8 ways to boost immunity
Solid immune function relies on many factors, but fundamental health and fitness habits can help. Read on for 8 ways to boos immunity and how to master them.
1. Focus on whole foods and key nutrients
Eating plenty of whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, protein, and healthy fats will help you to avoid nutrient deficiencies. Buying and cooking in bulk, then freezing meals will help you to always have nutritious food available.
Certain nutrients strengthen white blood cells’ ability to fight infection.
Protein – A building block of antibodies. Try to get a serving of protein with every meal and snack.
Vitamin C – Will help prevent and fight infections. Remember, whole foods are always best! Try to get 1-2 servings every day.
Vitamin D – Helps protect against respiratory tract infections. If you don’t get a lot of exposure to the sun, talk to your doctor about a liquid supplement with a dose anywhere from 600-4000 IU/day.
Zinc – Supports T Cells. T cells can kill virus infected cells and can help prevent disease and end infection. Whole food sources are best (whole grains, oysters and scallops).
Omega 3 Fatty Acids – Reduce inflammation and help white blood cells do their job. Sources include chia seeds, flax seeds, and walnuts, as well as fatty fish, but you can also ask your doctor about supplementation if you do not eat fish.
2. Achieve and maintain a healthy body fat level
Try Precision Nutrition’s hand portions method.
• Protein: 1-2 palms per meal
• Vegetables: 1-2 fists per meal
• Carbs: 1-2 cupped handfuls per meal
• Fats: 1-2 thumbs per meal
3. Support gut health
Eat foods with pre- and probiotics like bananas, yogurt, and sauerkraut, which can boost good gut bacteria. Struggling to resolve gut issues? Try an elimination diet to detect food intolerances and sensitivities.
4. Move your body
Exercise has long term health-protective benefits. It’s also a great way to reduce stress and enhance immunity.
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5. Moderate your alcohol intake
It’s not clear how alcohol affects immunity, but there’s plenty of evidence that heavy drinking jeopardizes health. Precision Nutrition suggests keeping your drinking light to moderate (at or under 7 drinks per week for women, 14 for men).
6. Sleep well
Get 7 to 9 quality hours of sleep by incorporating the following:
• Turn off electronics 30 min before bed and use blue light blocking glasses
• Clear your mind by reading, meditation, or gentle movement
• Stick to a reasonable bedtime, ideally before 12 am
• Make your room as dark as possible
• Keep your sleep area cool and clean
7. Balance your stress load
While its probably unrealistic to completely eliminate stress in your life, Finding a middle ground might be more attainable. Ideas could be prioritizing downtime and parasympathetic activity, like meditation, a nature walk, or spending time with a loved one or friend and laughing.
8. Remember hygiene fundamentals
• Thoroughly wash your hands for 20 seconds. Don’t forget to wash wrists, nail beds, under your nails and between fingers
• Avoid touching your face
• Disinfect frequently used objects and surfaces
• Practice food safety, such as sanitizing food prep surfaces and eating areas, cook food to the proper internal temperatures, and refrigerate perishable food within two hours of cooking them.