Right about now, we are all wondering what we can do to stay healthy. The first line of defense is always your immune system, so keeping it healthy is critical. I sat down with registered dietitian, Denise Hernandez, MS, RD, LD to talk about safe and simple ways to boost your immune system. Incorporating these seven easy steps into your lifestyle will not only give you a fighting chance to prevent the coronavirus at home but long after it is over, as well.
These tips are a common-sense approach to staying healthy and easy to add to your to-do list today.
Get to Sleep
A sleep deprived immune system can’t do its job correctly, so focus on good sleep habits and try to get between 6-7 hours per night.
Drink More Water
Made up of up to 60% water, our bodies rely on proper hydration for the most basic of biological functions. Plain water should always be the first drink of choice, and we recommend drinking at least 64 oz. of water throughout the day.
Regular exercise can help you not only control your weight but reduce your risks of certain diseases, as well as strengthen your bones and muscles, which all leads to an optimized immune system. Aim for a regular regimen of strength training and cardio workouts.
Manage Your Stress Levels
Stress management is crucial to your body’s ability to fight off illness. Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, yoga, meditation, tai chi, and exercise.
Meet Your Daily Fiber Needs
It is well known that fiber helps with digestive health, but many don’t realize it also helps with immunity. If you do not consume fiber in adequate amounts, the healthy microbes in your gut die-off resulting in a loss of microbial diversity, which is terrible news for all aspects of your health. Aim for 25-38 grams of fiber per day, building up by 5 grams weekly if you aren’t already consuming a high fiber diet.
Correct Any Nutrition Deficiencies
Being functionally deficient in any vitamin or mineral means your body lacks the materials necessary for many biochemical reactions such as cellular energy production or immune cell development. Some of the most common nutrient deficiencies include vitamin D and B vitamins (B12, folate, pyridoxine, biotin, niacin, etc.).
Eat More Immune Boosting Foods
Foods rich with immune-boosting properties help your body fight off inflammation and are packed full of phytonutrients that help your body combat disease. Immune-boosting foods include but are not limited to: citrus fruits, bell peppers, broccoli, spinach, garlic, ginger, turmeric, almonds, sunflower seeds, green tea, and yogurt. When considering portion sizes aim for a daily dose of 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables per day (heavy on the veggies); 1 oz. nuts and seeds; 1-2 cups green tea; 6 oz. yogurt.