In the current state of the world, health is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Our health is directly dependent on the essential role of our immune system. It relies on complex interworkings of cells, organs, proteins, and tissues to recognize and neutralize harmful viruses, bacteria, cell changes, and other organisms that cause disease.
Our immune system is such an elaborate system of many interconnected parts that requires balance and harmony. Our desire is to live a healthy lifestyle that builds a strong immune system in order to fight off the coronavirus or other harmful substances should we come in contact with them.
Our immune system also operates better when bolstered by healthy lifestyle choices.
Healthy ways to reinforce a strong immune system to prevent or fight COVID-19 include:
A Healthy Diet
Our diet is key to a strong immune system. Be certain to eat at least 5-6 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, legumes, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats.
Numerous nutrients, vitamins, and minerals are required to support the normal functioning of your immune system Some micronutrients that play a role in maintaining your immune system include:
- Vitamin B6 –found in chickpeas, chicken or turkey, salmon, tuna, bananas, green vegetables, potatoes (with skin)
- Vitamin C – found in oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, kiwi pineapple, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, red peppers, Brussel sprouts
- Vitamin E – found in almonds, sunflower and safflower oil, sunflower seeds, peanuts peanut butter, spinach, asparagus, red bell pepper, avocado, trout, mango
- Zinc – found in foods including oysters, crab, lobster, beef, pork chop, chicken, baked beans, beans, nuts, yogurt, Swiss cheese. Some evidence indicates zinc may have a beneficial role in the immune response
- Vitamin D – found in fortified foods such as dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals. A maintenance dose of vitamin D is vital during the winter months as well as for those with low vitamin D levels.
One way exercise may improve the immune system is by boosting your overall circulation making it easier for immune cells to travel more easily throughout your body. Studies have shown 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise daily helps stimulate your immune system.
Water is a necessary component of your lymph system which carries infection-fighting immune cells around your body.
Important infection-fighting molecules are created while you sleep. Inadequate sleep leaves you more prone to getting sick.
Chronic long term stress over an extended period is certainly bad for our health. The uncertainty we are now experiencing with COVID-19 can trigger a stress response. The secretion of cortisol suppresses your immune system, thus increasing your chance of infection or illness. Given that stress has a direct negative impact on your health it is important to know how to identify your stress and have treatment options that work for you.
In addition, continue to minimize trips outside your home, practice social distancing, and wash your hands frequently. If you do come in contact with the virus, you’ve already taken proactive steps to have a strong and healthy immune system that can strengthen your defense against this harmful disease.