Maintaining a healthy immune system is essential for overall wellness. The immune system allows us to feel our best! It is the body’s defense against infections, helping attack bacteria and viruses to keep us healthy. Generally the immune system does an incredible job of protecting us against disease, but sometimes it needs some help. That’s when these healthy strategies come into place.
1. Exercise regularly
Exercise may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways, reducing the risk of getting a cold, flu, or other illness. Physical activity also slows down the release of stress hormones, which may protect against illness. It is important to incorporate at least 30 minutes of physical activity into your daily routine. This can include:
- Going for a walk or run
- Working out at the gym
- Playing a sport
2. Get adequate sleep
Sleep plays an important role when it comes to your health, such as managing weight, increasing productivity and concentration, and strengthening the immune system. Poor sleep or being sleep deprived can make you vulnerable to viruses and bacteria. While sleep varies from person to person, the CDC recommends that most adults sleep 8-10 hours per day. Here are a few tips to improve your sleep:
- Stick to a sleep schedule
- Be more active throughout the day
- Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual
3. Eat healthy
Good nutrition is essential to a strong immune system. Eating healthy and whole foods are a good way to ensure that you’re getting key vitamins and nutrients in your diet. Try including these into your diet to boost your immune system:
- Protein helps fight viral and bacterial infections in the body. Seafood, lean meat, poultry, eggs, beans, and nuts are great protein sources.
- Vitamin A helps regulate the immune system and protect against infections. This vitamin is in foods such as sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, and eggs.
- Vitamin C is one of the most common vitamins used for immune health. It helps support the immune system by stimulating the formation of antibodies. Vitamin C is in citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit and tangerines.
4. Minimize stress
Believe it or not, stress plays a significant role in your immune health. Our bodies become more susceptible to infections when we are stressed because the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens become reduced. Check out these tips on how to reduce stress:
- Get enough sleep
- Build in time to stop and relax
- Keep a worry diary
- Understand what is causing the stress
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