How to Quickly Boost Your Immune SystemIvy Gutierrez
By now, we are slowly coming to terms with the fact that novel coronavirus is a reality we have to live with. The disease caused by it is an illness for which we currently have no cure and also no vaccine. Unfortunately, vaccines are the fastest and most efficient way to strengthen our immune system. While we learn to mitigate the risks by altering our behavior (wearing masks in bingo halls, increasing how often we wash our hands, keeping a physical distance from people not members of our household), there are several ways our immune systems could get a boost, too.
KEEP A PLANT-BASED, HEART-HEALTHY MENU
Choose foods first as your source of vitamins and nutrients. Unless your healthcare team directs you to take a vitamin or supplement, you likely do not need one. The best way to include these nutrients is by eating whole foods. Make sure your meals incorporate a variety of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, legumes, beans, lean protein, and healthy fats.
Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day to stay energized and to ensure your body is getting enough calories, proteins, and nutrients. Protein acts as a “builder” and the body uses it to build and repair tissues. Protein is also vital for making hormones and enzymes that promote the body’s daily functions and supports a healthy immune system. In addition, drinking eight to 10 glasses of fluids every day is one of the most effective ways to flush waste from your body and support the health of your immune system.
POWER UP WITH PHYTOCHEMICALS
Fruits, vegetables and other plants contain naturally occurring substances known as phytochemicals. Phytochemicals give fruits and vegetables their color and flavor. Phytochemicals act as soldiers in the immune system to protect the body from damage. Studies show that phytochemicals help support the:
Creation of healthy cells
Death of damaged cells (such as cancer cells)
MAKE CHANGES TO YOUR LIFESTYLE. AND STICK TO THEM.
In addition to using nutrition to boost your immune system, you can also make changes to your lifestyle to help support health and immunity. These include: Decrease your exposure to bacteria, viruses, and germs. Aim for 7 hours or more of sleep every night. If your sleep is interrupted, try a 30-minute nap during the day. Reduce stress by taking time to do things you enjoy such as spending time with family, playing bingo, or watching your favorite show. If your feelings of anxiety or depression make it difficult for you to complete daily tasks, talk to your healthcare team.
There is no magic pill which will result in a robust immune system. In the end, it boils down to the old saying “a healthy mind in a healthy body”, but instead of the mind, think immunity. Our bodies need us to take care of them, so they could take care of us.