Whether it’s cold and flu season, you’re feeling a little under the weather, or you’re thinking of taking preventive measures to stay healthy, we are sharing our favorite ways to care for your immune system.
Your immune system is your body’s first protection against sickness. Your immune system consists of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to fight infections instigated by bacteria, viruses, and toxins. Although every individual gets sick occasionally, there are things we can do frequently to help ensure our immune system stays healthy.
You likely know that what we eat every day impacts our health. Starting as little kids, we’re told to eat our vegetables. But what are some of the best foods to eat to promote a healthy immune system?
Foods strong in Vitamin C are great for sustaining your body and increasing white blood cells, which help fight diseases. Examples are oranges, grapefruits, lemons, kiwi, and papaya. Don’t forget that Vitamin C isn’t just sourced from fruits! Vegetables, for example red bell peppers, broccoli, and spinach, contain Vitamin C.
Vitamin B-6 is a critical nutrient that aids with the formation of additional red blood cells. Essentially Vitamin C helps increase white blood cells, Vitamin B-6 does the same for red blood cells. A large supply of Vitamin B-6 comes from proteins like chicken, turkey, fish, and eggs.
When you’re looking for a yummy, nutrient-packed salad, begin with a base of spinach and leafy greens (Vitamin C), add your chosen fruit or vegetable (get that Vitamin C!), and top with a wholesome protein like chicken (Vitamin B-6) and a few almonds or seeds to provide a healthy fat.
And remember to hydrate! The adult human body contains 60% water. For optimal hydration, drink half your body weight in ounces. So, if your weight is 160 pounds, you need to drink 80 ounces of water each day.
Work Your Body
Did you realize that a body’s lymphatic system, which is in charge of getting rid of waste and contaminants within your body, is the one system that can’t do its job without movement? To keep your lymphatic system working, you must move with it. When performing an activity, your body circulates white blood cells and antibodies faster, and that can help these cells identify and combat infections more rapidly than if you continue to be inactive.
Not only is remaining on the go a large factor of a fit body, it’s also vital to your happiness! Stress can impact your well-being. Research shows that those who go through repeated stress are more apt to have weakened immune systems, which could cause more common illness. Regular exercise assists to stabilize stress hormones, such as cortisol, keeping you content and healthy!
Don’t feel great? You’re fine to need a break! Please don’t feel it’s necessary to push yourself to work out if you feel ill or injured. Heeding to your body and giving it the downtime it wants is equally important.
Get Plenty of Zzzs
Once you’ve you’ve thought about your wholesome food for the week and moved your body with some activity, it’s time to snooze! Sleep is the way your body restores homeostasis, also known as chemical balance throughout the body. While sleeping, your body can control your immune system, make healthy cells, and remove damaged cells. A good night’s sleep is crucial to your body’s potential to stay healthy.
While sleep needs differ by each person, experts suggest adults reach 7-9 hours of sleep during the night. If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, try implementing a sleep schedule – even during the weekend. Just like diet and exercise, a sleep schedule is critical to having a happy and healthy body.
Eating wholesome, nutrient-dense snacks and meal items, moving your body and exercising, and listening to your body and allowing it proper rest are all ways to care for and boost your immune system.