As a health care practitioner I am always concerned for the health and safety of my patients. With the impact of the COVID-19in Canada and worldwide, I wanted to address this newsletter with advice on how to keep your immune system strong during this difficult time.
Having a strong immune system is vital to prevent/fight any unwanted virus’ or bacteria that penetrate our system. Our immune system does a incredible job by fighting against disease-causing microorganisms, however, sometimes it fails. How can you prevent that from happening? How can we boost our immune system?
Having a Healthy Lifestyle:
Your first line of defence is having a healthy lifestyle. Consider these strategies to help boost your immune system:
- Exercise regularly (as easy as 30min of dedicated walking)
- Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Get enough sleep (7-8hrs)
- Proper hygiene, such as washing hands
- Minimizing stress
- Don’t smoke
- Eliminate or limit alcohol consumption
Now all of these strategies are something you probably already know, but it’s important to be reminded of them. If you really want to keep your immune system strong, try these strategies.
Now I want to dive a little bit more into the impact that stress, diet and exercise have on your immune system.
Your body needs nourishment to help fuel your natural defences against harmful microorganisms. People who are malnourished are more vulnerable to infectious disease because of a lack of micronutrients. It has been discovered that deficiencies in zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid and vitamins A, B6, C and E can alter immune responses. Fruits and vegetables will provide you with most of the micronutrients you need to fuel up your system warriors. However, if you aren’t a big fruits and vegetables eater then take a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement as a substitute.
The mind and body relationship is a complex topic and it is consistently being tested in the research industry. We do know that stress can cause a wide variety of ailments such as upset stomach, hives and even heart disease. Stress, especially chronic stress can cause a hormonal response that may reduce the number of white blood cells (WBC) in the body. This will reduce your ability to fight infections. Stress is difficult to define. People react to different things based on their personal lives and it’s tough to fight it. Meditation is something that can help reduce stress. It’s as easy as spending 5 minutes closing your eyes and breathing.
Exercise is a major pillar to healthy living. Consistent exercise creates major positive changes to the body. Exercise improves the cardiovascular system, lowers blood pressure, reduces blood sugar and controls body weight. In regards to your immune system, exercise will increase blood circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently.
Keeping your immune system strong in this global pandemic is vital. Your immune system is your front line against any harmful substances. Fuel your front line with healthy habits so they can protect you!