During the current coronavirus pandemic we find ourselves in, keeping our immune system healthy and strong is important. The immune system is a network of cells and proteins that protects the body against infection and viruses. Here are 5 simple steps we can take to boost our immune system.
1. Balanced Diet.
Eating a healthy balanced diet is vital to maintaining good health. When we choose a variety of foods from the different food groups, it will ensure we have adequate amounts of essential minerals and nutrients. Furthermore, eating a wide variety of foods, in the right proportions, along with regular exercise, can help to maintain a healthy weight. The best foods that should be eaten are fruits, vegetables, protein, healthy fats, whole grains, nuts, and vegetables.
In addition to having a balanced diet, it is vital to keep hydrated. Water is the best fluid to drink, the body needs water to function at its best, because our bodies are made up of 60% water.
2. Vitamin D.
During the winter months when we do not get enough sunlight to produce vitamin D, it is advisable to take Vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D helps to regulate the amount of phosphate and calcium in the body, which are needed to keep teeth, muscles and bones healthy. Lack of vitamin D can lead to problems such as osteomalacia.
3. Vitamin C.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can strengthen the immune system while protecting the body's natural defenses, it can be found in fresh fruits and vegetables. We need to ensure that we are getting enough vitamin C in our diet or as a supplement because our bodies do not make it. Our immune system needs vitamin C in order to function properly. Vitamin C also converts the food we eat into energy,
4. Adequate Sleep.
In order for us to function properly, we need to ensure we are getting adequate rest and sleep, the optimal amount of sleep that is required is 7-8 hours. Lack of sleep weakens the immune system and makes our bodies more prone to viruses. According to Doctor Eric J Olson from the Mayo Clinic explains;
"Proteins called cytokines are released during sleep, some of which promote sleep. Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation or when you are under stress. Sleep deprivation may decrease production of these protective cytokines. In addition, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you do not get enough sleep."(www.mayoclinic.org)
5. Exercise It is vital to get exercise on a regular basis because it helps to improve circulation, strengthens the muscles and burns calories. Staying active also helps to delay chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Aim to get at least thirty minutes of exercise each day.
For this new year let us set small goals and implement these steps into improving our health. When we make positive changes to improving our lifestyle, we can reverse lifestyle diseases, have more energy and experience an overall sense of wellbeing.