Keeping your immune system healthy and in optimal condition may be one of the best things you can do for your overall health and wellness. The immune system is extremely complex. It defends the body against infection and recognizes which microbe it has defeated, so if that microbe ever tries to enter the body again, the immune system can destroy it quickly before you start to feel sick.
Despite the immune system’s complexity, there are still lifestyle habits that you need to practice daily to help give your immune system that boost to keep you happy and healthy.
Good nutrition promotes a healthy lifestyle by supporting normal growth, development and aging, helps maintain a healthy body weight and reduces the risk of chronic diseases. Eating healthy often means incorporating plenty of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, fats and lean protein into your diet.
By consuming a healthy diet, you provide your body with essential vitamins and minerals that it can thrive on. Vitamin C is a popular vitamin that is taken to protect against infection due to its role in immune health.
Many foods contain vitamin C so that you don’t have to take a supplement daily. Spinach, kale, bell peppers, strawberries, and oranges are just a few examples of foods that contain this essential vitamin.
Staying well-hydrated is a crucial element to maintaining a healthy immune system. Surely you’ve heard of the phrase that the human body is made up of 70 percent water, which is true! The bloodstream is made mostly of water and is what transports the proper nutrients to each organ. When the body is dehydrated, it cannot properly transport those essential nutrients that the immune system needs.
Drinking water can be difficult for some people. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can flavor your water with fresh fruits, such as lemons, berries or cucumber slices. For women, we recommend aiming to drink at least two liters of water a day (8 cups) and for men to drink about 2.5 liters of water a day (10 cups).
Sleep is a vital component of overall health and wellness. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body is unable to recharge and regenerate for the upcoming day. Getting a sufficient amount of rest can help keep the body healthy and ward off diseases.
According to research and the Sleep Foundation, sleep and the immune system are very closely connected. Consistent sleep strengthens the immune system, which allows for a balanced and effective immune function that may help fight off infections.
Staying active by practicing moderate exercise can help give your immune system a boost. Research finds that improvements in immunity due to regular exercise of moderate intensity may be due to “reductions in inflammation, the amelioration of psychological stress, and/or the alterations in the composition of ‘older’ and ‘younger’ immune cells.”
Some examples of moderate exercise include walking, outdoor bicycling, jogging, and swimming. The CDC recommends that adults do 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. While that may sound like a big number, it is only 30 minutes of physical activity, 5 days a week.
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