The year 2020 will go down in history as another year that the world changed. After months of COVID pandemonium, scientists around the world have noted interesting observations that are happening with our sudden and forced lockdown. We have been persuaded to stay at home, slow down, and to stop and ‘smell the roses’. For most people, never in their life have they ever had more time to slow down and self-reflect. The hospitals, emergency room or doctor’s office have become scary places if you don’t have the virus. Now, more than ever many of us have seriously thought about how to keep our immediate and extended families healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For basic illness prevention and the best defence against sickness is a strong immune system. Your body is better equipped to fight off illness when your immune system is at its best. To function well it needs balance and harmony. To keep your immune system in tip-top condition, there are a few things that are easy to implement into your life and are beneficial for your whole body and well-being.
Eating right is a great start. Whole foods and non- processed ingredients not only set you up for the short term, but also have great long term benefits to your health. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes should be included in your diet every day. Lots of citrus fruits, bell peppers, garlic, ginger, spinach, nuts, seeds, turmeric and green tea are all examples of nutrient dense foods to help boost your immune system.
Drink Lots of Water
Every organ, tissue and cell in your body needs water to work efficiently. Toxins and waste can be flushed from your body with proper hydration. Making sure you drink enough fluids can be a challenge, because everyone’s needs and preferences are different. A good practice to get into is to make water your beverage of choice. Include water with each meal, drink water before, during and after exercise. Reach for a glass of water if you feel hungry and then grab your healthy snack.
Exercise and Fresh Air
There are great benefits to exercise and so many different forms. Investigate and find something you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated, getting out for a walk, jog, run or bike ride are good activities to start with. It can be an opportunity to change scenery, get your circulation and lymphatic system moving, help you breath deeper and lower your blood pressure. You can even top up your vitamin D supply with the natural sunlight exposure. Make it part of your routine to get some exercise daily.
A wide variety of aliments can be linked to the effects of emotional stress. Stress in a very individual experience and triggers are different for all of us. When we are stressed, hormones are released in our body that can actually suppress the effectiveness of our immune system. Being aware, managing stress and keeping it under control is key. Relaxation exercises, like meditation are helpful for some people. Positive thinking and being thankful are daily intentions to help focus the start of your day.
Most experts recommend 7-8 hours of sleep for adults a night (more for children). This is optimal to keep your immune system in ‘fighting shape’. Many people find it a challenge to get the full 7-8 hours, sleep can be interrupted, especially true if you have young children or work schedule constraints just don’t fit in with this amount of quality sleep. If possible sometimes a couple of naps can really make a difference throughout the day. A nap should be no longer than 20-30 minutes and taken in the morning and afternoon. There are also strategies to aid sleep such as keeping a sleep schedule; sleep and wake at the same time each day (including weekends). Try some quiet time before bed. Putting away electronics, cell phone etc. approximately 2 hours before bedtime can help get your brain ready for rest. Limiting caffeine close to bed time and a darkened peaceful sanctuary for your sleeping area, can all help you have a good night’s sleep. Exercising and de-stressing will also positively impact your sleeping ability.
Lastly, as we are told time and time again, washing your hands regularly with soap and water will always be helpful to your immune system in order for you to stay healthy and protect your loved ones.
Photo by Josh Mills on Unsplash