While maintaining a highly functioning immune system is always important, it really seems to be gaining extra importance these days. A global pandemic is a frightening event, and a strong immune system – along with social distancing and wearing a mask – is your best line of defense.
Of course, knowing exactly how to give your immune system the boost it needs is a little more complicated than resetting a few glasses of OJ – but that's a start. While staying active and fit is extremely helpful, you can boost your immunity without breaking a sweat – or even opening your eyes. Start by making these three simple changes into your life to give your immune system the boost it needs to keep you healthy and safe during the flu season and beyond.
Get a lot of sleep
16 hours should be more than enough time to do everything you need to do in a single day. Those other eight hours? Your body needs this for rest and relaxation. When you have eight hours of sleep, not only do you feel clear and focused for the next day, but your immune system has time to restart and recharge. Countless studies have correlated sleep and improved immune function.
In one such study, the scientists were able to focus on T cells that contribute to the body's immune response Identification and direct killing of infected host cells and activation of other immune cells in this process. The scientists found that sleep is directly linked to improved T-cell function.
"Our results show that sleep has the potential to improve the efficiency of T-cell responses, which is particularly relevant given the high prevalence of sleep disorders and conditions characterized by sleep disorders, such as depression, chronic stress, aging, and shift work . Study co-author Luciana Besedovsky said.
While everyone is a bit different, most scientists suggest getting between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. But don't overdo it either, because oversleeping has been shown to do more harm than good.
Eat a colorful diet
If you have been waiting in line for the fast food drive through, you should probably reconsider your eating habits. It may be a cliché, but it is correct: "You are what you eat". So when you fill your intestines with a double cheeseburger, large french fries, and chocolate shake, the only thing that satisfies your taste buds.
While you can indulge yourself for burgers, pizza, or hot wings on occasion, you need to keep this in moderation. Give your immune system the tools it needs to fight infection by making sure your diet is abundant in fruits and vegetables – especially immune-boosting foods like citrus fruits, red peppers, broccoli, garlic, ginger, and leafy vegetables.
As a simple rule of thumb, follow a colorful diet. Vividly colored fruits and vegetables are generally richest in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.
Take vitamins to help your immune system
While it is always best to get your nutrients and vitamins from food, taking vitamins and supplements is certainly not a bad idea. While there isn't a magic pill or vitamin that has been proven to completely protect you from disease, they do help in areas where your diet may be lacking.
For example, micronutrient deficiencies can have a negative impact on your immune response. And in our busy life, you probably don't pay too much attention to what micronutrients you might be missing out on. Start by taking a multivitamin that contains trace amounts of most of the micronutrients every day to cover your bases.
Additionally, vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc are three immune boosting vitamins that are worth taking. While everyone knows the benefits of vitamin C in fighting infection, understanding the roles of vitamin D and zinc is also important.
While we usually get our vitamin D from the sun, it's more difficult to do in winter. And with studies showing that low vitamin D levels are linked to a higher risk of developing respiratory disease, taking a vitamin D supplement is a good idea. Zinc is another great immune fighter, and studies have shown that elevated zinc levels can inhibit virus replication.
Finally, remember that taking a super dose of a vitamin does not induce “super immunity”. Instead, focus on avoiding nutritional deficiencies in one area, eating healthy, and getting plenty of Zs.
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