It is important to regularly make sure your immune system is functioning to the best of its abilities, regardless of what health scenario the world is in. However, it is more important than ever to make sure your immune system is firing on all cylinders to keep you safe and healthy. Here are 10 simple changes to incorporate into your daily life in order to keep your immune system in tip-top shape.
Get A Good Night’s Sleep (and maybe a few naps)
While you sleep, your body releases a protein called cytokines.They create your body’s immune response because they target inflammation and infection. A lack of sleep causes a lack of cytokines, so it is important to rest in order to make sure your body is continuing to fight off whatever may enter. The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to eight hours of sleep a night, and two naps of around 30 minutes a day.
The immune system relies heavily on the nutrients in our bloodstream. Blood is mostly made out of water, so staying hydrated ensures nutrients passing through the body to each organ. Additionally, staying hydrated can allow for the body to detoxify, drain, and flush out anything foreign.
Eat Foods With Antioxidants, And Vitamins C, E and A
Scientifically, antioxidants help with containing unstable molecules that can damage cells in the body. When combined with Vitamins C, E, and A, studies have shown that it boosts immune health. Some foods that are high in antioxidants are blueberries, strawberries, goji berries, and dark chocolate. Vitamins C, E, and A can be found in supplements, or in most fruits and vegetables.
Moderate Levels Of Exercise
Getting a good workout does not just make you feel good, but it is beneficial to your health. Physical activity has shown to help flush things out of the lungs, which makes the work easier on your immune system. 20-30 minutes a day of some sort of exercise, whether it be walking around your neighborhood or doing an at home workout from the internet is a perfect way to improve your health.
Consuming Good Bacteria
Consuming foods with good bacteria is another great way to boost your immune system. These foods contain pre and probiotics, which are important to intestinal health. They are usually fermented, which sounds a little daunting (and let’s face it, gross) at first, but they aren’t as scary as some may think. Foods like yogurt and drinks like kombucha are good for promoting gut health. They have live organisms that help to fight off the bad bacteria that could be lurking around.
Meditation is a great way to relax and unwind. Some people do it before bed, first thing in the morning, or quickly a few times during the day. Science shows that there is a link between meditation, mindfulness, and some immune responses. It can improve the production of cells that defend the body, and create enzymes to even fight aging. If you are looking to get into meditation, Headspace has a great web page full of how to learn, and a guided meditation as well.
Humans are social beings. In a study done by The University of Virginia found that there is a connection between immune health and social interaction. The study showed that interferon gamma, a molecule crucial to immunity, is directly linked with social interaction. In the times we live in, this can be challenging. But, one can still be social while being distant. Call a friend, or video chat. Maybe even sit outside six feet apart.
Drink Less Alcohol
At the start of the pandemic, the US saw a spike in alcohol sales. However, alcohol can hinder the immune response in your body. In an article by Healthline, says that alcohol has proven to kill the good gut bacteria in your body that we touched upon earlier, and damage the immune cells in the lungs. Now, this doesn’t mean you need to stop drinking entirely, but suggests drinking a little less. Moderation is key.
Spend Time Outside
Going outside is a great way to boost your mood, and your immune system. Vitamin D is key to improving some immune health. Staying inside for extended periods (weeks or months) allows the bacteria in your home to just continue to circulate. Going outside takes you away from the indoor bacteria. So, go on a walk around your yard, or sit outside for a bit!
Wash Your Hands!
We’ve saved the most simple for last. When you don’t wash your hands, you let germs sit on your skin. Then you touch your face, and they enter your body one way or another. Washing your hands for 20 seconds is a quick and easy way to support your immune system, and keep you healthy.