As the pandemic continues, more people than ever are asking questions about boosting their immune systems and staying healthy. Of course, this is a great idea even in the best of circumstances. There’s no “magic pill” or awesome habit that will make your immune system invincible or protect you from the coronavirus. However, there are certainly steps you can take to give your immune system the help it needs and lead a healthy lifestyle.
A Healthy Immune System
Improving your immune system won’t happen overnight. This change requires new habits, a health-focused lifestyle, dietary changes, and more. If you’re truly invested in improving your health for the long term, not just during the ongoing pandemic, here are several healthy habits to develop:
- Get enough sleep
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Manage your stress levels
- Stay active
- Take helpful vitamins regularly
1) Get Enough Sleep
Most doctors recommend 8 hours of sleep every night, but some people may do just fine with 6-6.5. Any less than 6 hours of sleep every night, however, can cause problems. Your immune system needs rest as much as the rest of your body does. Experiment to find your “sweet spot” of how much sleep you need to function and establish a routine to help you consistently sleep for that amount of time. Find ways to relax before bedtime and get your body prepared for a full night’s sleep.
2) Eat Plenty of Fruits & Vegetables
We’ve all heard this one since we were kids, but it’s no less true today. The USDA recommends eating between 1-3 cups of vegetables and 1-2 cups of fruit per day, with the exact amount depending on your age and activity level. And don’t assume that raw veggies are always the healthier option! While raw fruit is usually better than cooked, several types of vegetables actually provide your body with more nutrients after being cooked. The heating process can break down thick cell walls and make it easier for your body to absorb what it needs. Double-check the types of vegetables you typically eat raw to see if they would be better cooked.
3) Manage Your Stress Levels
The current state of the world inspires plenty of stress. But letting that stress dominate your emotions can negatively affect both your mental and physical health. Consider taking up a relaxing hobby like yoga or meditation to give your mind a break. For a more clinical approach, make an appointment with a counselor or ask your doctor about potential solutions.
4) Stay Active
Exercise is a massive help to your body. Working out gets your blood moving, helps wake you up, releases endorphins, and can help you maintain a healthy weight. Most adults should aim for at least 75 minutes of intense activity or 150 minutes of moderate activity per week for best results.
5) Take Helpful Vitamins Regularly
It’s easy to look at the massive shelves of vitamins in grocery stores and think that taking any one of them can improve your health. While certain types of supplements are certainly helpful, adding any healthy-sounding vitamin to your regimen won’t do you much good. Discuss your nutritional needs with your doctor and adjust your diet where you can to consume more nutrients in their natural form.
Pro Tip: If your body struggles to absorb certain nutrients, taking a supplement may help balance your vitamin deficiency. Talk to your doctor before making any changes to your vitamin routine.
Take Care of Your Body
The best way to fight off infection isn’t buying out the drugstore’s flu medicine stock, but by giving your body the help it needs to boost your immune system. Your natural defenses can keep you happy and healthy if you pair them with good habits.
Connect with us to learn more about how to lead a wellness-focused lifestyle.