29 Jun Simple Tips for a Robust Immune System
Given what’s been happening over the past few months, it’s important to keep your immune system in tip top shape. Often, when we feel we are coming down with something, we stock up on vitamin C, zinc and herbal teas, using the home remedies we learned from our grandmothers. The best way to fight off illnesses is to prevent them in the first place, by doing simple things each day that boost the immune system.
Here are my top 5 tips for keeping your immune system boosted to ward off illness!
1. Get Your Zzzzs
Getting enough quality sleep each night is so essential for a healthy immune system. The goal is 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night, which may take some practice to get there. Studies have shown that lack of sleep significantly weakens the immune system. If you have trouble falling asleep, create a nightly routine to relax and prepare for sleep. One key aspect is to shut down your screens at least an hour before bed. Blue light protecting glasses can help as well, but it’s still better to shut down all electronics.
2. Eat Antioxidant Rich Foods
Our bodies need the right fuel to fight off infections. Antioxidants clear out free radicals from the body, which can otherwise cause inflammation and weaken the immune system. Vitamins A, C, and E are rich in antioxidants and can help regulate the immune response. Make sure you’re eating your vegetables and fruits to get these essential micronutrients, and if you can’t get enough through your diet, consider taking a high-quality multivitamin, sourced from whole foods, rather than synthetic forms. A few of my favorites are Megafoods or New Chapter.
3. Manage Stress
Stress not only affects your mental well-being, but it also takes an enormous toll on your physical health. While acute stress is sometimes useful for those short bursts of adrenaline, most of us are dealing with chronic stress. This wreaks havoc on your body and can lead to adrenal fatigue, chronic low-grade inflammation, and a weakened immune system. Unfortunately, stress is not going away, so we need to have strategies to manage it and change our perception of it. Some options are: exercise, meditation, mindfulness, gratitude, deep breathing, talking to a friend, doing a puzzle or listening to your favorite tunes. Set aside time each day to relax and unwind to help your body recover.
4. Move Your Body
Movement is vital for overall health. It lowers inflammation and reduces stress levels, which is key for a robust immune system. Even as little as 30 minutes a day can have an impact. And, you can break down your movement into 10 minute increments to fit into your schedule. Be careful with overly intense exercise, especially without enough recovery time, as some studies have shown it can have adverse effects on your immune health. How can you incorporate 30 minutes of movement into your day?
5. Wash Your Hands
“Following simple handwashing practices is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of many types of infection and illness at home, at school and elsewhere,” says Theresa M. Michele, MD, of the FDA’s Division of Nonprescription Drug Products. “We can’t advise this enough. It’s simple, and it works.” (1) It’s not necessary to use antibiotic soaps as they can contribute to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics and it will kill the healthy bacteria on your skin. Wash your hands each time you enter your house for at least 20 seconds and avoid touching your face when you are out. If you aren’t able to wash your hands, use sanitizer or hand wipes.
Is boosting your immune system near the top of your priority list? Along with the previous 5 tips, eating lots of colorful plants will boost your immune system. Load up on a variety of veggies, drink copious amounts of fresh water, and reduce environmental toxins.
Did you know, your gut is responsible for housing almost 70% of the cells that make up your immune system? (2) That is why it is imperative that you are supplying your stomachs with foods that will fuel you instead of bog you down.
The reset program is a great way to give your body a break from unhealthy food choices. Food is prepared and ready to eat. There is no worry, no fuss and no stress!
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