The immune system is a collection of billions of cells that travel through the bloodstream. They move in and out of tissues and organs, defending the body against foreign bodies (antigens), such as bacteria, viruses, and cancerous cells. As the coronavirus (COVID-19) has manifested into a global pandemic, we wanted to share the following ways to keep your immune system strong.
Make sure you are getting adequate sleep. A lack of sleep can result in the reduction of infection-fighting antibodies, making you more susceptible to a virus, such as COVID-19. Studies show that adults need 7-9 hours, and children may need as much as 10 hours of sleep per night.
Staying hydrated is important in keeping your immune system healthy. Drinking water carries oxygen to the cells, keeping them healthy. Water also helps to rid toxins from the body. The rule of thumb is to take half your body weight and drink that in ounces. As an example, if you weight 200 pounds, drink 100 ounces of water daily.
Although there is not a miracle food that will prevent viruses or diseases, eating minimally processed, nutrient-dense foods will help to hedge your bet on not getting sick. Vegetables and fruits are rich in vitamins and minerals, which are important in keeping your immune system strong. Our best advice is to add vegetables and fruits in various colors to ensure you get a broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals.
Our stance on vitamin and mineral supplementation is that you should try to get them from real food. That said, if you don’t eat enough vegetables or fruits, you might want to consider taking a multi-vitamin, along with vitamins C & D.
Most people exercise for heart health and aesthetics, but did you know that exercise is critical for immunity? Exercise strengthens the immune system by increasing circulation, which also increases the transportation of infection-fighting molecules throughout your body. The faster these molecules address the infection, the less likely you are to get sick. Physical activity could flush out bacteria from the lungs and airways, decreasing your chance of getting upper respiratory tract infections.
Stress decreases the body’s lymphocytes – the white blood cells that help fight off infection. The lower your lymphocyte level, the more at risk you are for the common cold and viruses. Ongoing stress also causes your body to produce higher levels of cortisol, which may cause chronic inflammation. If this happens, the body is always on high alert and might not have the resources to defend against antigens.
We also wanted to share the following coronavirus prevention tips that were issued by the CDC. You can protect yourself and help prevent spreading the virus to others if you:
- Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a disposable tissue or flexed elbow when you cough or sneeze.
- Avoid close contact (1 meter or 3 feet) with unwell people.
- Stay home and self-isolate from others in the household if you feel unwell.
- Touch your eyes, nose, or mouth if your hands are not clean.