A healthy immune system is a boon at all stages of your life. Whether you want to maintain your current good health or improve the way you feel in the future, these tips will make sure you’re ready to fight off anything that comes your way.
1) Get Enough Sleep
Getting an adequate amount of sleep is fundamental to maintaining a strong immune system. When you sleep, your body produces cytokines, a type of protein necessary for your immune response. Sleeping also gives your body time to repair damage and attack infections. Lack of sleep can make medical treatments and vaccines ineffective. On the other hand, getting enough sleep has been shown to greatly improve recovery times for most conditions.
Adults need around 8 hours of sleep a night. If you don’t feel well, adding an extra hour or two can often be a good idea. Try to make up for lost sleep by taking naps or sleeping in a little late on the weekends.
2) Eat a Healthy Diet
Fruits and vegetables aren’t a magical cure for any illness, but maintaining a healthy diet can help keep your immune system in peak condition. You’ll need to eat well for at least a month or two before you notice real effects, but that just means you should start as soon as possible.
A good diet is composed of fruits, vegetables, and a healthy mix of carbs, fats, and proteins. Look for unprocessed foods that are low in sodium and trans fats. Most of all, trust the way foods make you feel; if something leaves you feeling greasy or heavy, it’s probably not a healthy choice.
3) Stay Active
Exercise is an important part of good health. In addition to increasing strength and stamina, exercise can also help your body fight off infections. As with a healthy diet, exercise will have the greatest impact on your immune system if you develop a routine before you actually get sick.
If you live a relatively sedentary lifestyle, you can improve your immune system by going for a daily walk or running through a basic exercise routine. Try to get your heart rate up at least three or four times a week, and make movement a regular part of your lifestyle. Consider starting an active hobby or sport to keep you interested in exercise on the long term.
4) Reduce Stress
Getting overly stressed can weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to illness. Using that same logic, reducing your stress may prevent you from catching a disease or may help you fight it off more quickly.
Stress can be caused by taking on too much work or by worrying about things that are out of your control. Make a list of the things that are stressful in your current life, and see how many of them you can attend to. After you’ve taken action to reduce your immediate workload, give yourself permission to relax about the things you cannot change.
5) Maintain Hygiene
Your habits are your immune system’s first defense. If viral particles never enter your body, they can’t turn into an infection. By keeping yourself and your environment clean, you greatly reduce your risk of catching COVID-19 or any other disease.
Start by washing your hands every time you touch something that could have been in contact with COVID-19. You should also get in the habit of taking a shower and changing clothes when you return from another environment. Soap destroys coronavirus particles, so use plenty every time you disinfect.
Next, make sure to keep your environment clean. Sanitize high-touch surfaces like counters and doorknobs at least once a day. Stay on top of chores like dishes, laundry, and vacuuming; the cleaner your house is, the healthier you and your family will be.
A strong immune system comes from a healthy lifestyle. Sleep, eat, exercise, and relax; as long as you maintain good habits, you’ll have a much easier time fighting off the next cold you catch.