A healthy immune system is so important right now, especially in the midst of our typical cold & flu season and our not-so-typical coronavirus pandemic. A healthy immune system is like having a superhero in your back pocket: it gives you the strength to be able to fight off viruses and illnesses at best and at worst, mitigate their impact on you so you don't get as sick as you might have without one. So today I wanted to share 5 simple ways you can boost your immune system that will help you feel great.
Vitamin C is not something that our bodies make but we need it for healthy immune function, bone structure, iron absorption and more. Taking Vitamin C has been shown to reduce the effects of colds so the symptoms aren't as severe and so that the illness doesn't last as long.
To maximize the effects of Vitamin C, it's important to be getting enough of this vitamin daily. While you can definitely add a multi-vitamin to your regimen (great idea regardless), the best way to get this vitamin is through the foods you eat. Foods like citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwis, broccoli, red bell peppers and spinach are great sources of Vitamin C. A pro tip for getting the most out of spinach and broccoli is to cook them as minimally as possible (I love adding spinach to my morning smoothies).
If you get your 5 recommended servings of fruits and veggies a day, this should give you all the Vitamin C your body needs every day.
One of the best ways to improve your overall health and wellness is to eat more whole and minimally processed foods. This is one of the reasons why meal prepping is an important and fundamental healthy lifestyle skill. Meal prepping enables you to make meals and snacks in advance so you don't have to rely on processed foods which are often nutrient deficient.
If you aren't meal prepping regularly, then focus on starting with 1-2 meals to start with. This way you gradually build the skill and habit so that over time, you become proficient with making healthier versions of your favourite snacks and meals. If you are new to meal planning and prepping, I share how to easily become a meal prepping superhero.
Sleep is one of the best restoratives for keeping our bodies healthy and our hormones balanced. Not getting enough sleep can affect your mood, your weight, your health (and your blood pressure) down to the cellular level.
Most of us don't get enough sleep however and changing this is one of the key ways you can improve your overall health and wellness, thereby boosting your immune system (and all the other systems in your body).
It is recommended that we get between 7- 9 hours of sleep a night in order to improve our health, energy, focus & performance. To accomplish this, it means making sleep a priority and creating both a space that is conducive to sleeping and a sleep ritual that enables you to get enough sleep every night. It sounds simple but most of us struggle with this step.
Right now, in addition to all the regular stressors in our lives, most of us are also feeling the stress and anxiety from the ever spreading coronavirus. All of this stress takes a toll on our bodies and can suppress our immune system so it's important to manage that stress everyday by practicing self care activities.
Some of the best self care activities I know of include: yoga & stretching, meditation, reading (books - not social media), limiting time on social media, going for walks or hikes, taking long hot baths and spending quality time with your family.
In addition to that, working out is one of the key lifestyle activities that you should not be giving up on. If you are used to working out but don't want to go to your gym, consider signing up for online workouts that will enable you to workout in your home with minimal equipment. If you have nature trails near you, get out and go for a daily hike or bike ride to stay active. Regardless of what you choose, working out is one of the best ways I know of to manage stress and stay healthy.
Water is essential for overall health and your body needs it quite literally, to survive. Drinking water daily is one of the essential steps you can take to strengthen your body's immune system, optimize your body's natural processes and prevent illnesses.
When it comes to staying hydrated, water is the ideal choice as it helps aid digestion and the absorption of nutrients in the body. Drinking water also lessens congestion should you get sick and allows mucous to be coughed out of the body.
You can also 'eat' your water as well by adding foods like: cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, brussel sprouts, oranges, apples and strawberries to your diet.
When it comes to how much water you should be drinking, most of us know to drink between 10 - 15 cups of water a day. This amount can include a combination of water, fruits & veggies and coffe and tea.
The bottom line is, the more steps you take everyday to boost your overall health the stronger your immune system will get over time. Making mindful choices about your nutrition and your lifestyle are the best steps towards becoming - and staying - healthy all year long.
For more health and nutrition resources, visit my resources page.