There is still so much we don’t know about the human immune system. It is an intricate balance of many different components working together to protect us from harmful pathogens, like the COVID-19 virus. Without our immune systems, we would never build up an immunity to these pathogens, leaving us vulnerable to infection by the same ones repeatedly.
While there are many vitamins, supplements, and home remedies that claim to boost the immune system, the science just isn’t there yet. That doesn’t mean there is no validity to some of the anecdotal claims of ginger, garlic, or yogurt improving immune system function; it just means we need to investigate the claims more before we can say for sure that they are true.
Science does, however, support the idea that living a healthy lifestyle protects and improves function in every system of your body. Follow these healthy lifestyle tips to keep yourself in the best shape possible as we enter the cold, flu, and now, possibly the COVID season:
Don’t smoke (or vape)
We all know that smoking is bad and vaping doesn’t seem to be much better. Not to mention that they both are addictive, drag down your overall wellness, and cause an unpleasant body odor.
Eat lots of fruits and veggies
Fruits and vegetables should make up a sizable portion of your daily diet. Choose whole, minimally processed produce when available. If fresh produce isn’t nearby, there’s nothing wrong with fruits and vegetables in a can or jar. Any way you can get them on your plate is a good way!
Moderate exercise just a few times a week can make a tremendous difference in how you feel and your body’s ability to fight off germs. It’s been proven that regular exercise boosts your mood just as much as prescription medications for those suffering from mild depression and anxiety. So, sweat it out for an hour, three times per week, and enjoy improved health and a better physique.
Stay at a healthy weight
Calculate your ideal weight using the BMI scale, and try to keep your weight as close as possible to that. No extra points for losing extra weight as… being too small can be just as stressful on your body as being too large.
Drink alcohol in moderation or not at all
A drink or two each night isn’t harmful, but it’s hard for many people to stop there. If you get carried away with the drinks and have a hard time putting them down, opt to not drink at all. If you can control yourself, be sure to only drink in moderation for your best immune health.
Wash your hands
This might seem like old news, but hand washing is still one of the very best ways to fight germs and disease. Just wash with soap and warm water for 20 seconds, then dry with a clean towel or air dryer.
Cook your food thoroughly
You may not think of food temperatures when talking about immunity, but food poisoning can put a serious strain on your body. Add some nasty germs or a virus on top of that, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. By cooking all of your food to the recommended internal temperatures, you’ll be sure not to kick yourself while you’re already down.
Stress can put anyone in their grave. It takes so much of a toll on the body that people who are under heavy stress are actually more prone to disease and illness. Spend some time alone each day to unwind. Meditation is a great tool to learn how to cope with stress.
You’ve probably heard it a million times by now, but if you haven’t already, please get vaccinated. Whether it’s your annual flu shot, the pneumonia shot for elderly patients, or the COVID-19 shot, getting vaccinated is the best way to avoid sickness and keep those around you safe.
Winter will be here before we know it, so get ready now by boosting your immune system with healthy lifestyle choices. Simply eating better, avoiding tobacco and alcohol, and ditching the things that stress you out can have a huge impact on your immune system’s functioning. For more information or to schedule a time to speak with one of our doctors about what you can do to stay healthy, call AFC Urgent Care in St. Petersburg at (727) 685-3794 or contact us online.