Your immune system is the first line of defense against germs and illness, and it’s essential in keeping you at the top of your game. Staying healthy is key when helping your first line of defense, your immune system, fight off any uninvited pathogens. Luckily there are ways you can protect and boost your physical and mental health. Although there is a scary virus going around, we have compiled eight scientifically proven ways to help you and your immune system stay healthy during these unknown times.
1. Reduce Unnecessary Stress
Yes, we know this step is a tough one to follow right now, but finding ways to relieve stress and anxiety is going to be key for your immune system and to balance your overall well-being. We are all aware that chronic stress triggers your body to release the cortisol hormone and promotes inflammation in the body, which sets off imbalances in your immune system and makes you more prone to infections. To make matters worse, chronic stress then blocks your body’s ability to fight off future infections. Try going for a walk, doing yoga, taking a bath or even another self care ritual. Your body will thank you!
2. Wash Your Hands
And when we say wash your hands, we mean, wash them, A LOT! Not only does this reduce the amount of germs coming in contact with your body, but it also prevents your immune system from getting overwhelmed. Washing for at least 20 seconds is key and be sure to use warm water. If running soap and water isn’t available, you can substitute hand sanitizer, but soap and water will always be the best option!
3. Get More Sleep
Sleep and a strong immune system go hand in hand. When you don’t get enough sleep, not only are you cranky and irritable, but you are also leaving your body more susceptible to illness. If you’re having trouble sleeping, we can recommend a few tips. Try sticking to a regular schedule – even if you are working from home right now and out of your regular rhythm. Adults should aim to get 7 or more hours of sleep each night, while teens need 8–10 hours and younger children and infants need up to 14 hours. Try sleeping in a completely dark room or using a sleep mask, and adding a sound machine to drown out any background noise may also help you. Also limiting screen time before bed is a big one. The blue light emitted from your phone, TV, or computer has been shown to disrupt your body’s natural wake-sleep cycle. And if all of those methods fail, we love using our Le Pragma CBD tinctures to help calm your body and promote a deeper sleep.
4. Eat More Whole Foods like Fresh Fruits and Veggies
Fresh foods are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that may give you that extra line of defense against harmful pathogens. The lack of sodium and preservatives in fresh foods make it the far better choice. The antioxidants in these foods protect against free radicals and may help decrease inflammation. Chronic inflammation is linked to numerous health conditions, including heart disease, Alzheimer’s and various cancers. Fruits and vegetables are also rich in nutrients like vitamin C, which may help reduce the duration of the common cold and give your immune system an extra boost.
5. Decrease Alcohol Consumption
When times get stressful, many people turn to that glass of wine or glass of whiskey to help chill out. Alcohol in moderation is OK, but countless studies have proven the harmful ways it can suppress your immune system. Alcohol is also a diuretic and can cause dehydration, which is not what a healthy immune system wants. Try switching that glass of wine for a hot cup of tea. You may be surprised at how much you enjoy it!
6. Stay Hydrated
60% of an adult human body is water, so staying hydrated is very important! Dehydration can be attributed to many health problems like headaches, lack of focus, mood swings, poor digestion, and poor heart and kidney function. These complications can increase your susceptibility to illness and make your overall well-being poor. If plain water really isn’t your thing, try adding a slice of lemon or cucumber for a little taste boost, but try your best to steer clear of adding anything too sugar heavy.
7. Limit Excess Sugar
We get it, quarantine snacking is a real thing! Suddenly being confined to your home means constant snacking is more convenient – and more frequent. Try to combat the excessive grazing by chewing sugar-free gum or brewing a cup of tea. Curbing your sugar intake can decrease body inflammation and even aid in weight loss, which then reduces your risk of chronic health conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease – both of which can weaken your immune system. Try reaching for a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts if you get snacky. This will also prevent you from hitting the afternoon crash often attributed with sugary snacks.
Exercise is the number one way to keep a healthy mind and body connection, especially during stressful times. Being physically active reduces your chances of picking up a cold or flu by boosting antibodies and white blood cells, which help your body defend against any illnesses. You don’t have to train at max capacity for two hours to see a difference, even moderate or light exercise is beneficial! Jogging, biking, walking, swimming, and hiking are great options. Regular exercise can also reduce inflammation and promote the healthy turnover of immune cells.
Overall, you can make several lifestyle and dietary changes today to strengthen your immune system and help it fight off any illnesses. It’s important to remember that no one thing can prevent you from any sort of virus or illness, but hopefully these eight helpful tips may inspire you to keep helping your body stay strong and work for you!