DAILY HABITS TO BOOST IMMUNITY
Frequent hand washing, staying home when sick, and limiting exposure to large crowds and people with flu-like symptoms are things we have become more aware of in the last few years. But did you know that there are other things you can be doing to boost your immune system, to keep yourself and those you love healthy?
TOP 10 WAYS TO BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
1. Get at least 7 hours of restful sleep. If you have trouble with this, establish a bedtime routine, and get into bed 10 mins earlier each night. Put kids and pets to bed earlier so you can unwind. Turn off electronics an hour before bed. In addition, eating a light carb and protein-rich snack has also been shown to improve sleep (ex: 1 cup low sugar cereal with low fat milk). Make sure your bedroom is comfortable, quiet, dark and cool.
2. Stay hydrated. Everyone needs to drink more water. Aim for at least half your body weight in oz. of fluids daily + 15 oz. for every hour of exercise. An active 150 lb person should aim for 90 oz. of fluids daily. Water is best, but you can include anything decaffeinated and low sugar, along with citrus fruits and water-rich veggies such as broccoli and cucumbers. Think decaf/herbal tea or coffee, unsweetened seltzer and nut milks, regular milk, light fruit juice, broths, and coconut water. Read my post about hydration here.
3. Eat a healthy balanced diet rich in fruits, veggies, and lean proteins such as seafood, chicken, turkey, lean beef, nuts/seeds, peas, beans, lentils, and eggs. Protein plays a key role in the body’s immune system, especially for healing and recovery. Eating more at home, bringing lunch to work, and avoiding public buffets and salad/hot bars are also advised. Also, avoid skipping meals to ensure you are getting enough nutrients.
4. Boost your intake of Vitamin D by including more foods such as salmon, eggs, and dairy and adding a daily supplement of 2000 IU. For more on vitamin D, read my previous post!
5. Include foods with Vitamin C. If you are eating a balanced diet of at least three meals daily, you are likely getting enough. You can boost your intake by including more citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, red peppers, tomatoes, papaya, strawberries, or foods fortified with Vitamin C, such as some cereals.
6. Keep your gut healthy, as the gut is the center of the immune system. While taking probiotics can be helpful to some, it is better to get them from food. These include fermented veggies, sauerkraut, yogurt, and Kombucha.
7. Exercise! Physical activity keeps your body and mind healthy along with helping to manage your weight. Although gyms can be filled with germs, most facilities at this point are taking extra precautions to protect their employees and their members. You can do your part by washing your hands and wiping down equipment before and after use. Also, stay out of the gym if you are sick! You can also do a body weight workout at home, or exercise outside by walking, jogging, biking or hiking.
8. Manage your stress. Nothing breaks down the immune system faster than being over stressed. Take time for yourself each day, prioritize sleep and your health.
9. If you drink alcohol, only do so moderately, and if you smoke try to quit!
10. Take advantage of grocery delivery such as Amazon Prime Grocery and Instacart to stock up on necessary items, along with avoid crowded stores if you are sick or have a weakened immune system. Check delivery service areas to assess your options.
Hopefully you can apply some of these tips to your life to help boost your immune system so you stay healthy in the coming weeks and months!