You know the drill – wash your hands, don’t touch your face, wear a mask, and keep a good distance from others in public places. And we are following these guidelines as best we can.
But do these guidelines provide perfect protection? Of course not. We continue to touch things and forget to sanitize; we handle money; we rub an itchy eye or nose; we may get close to someone who coughs.
So, are there other things we can do to promote our wellness? Yes, absolutely. We can boost our immune systems in a variety of ways. And a strong immune system fights every disease – bacterial or viral.
Here are ways to boost your immune system and thus your wellness, as you follow the other guidelines put into place, of course.
Diet, Diet, Diet
This cannot be overstated. A body that has the right nutrients, at the right levels, is a disease-fighting machine. Here are the key nutrients that boost immune systems:
- Vitamin C: This is probably the most important nutrient for the immune system. There has been a lot of research on its benefits. It increases white blood cell production and interferon levels. Interferon coats cell surfaces, preventing viruses from entry.Vitamin C is found naturally in citrus fruits but in a number of other fruits and veggies too.And here’s another tip. If you ingest a large supply of Vitamin C at once, your body will eliminate what it does not need at the moment. Better to eat foods high in Vitamin C in smaller doses throughout the day.
- Vitamin E: This powerful vitamin does not get the publicity it should. It is a powerful antioxidant that boosts the immune system. The body needs about 100 milligrams a day, although those who smoke and drink alcohol regularly will need more. It’s easy to get enough Vitamin E if your diet includes seeds, grains, and vegetable oils.
- Beta Carotene: This nutrient stimulates product of infection-fighting and T-cells and is also a strong antioxidant. It also turns into Vitamin A in your body, another immune-boosting agent.
- Bioflavonoids: These phytonutrients protect the body against external pollution and germs. What they do is fill up cell receptor sites, so that the bad guys cannot get into the cell membrane. Five servings of colorful fruits and veggies a day will give you plenty.
- Zinc: This mineral helps increase white blood cell production and the release of antibodies from cells. It’s best to get zinc from foods because you don’t more than 25 milligrams a day. Meats, seafood, and beans are good sources of zinc.
- Garlic: Another nutrient that boosts white blood cell production, but it also increases antibody production and acts as an antioxidant to rid the body of those “bad boys,” free radicals.
- Selenium: Here is a mineral that increases the production of killer cells that go after cancer cells. As an immune booster, though, it operates to improve the production of white cells. You can get plenty of this mineral through seafood, whole grains, nuts and many vegetables.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: There was actually a study done once on school kids. Those who had plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids had less respiratory infections. And other studies show that when taken in combination with Vitamin E, they will collaborate to boost the immune system even more. Best sources? Fatty fish (mackerel, tuna and salmon).
- Strong, spicy foods: Here is the value of these foods. They contain natural expectorants which will break up mucus so it can be expelled. Onions, hot peppers, and radishes are a few of these.
Gil Elliot, a blogger and education expert, understands the importance of diet. Students are not consistent or mindful about their diets, and they are thus susceptible to whatever is floating around those dorms and classrooms. I try to blog about diet regularly to keep reminding them that the right foods will keep them much healthier.”
The body repairs itself and fights disease when it is in a restful state. While diet can do a great deal, do not discount the power of sleep to fight off both bacteria and viruses. Shoot for 7 hours each night. Eileen Garrison, a customer service manager says this: “Our customers are students, and they are notorious for not getting enough sleep. Many of them tell us this when they are sick and need help with their writing as a result.”
While it is not known exactly how physical activity boosts an immune system, but there is some evidence of the following:
- Physical activity may actually help to flush out bacteria or viruses, especially from the airways and lungs.
- Even moderate exercise can cause changes in white blood cells and antibodies because they circulate faster and may track down and kill the bad guys.
- Exercise will also reduce the production of stress hormones. And it is known that prolonged stress can lower immunities.