How can you keep your immune system in top shape so it can protect you from viruses, germs and other threats?
Adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes the following:
- Exercise. Daily exercise of at least 30 minutes can help your immune system fight infection. Studies show that people who don’t exercise get more colds than people who do.
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Eat brightly colored fruits and vegetables: berries, citrus, apples, kale, onions, garlic, spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes and mushrooms. Avoid sugar. Too much sugar harms immune system cells that fight bacteria. To help digestion, consider taking probiotics, the intestinal “good” bacteria has shown to bolster immunity (Harvard Medical).
- Meditate. Meditation lowers stress and helps to control anxiety. Ongoing stress such as being in a difficult relationship, living with a chronic disease or being a caregiver can make you vulnerable to illnesses, from colds and flu to chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Many researchers report that stressful situations can reduce many aspects of the cellular immune response. Example: Elderly people caring for relatives with Alzheimer’s disease have higher than average levels of cortisol (stress hormone) causing a reduction in antibodies in response to influenza vaccine.
- Get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. Not getting enough sleep can lead to higher levels of stress hormones and more inflammation in your body.
These healthy living guidelines can keep your whole body healthy along with your immune system.