Six Habits To Help You Protect Your Immune System
Our kids have at least five friends who are home sick today. Each has something different… the flu, respiratory infection, strep, stomach bug, random fever virus. It’s enough to make you want to stay in a bubble until Spring arrives!
But who can do that?
Here are a few daily habits to help you maintain a healthy immune system and keep your body strong enough to fend off unwanted illness:
1. Get enough sleep.
Inadequate sleep weakens your immune system and makes you more susceptible to viruses and illness. Your body needs 7–9 hours of sleep every night.
2. Keep the junk food out of your diet.
Consume a diet based on real foods. Your plate should be 3/4 full with anti-oxidant rich vegetables in all colors of the rainbow. Pay special focus to the veggies that are rich in Vitamin C, like carrots, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and red and orange bell peppers, and citrus fruits. Decrease your intake of refined sugar, grains, artificial sweeteners, and all processed foods.
3. Get regular exercise.
Consistent physical activity is an excellent way to maintain a strong immune system. Studies suggest that exercise causes positive changes in antibodies and white blood cells, our immune system cells that fight disease. For the greatest impact, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise at a minimum of 3–4 times per week. Overdoing exercise can weaken your immune system, so find your sweet spot and don’t overdo it..
4. Make sure you are not deficient in Vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency weakens your immune system, so ask your medical provider about monitoring your vitamin D level and vitamin D supplementation. Most adults need to supplement with vitamin D during the fall and winter months due to the seasonal decrease in UVB-rays. Though it can be challenging to get enough sunlight in the fall and winter months, try to get weekly exposure to sunlight.
5. Eat more wild fish or supplement with Fish Oil.
Studies show that DHA, the type of Omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish, was found to increase white blood cell activity. You can get a good dose of Omega-3 from eating salmon, sardines or trout. If you don’t like fish, walnuts and hemp seeds are also good sources.
6. Try not to stress.
Stress can predispose you to infection and worsen the symptoms of an illness. Physical activity, breathing exercises, yoga, stretching exercises, and meditation are all excellent ways to relieve stress.
Good luck out there! And remember to wash your hands frequently… hand washing is an important part of any anti-viral offense!