Your immune system works hard to defend you from foreign invaders that cause illness and infection. As we enter the colder fall and winter months, your body will be working hard to fight off colds, the flu and COVID-19. Return this favor by adopting habits that keep your immune system healthy and strong.
Get your fill of nutrients
You need to consume key vitamins for immune system health. Three of them to keep in mind include:
- Vitamin C: This vitamin is famous for its ability to strengthen the immune system. Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits have plenty of vitamin C. However, you can also find it in veggies, including bell peppers, kale and broccoli.
- Vitamin B6: A lack of this vitamin will lead to a reduction in antibodies and white blood cells, leaving you vulnerable to diseases. You can find it in a variety of foods, including chicken, fish and green vegetables.
- Vitamin E: This antioxidant is found in foods such as spinach, nuts and seeds. It helps your body fight infections.
A balanced diet can ensure you get enough of these vitamins in your system. Supplements are also an option for people of any age. Gummy vitamin chews are useful immune system boosters for kids as well. Talk with your primary care provider before adding any supplement to your diet.
Squeeze in some exercise
A regular workout routine comes with all sorts of benefits, including weight management and improved mental health. It can also keep your immune system healthy.
Exercise improves blood circulation, which in turn makes it easier for disease-fighting cells to move through your system. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week.
Steer clear of smoke
A weakened immune system is just one of many consequences of a smoking habit. Even secondhand smoke can have a negative effect on your body’s defenses. Smoking hinders your ability to produce antibodies, and it also inflames your respiratory tract. Try to limit your exposure to secondhand smoke by staying away from smoker-friendly areas.
Keep it clean
If you’re not already in the habit of washing your hands throughout the day, it’s time to start. Some people wash their hands, but they aren’t thorough enough.
Use soap and water to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. This reduces the number of germs your immune system ultimately has to deal with.
Get some sleep
Develop a consistent sleep routine that allows you to get a healthy amount of rest each night. Most people need between seven and nine hours. Lack of sleep will make it harder for your immune system and white blood cells to defend you from invaders.
Keep drinking water
Pathogens can enter your body through dry skin and mucous membranes. Drink plenty of water to help prevent that from happening. Factors like your weight and activity levels will determine how much water you need each day, but most adults need between 11.5 and 15.5 cups.
Manage chronic stress
Not all stress is bad. In fact, short-term stress can strengthen your immune system’s responses. But chronic stress can weaken your immune system by decreasing your lymphocyte level. Lymphocytes are a kind of white blood cell, so they play a vital role in defending your body. Fortunately, you can manage your stress levels in a variety of ways. For example, you can begin to add daily meditation or yoga sessions into your schedule.
These seven habits can keep your immune system in great shape and help you bounce back from sickness or disease.
This year with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is also important for everyone to get their flu shot! Learn more about why the flu shot is critical now more than ever. Also, contact your primary care provider today to learn where you can get your flu shot.