Updated: Oct 21, 2020
Build a strong immune system and protect yourself from illness by nourishing your body and following healthy habits! Here are just a few ways you can improve your overall health and wellness while reducing your risk of preventable diseases.
Consume Your Vitamins!
Eating a well balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables is the best way to get your vitamins and minerals. These are just a few vital nutrients to help you build a strong immune system and keep your body functioning at an optimal level.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that regulates white blood cells and helps them defend against viruses and bacteria. The benefits of vitamin C include protection against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, eye disease, and even skin wrinkling. What a powerful and effective nutrient! Great sources of vitamin C are cantaloupe, orange juice, broccoli, red pepper, kiwi, and tomato juice.
Vitamin D protects the immune, brain and nervous system while supporting lung function and cardiovascular health. This vitamin has also been shown to protect against several diseases and conditions including diabetes. Getting adequate sunlight is the best way for your body to produce enough Vitamin D. Food sources include fatty fish, egg yolks, cheese and mushrooms.
Zinc is an essential nutrient that your body doesn’t produce naturally. Therefore you have to consume the right foods and supplements to get your adequate intake of zinc. Zinc aids in metabolism, nerve function, skin health and plays a critical role in the development and function of immune cells. “It may also relieve oxidative stress and improve immune response by boosting the activity of T-cells and natural killer cells, which help protect your body from infection”(G). Excellent sources of zinc include eggs, pumpkin seeds, turkey, chicken, quinoa, brown rice, kale and asparagus.
Follow Healthy Habits!
Healthy habits are crucial for keeping our bodies healthy and functioning optimally. The better you take care of yourself, the better your engine runs.
Regular exercise not only improves your mental health but reduces inflammation, improves immune response and can lower your risk of getting sick. Aim to get moderate exercise most days of the week for optimum benefit. Moderate exercise can be a brisk walk, bike ride, or aerobics class. Set aside time for 30-45 minutes of exercise 5 days a week to keep your body healthy and strong!
This can be hard with busy work schedules, family and a constantly changing environment. Stress produces hormones that suppress the effectiveness of our immune system and reduce the body’s ability to fight off antigens. Fortunately there are things you can do to fight against stress! One of the best things is exercise which lowers the body’s stress hormone. It also releases endorphins which are natural mood boosters and pain killers. Breathing exercises, setting aside time each day to relax and spending time with loved ones are other great ways to relieve stress.
Get Adequate Sleep
Getting enough sleep allows your body to produce more cytokines which are a protein that targets infection and inflammation. Skimping on sleep can make you vulnerable to more illnesses not to mention reduced energy, focus and mood. To make sure you’re getting enough z’s, stick to a sleep schedule even on the weekends, exercise regularly and avoid stimulating activities and screen time about an hour before bed.
These are just a few of many ways you can take care of your body and improve your immune response. Not only do these strategies help protect you from disease but following these simple steps will improve your overall wellbeing and quality of life. When it comes to good health there’s a lot we can take control of. Protect your health and stay Poway Healthy! For further reading see resources below.