4 ways to strengthen your immune system
Keeping your immune system running smoothly during the COVID-19 pandemic is essential for staying as healthy as possible. When it comes to your health, it’s best to be on the offense to help prevent viruses and bacteria from invading your body. Here are four simple tips for boosting your immune system:
1. Eat a balanced diet
Eating a balanced diet is vital to keeping your immune system in optimal shape! One of the most notable vitamins that helps boost the immune system is vitamin C. This vitamin is thought to increase the production of white blood cells, which are key to fighting infections. Popular foods that contain vitamin C include oranges, grapefruits, red bell peppers, broccoli, garlic, ginger, and spinach. Other foods that may help strengthen the immune system include mushrooms, bitter greens like dandelions and arugula, whole grains, and flaxseeds.
2. Exercise moderately
Moderate regular exercise is known to help keep the immune system in tip-top shape. Some examples of moderate exercise include going for 30 minute walks every day, going to the gym for an hour every other day, or going on long bike rides with friends and family a few times a week. Research has found that regular moderate exercise may lead to a higher number of white blood cells, which fight infections, including cold and flu viruses.
3. Take vitamins and supplements
A deficiency of certain nutrients can alter the body’s immune response. Studies show that deficiencies in zinc, selenium, iron, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, D, and E can lower immune responses. That's because these nutrients help the immune system by working as an antioxidant to protect healthy cells. This, in turn, supports the growth and activity of immune cells that produce antibodies. If your diet is lacking in certain vitamins, taking a multivitamin containing the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for several nutrients may be used.
4. Get enough sleep
Aim to get at least seven to nine hours of sleep every night to keep your immune system functioning well. During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines. Certain cytokines increase when you have an infection or when you’re under stress. Sleep deprivation may decrease the production of these protective cytokines.
Amber Gardner is a Certified Family Nurse Practitioner that is passionate about wellness and natural healing. She loves educating people about achieving optimal health through natural medicine and lifestyle changes.