Your immune system is like your bodyguard. It politely turns away unwelcome guests that come knocking at your body’s door, and it’s prepared to fight anything that threatens your health. Your immune system has your back, so it’s important to give it the support it needs to keep you feeling your best.
Keep reading to learn four ways you can support your immune system so it’s always ready to fight for you when duty calls.
Eat healthy from A-Z
From apples to zucchini, a colorful diet grounded in plant-based foods will give your body the vitamins, minerals, and other powerful compounds to support its natural defense systems. This includes helping to create immune cells in your body and acting as antioxidants to keep your cells and tissues healthy.* Beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, and zinc are just some immune-boosting nutrients, and they can be found in a range of foods such as sweet potatoes, mangoes, kale, and nuts.*
Does eating grapefruit for breakfast, carrot sticks at lunch, and broccoli for dinner make you cringe? The answer may depend on the recipe. The web is full of ideas for bringing flavors to life (and mixing in fiber-rich grains for gut health). And don’t forget that protein packs a powerful punch, too. Lean meats, dairy products, legumes, and seafood all contain essential amino acids (building blocks) for building muscle, repairing cells, and supporting the immune system.
Be active throughout the day
Engaging in regular physical activity has heart and bone health benefits, supports weight management, improves flexibility and range of motion, and helps support your immune system.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week. That may sound like a lot, but it’s just 20-30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.
And remember, you don’t have to work out in the gym to reap the benefits of exercise. Find ways to move your body that you enjoy – take a stroll through your neighborhood, join a group exercise class, go for a bike ride, or get to work in your garden.
Manage your mental health
Your mental health and immune health are connected. So, when you’re struggling with mental health, your immune system may have a hard time doing its job. Keep some stress management techniques on hand to help you cope when life gets tough, like meditating, breathing exercises, going for a walk, or meeting up with a few close friends. Everyone manages their dress differently – it’s important to find what works for you.
Know your immune health risk
Older adults, people with certain health conditions, or those with weakened immune systems may need to take extra precautions to keep themselves healthy. Talk to your doctor about your immune health risk, and be sure to wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and stay home as much as possible when you’re sick. Now, you can even visit the doctor from the comfort of your own home. Telehealth services are on the rise, and they’re a great way to connect with your healthcare team while keeping you and your family safe. Contact your health insurance provider if you have questions about the availability of telehealth services. Your local health department can also provide information about available remote services in your area.
Show your immune system the respect and appreciation it deserves. Focus on filling your plate with nutrient-dense foods, participate in regular physical activity, practice stress management techniques, and take extra precautions to keep yourself safe and healthy as you’re out and about.