Last week I talked about foods to include to protect your immune system. This week I want to talk about some actions we can take to stay healthy and sane during this time of quarantine. This time is most likely going to be challenging for most of us. Our activities and interactions with others have been severely curtailed, making our world appear very small. For many of us, our jobs and income have also been impacted. All these factors lead to stress and anxiety which can have a negative impact on our immune system. Below are some more ideas to help protect our immune system.
- Eat fruits and vegetables: I know right now we are all craving comfort food but now is the time to load our bodies with fruits and vegetables. These natural disease fighters fill us with the vitamins and minerals we need to keep our bodies strong. Be sure to “eat the rainbow” to ensure we are getting a variety of vitamins.
- Get a good night’s sleep. Be sure to sleep between 7-9 hours a night. This is our bodies time for rest and repair. Don’t shortchange it in this stressful time.
- Wash your hands. Even with our contact with the outside world severely limited, we are still exposed to germs. Be sure to wash your hands on a regular basis.
- Limit alcohol. Alcohol has been shown to reduce the white blood cell count in your body. White blood cells are an important part of your body’s natural defense mechanism.
- Stay positive. Negative thoughts are stressful for your body and mind and lead to chemical reactions that decrease your immunity. However, if you cultivate a positive attitude, these uplifting thoughts can release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.
- Stay active. The benefits to our immune system from exercise are many folds. Moving our body has been shown to increase the “T-cells” or immune cells in the body and it boosts the immune system by decreasing the stress hormones in the body. Any sort of movement is positive but being outside (of course, while following the social distancing guidelines) brings even more benefit.
These are just a few ideas to help keep your immune system working at its best.
Photo from flickr.