you know it, healthy habits will become second nature.
Try adding one or a combination of the tips below to help boost your immunity:
- Eat a balanced diet. Nourishing your body can help you feel stronger and healthier, helping you avoid sickness. You can get started by including fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy. Lean proteins are built of amino acids and omega-3s, which are a great source of energy and can help you beat fatigue. You can also incorporate superfoods into your diet, such as garlic, ginger, yogurt, dark leafy greens and vitamin C–rich foods. These help your body produce white blood cells to fight off infections and rid you of cold and flu–causing germs and viruses. Eating foods with plenty of nutrients may also reduce symptoms of sickness and the common cold. Please note: Consult your doctor or health care professional before altering your diet.
- Stay hydrated. Most people don’t realize they aren’t drinking enough water throughout the day. Water does much more than keep your body hydrated. It also boosts your body’s essential functions, such as kidney filtration, regulation of blood pressure and body temperature, and production of hormones, to name just a few. If you don’t like plain water, try adding fresh fruit, such as berries, pineapple, lemons, oranges and cucumbers to give it some zest. While drinking water on a regular basis helps your immune system function properly, using a humidifier to get moisture in the air can also keep you healthy—especially because cold and flu viruses are most active in drier environments.
- Get quality sleep. It’s important to take steps to help yourself unwind from the day and get a good night’s sleep. Exhaustion can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to illness. Studies show eight hours of sleep every night is just as important to good health as a proper diet. Take a warm bath or shower, listen to soothing music or use essential oils before bed. Having a set sleeping schedule can make you calmer, improve your mood, help your metabolism and regulate your body’s production of melatonin (the hormone involved in the sleep-wake cycle).
- Exercise. Physical activity helps relieve stress, improve your mood and increase your energy. When you’re under a lot of stress, your body produces stress hormones that suppress your immune system. Physical activity releases endorphins, which help increase feelings of well-being and improve your energy level. Choose something you find interesting! You can do many exercises right from the comfort of your own home with little to no equipment. Any type of exercise is welcome, including low-impact aerobic activities such as walking and dancing, or even tai chi and yoga. You can even exercise by just taking a walk outside. For maximum benefits, try to get 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. If you’re new to exercise, check with your doctor first.
- Stay up-to-date on your vaccines and wash your hands frequently. With the COVID-19 pandemic still in full swing, it’s important now more than ever to ensure you’re helping prevent the spread of illnesses. Washing your hands, disinfecting commonly touched surfaces, getting your vaccines and avoiding people who are sick will help ensure your immune system doesn’t get compromised. Remember, the recommended way to wash your hands is to fully scrub them with soap and water for 20 seconds—covering the front and back of your hands, your wrists and under your fingernails—then drying them thoroughly. You can also use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. The annual flu shot vaccine helps your body produce antibodies that develop to strengthen your immune system, helping you fight the flu virus. Make sure you consult your doctor before getting the flu vaccine or other vaccines you may need this season.
Be the healthiest version of you by strengthening your immune system this season. Following these tips can help your body stay well and lead you to an overall happier, healthier life.
Want more health information? Visit www.meritain.com.
This article is for informational purposes only, and is not meant as medical advice.