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Boosting Your Immunity Can Help Your Body Battle Viruses and Diseases

April 13, 2020

Boosting Your Immunity Can Help Your Body Battle Viruses and Diseases

You are probably surrounded by coronavirus information. You may even know someone who has been diagnosed with the virus. Or, you may have been diagnosed yourself. You might be wondering if there are ways to overcome this virus since it seems that even relatively young people are dealing with severe symptoms from Covid-19. 

The best thing you can do to prepare your body for the coronavirus is to boost your immune system. This is because the strength of your immune system can determine how your body responds to the virus. This is why older people, those who have underlying conditions, or those who smoke have a higher risk of developing severe symptoms from this disease. 

The good news is that there are simple things you can do to boost your immune system today. This will help your body fight the coronavirus and any other diseases that you may come in contact with.


Eat Whole Foods
The first step you can take to improve your immune system is to improve your diet. This doesn't mean you need to start counting calories or worrying about carbs. Instead, it means you should pay attention to what foods you are consuming. Processed foods are full of sugar and other kinds of ingredients that are terrible for your body. As a result, they suppress, rather than boost your immune system. Here are some foods to avoid.

  • White Bread & Refined Grains
  • Ice Cream
  • Margarine
  • Chips
  • Pastries, cookies, and cakes
  • Sugary Drinks, sodas, and diet sodas
  • Sugary Cereals
  • Frozen Entrées
  • Pre-Made Sauces
  • Most Fruit Juices
  • Artificial Foods
  • Highly Processed Foods
  • Fried Foods
  • Processed Meats, like hot dogs

Instead of eating these foods, opt for whole foods that are have not been processed. Shop for healthy options like fresh vegetables and fruits. You can also stock up on nuts and healthy fats like avocados, coconut oil, and olive oil. 

This means you'll want to buy more fresh foods. During the pandemic, this may mean you need to cook your raw food into your favorite dishes and then freeze them so that they will last longer! This may be more work for a day or two, but you'll see an improvement in your how you feel and, more importantly, your immune system and gut microbiome will improve. These both play a significant role in defending your body against infection.


Make Exercise a Habit
Exercising regularly is not just for those who want to lose weight or get buff for a competition. Exercise benefits your body in a myriad of ways and is a great way to boost your immune system! One reason for this is that exercise reduces stress, which keeps our hormones regulated, and our immune system working properly. 

The good news is that you do not need to join a gym or start running marathons to get the benefits of exercise. You should aim for 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise. 

This means you can do simple things, like walking, to exercise. You can add more steps to your day by parking far away from the store on your grocery run or walking to your local park after dinner. While you may not be able to meet a friend for a walk right now, you can ask a loved one to join you once your quarantine is over! 

If you prefer more vigorous exercise, then consider doing high-intensity interval training. These HIIT workouts are great for when you don't have a lot of time for a workout. They also don't require much space or equipment. They burn lots of calories by combining periods of intense exercise with short breaks. 

The goal is to find something you enjoy. So, try a variety of workouts. You can do HIIT, strength train, run, practice yoga, or do pilates. If you enjoy exercise, then you're much more likely to continue doing it. This is especially important as we age because our bodies naturally lose muscle mass. Thus, being active now will help you stay healthy later!


Start Sleeping More
While improving your diet and exercise habits, might not surprise you, you may not realize how important improving your sleep habits are to your health. Almost half of all adults are not getting enough quality sleep. This is a severe problem because rest is one of the best things you can do for your body, and it should be a top priority in your life! 

When you get plenty of sleep, your body produces cytokines. Cytokines are a protein that targets infection and inflammation, telling your body to activate the immune system. Sleep also allows your body to adjust your hormones. It ensures that it won't release too much cortisol, a hormone that can suppress your immune system. 

Sleep is also great for other aspects of health. Lack of sleep is linked with the development of type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, decreased brain function, mental health problems, and even cancer.  

If you're not sure how to start sleeping better, you can take a few steps to improve your sleep hygiene. These include exercising more, avoiding alcohol and caffeine, turning screens off at night, and eating a healthy diet.


Lower Stress
We are all under stress, but some of us feel more stressed than others. When you are chronically stressed, your body releases too much cortisol and other stress hormones that actively harm our bodies. This is because our immune system will stop responding if there are high levels of cortisol in our bodies. This means inflammation can take hold, and viruses can wreak havoc. 

The good news is that you can reduce your stress levels. The key is to find what works best for you. You may find that yoga and exercise help, you destress. Or, you may prefer to practice meditation or get massages. You may also find that you must learn how to say "no" so that you have more time to relax and focus on yourself. 


Stop Smoking and Drinking
If you are a smoker, now is the time to quit. Not only does smoking increase your risk of developing cancer and lung disease, but the coronavirus has a more harmful effect on those who smoke. 

In addition to smoking, alcohol use also affects your immune system in drastic ways. Your cells that should be the first line of defense against disease are not as effective if you drink too much alcohol. 

Stopping smoking and reducing drinking can be difficult, but there are many programs and treatments available to help you reduce your usage. 

 

Soak Up the Sun
Being quarantined doesn't seem like it is conducive to being in the sun, but it can be! You can still enjoy your backyard or take a walk around your block or neighborhood. This is especially important now because Vitamin D is incredibly important to your immune system. And the best way to get Vitamin D? Spending time in the sun! 

Your body cannot make Vitamin D, so you must get it from an outside source. If you are stuck inside all day, then start taking Vitamin D supplements. They will get you the nutrients you need to fight infection better. 

The coronavirus is scary, and times are uncertain. However, practicing social distancing, frequently washing your hands, and maintaining healthy habits will help protect you, your loved ones, and your community. Take the time to adjust your habits while you are quarantined so that your body will be healthy to face the coronavirus and beyond. 






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