Boosting Your Immune System in the Time of Pandemic. What You Can Do
With a global pandemic sweeping across the planet, you may be wondering how you can naturally boost your immune system. While there is no way that you can completely prepare your body to fight off the COVID-19 virus, you can put it in the best position to emerge healthy by boosting your immune system. Here are five ways that you can improve the function of your immune system and boost your overall health.
Get More Sleep
A run-down body is more susceptible to illness, making it imperative that you get adequate amounts of sleep during this unprecedented time. Sleep deprivation can lead to a host of health issues, including higher levels of the stress hormone known as cortisol, chronic inflammation, and decreased cognitive abilities.
Most people need at least seven hours of sleep each night to function at optimal levels. Children need at least ten hours of sleep in order to keep their immune system at top levels of performance.
Move the Body
One of the best things that you can do for your immune system is to be intentional about following a regular exercise routine. Leading a sedentary lifestyle is a contributing factor for an increased risk of obesity, chronic disease, inflammation in the body, and decreased immune function. Exercise can be instrumental in flushing out the stress hormones that may interfere with the body's immune function. A regular exercise routine will also increase the prevalence of healthy gut bacteria, contributing to less illness.
You should aim for at least 30 minutes of activity per day. You do not have to be a marathoner to see the benefits of exercise to your immune system. Even something as simple as a moderately paced walk can make a significant difference in the health of your immune system.
It is no surprise to learn that stress is a major factor that contributes to a decreased function of the immune system. Stress raises the levels of the hormone cortisol as it commands the body's immune system to retreat so that it can fight off the threat at hand. While this is not damaging if the stress is not a regular occurrence, chronic stress can have a disastrous effect on the immune system.
There are a number of ways that you can reduce the amount of stress in your life. Many people find mediation and prayer helpful in clearing the mind. Finding healthy social outlets can also help to reduce stress so that your body's immune system functions at key levels of efficiency.
Watch What You Eat
The old adage is true. You are what you eat. While it is fine to indulge in your favorite foods occasionally, it is vital that you nourish your body with foods that promote a healthy immune system. A Mediterranean-style diet focused on fruits, vegetables, fresh fish, lean proteins, and whole grains will yield the best results.
You should put a focus on getting plentiful amounts of vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids if optimal immune function is your goal. It is also important to avoid refined foods and sugar. Too much processed foods will change the gut flora in your gastrointestinal tract, causing your immune system to suffer as a result.
Break the Bad Habits
In addition to being purposeful about introducing these healthy habits to your life, you also need to be dedicated to breaking the bad habits. The number one worst habit to have is smoking. This is an especially important habit to break during the COVID-19 outbreak. Smoking is a contributing factor to the deaths of COVID-19 patients because of the way that the virus attacks the already compromised lungs.
You can also boost your immune system by reducing the amount of alcohol that you drink. Excessive alcohol consumption may cause severe liver problems that will negatively affect the immune system. If you do drink, be sure to limit your beverages to no more than two servings per day.
There is no reason to not look at ways to boost your immune system. Even after the pandemic has passed, it is always a good idea to keep the immune system running as efficiently and effectively as possible. Implementing these tips will have a substantially positive effect on your overall health.
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