When it comes to fighting viruses like coronavirus, one method is to have a strong immune system.
Your immune system defends you against disease-causing microorganisms, but sometimes it fails and you get sick. And, as you age, your immune response capability becomes reduced. Others with underlying health conditions – like those fighting cancer — may also have a compromised immune system.
Here are some tips to boost your immune system and help battle COVID-19:
- Stay active – Exercise causes your body’s antibodies and white blood cells to circulate more rapidly. Stress hormones
- are also lowered by being active, which reduces chances for sickness.
- Watch your diet – Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds to provide your body with the nutrients your
- immune system needs.
- Keep calm – There’s a link between your immune health and your mental health. A daily exercise routine or meditation,
- reading or watching light-hearted movies may help.
- Get your Z’s – Sleeping is a natural immune system booster. If you’re sleep-deprived, your body produces stress
- hormones that can suppress your immune system. Try to get at least seven hours of sleep a night.
- Catch some rays – Sunlight triggers the production of vitamin D. Low vitamin D levels link to a greater risk of
- respiratory infection.
- Drink less alcohol – It may be tempting to try to lift your spirits with the liquid kind, but too much can impair the
- immune system and increase vulnerability to lung infections.
Remember, take care of yourself by following these simple tips and your immune system will help take care of you.
Sources: AARP, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Healthy Eating Supports Your Immune System
A variety of nutrients are essential to a strong immune system and can help fight off illness and other health problems.
Protein is especially important for healing and recovery. Some protein foods include seafood, lean meat, poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products and unsalted nuts and seeds.
Vitamin A helps regulate the immune system and protect against infections by keeping skin and tissues in the mouth, stomach, intestines and respiratory system healthy. Foods full of vitamin A include sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, spinach, red bell peppers, apricots and eggs.
Vitamin C supports the immune system by forming antibodies. Choose citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit and tangerines), red bell peppers, papaya, strawberries and tomato juice.
Vitamin E works as anti-oxidant to support immune function. Sunflower seeds, almonds, vegetable oils (sunflower or safflower oil), hazelnuts and peanut butter provide vitamin E.
Zinc supports the immune system and helps wounds heal. It can be found in lean meat, poultry, seafood, milk, whole grain products, beans, seeds and nuts.
Other Nutrients including vitamins B6 and B12, copper, folate, selenium and iron also play a role in a healthy diet.