Your immune system is made up of many different parts including your skin, tonsils, lymph
nodes and white blood cells. Everyday, these parts work together to protect you from foreign
invaders that could otherwise wreak havoc on your health. Your immune system is pretty
amazing and is successful at fighting off invaders the majority of the time, but there are
instances when it’s just not strong enough to keep you from getting sick.
While your immune health is something you should strive to support year-round, times like these only emphasize the importance of maintaining a strong and healthy immune system. We know you’ve likely read many articles similar to this over the last couple of years, but we also know that there is a lot of conflicting and downright ridiculous information out there. Here are a few of the most simple ways you can have a positive impact on your immune system.
What you eat can play a big role in overall health, including immune health. Each time you eat, it is an opportunity to fill your body with nutrients. Those nutrients provide the essential
nourishment your body needs to properly function. While your goal should be to get a wide
variety of nutrients through your diet, there are a few that seem to be extra important for
supporting immune cells, specifically zinc, vitamin D, and selenium. Meat, Brazil nuts, and fatty
fish like salmon are excellent sources of these nutrients.
One of the simplest ways to eat more nutritiously is by focusing on whole foods - foods in their
natural state. Opt to cook a meal at home rather than heating up a microwave dinner. It doesn’t have to be anything complex, but your body and immune system will thank you.
Hand washing is a habit we are taught early on in life, and with good reason. By practicing good hygiene, like washing your hands regularly, you can stop germs from getting far enough to make you sick or spread to others. Hygiene is one of our first lines of defense.
Washing your hands throughout the day is an excellent way to practice good hygiene. Be sure
to give those hands a good washing after using the restroom, before preparing food, and after
wiping your nose.
Other ways to practice good hygiene include covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough,
wiping down high-traffic areas and objects regularly with disinfectant and keeping all cuts or
wounds properly bandaged.
Stress can be very taxing on the body, particularly on your immune system. Stress increases
cortisol, a hormone. While some cortisol is healthy, high levels can suppress your immune system and make you more susceptible to illnesses and infections.
Managing stress is easier said than done. While often unavoidable, there are strategies you can
utilize to help manage stress. One of the best stress-reducers is exercise. By getting your body
moving, even if just for ten minutes a day, you will release feel-good endorphins and let go of
any built up negative energy.
Working your distraction muscles is another way to manage stress. Giving your brain a few
moments to focus on something else can be a great way to refresh your mind and reduce
anxiety. This might be stepping outside for a few minutes, reading a chapter in a book or turning on your favorite song. You deserve a few moments to yourself and so does your health.
And remember, if you find yourself overwhelmed by stress, never be afraid to reach out to a
professional for help. There is no shame in asking for help and it can be empowering to take
control of your health and wellbeing.
Support your health and the health of others by taking care of yourself.