Of course, everyone is anxious about getting sick right now, thanks to the coronavirus. My clients have started asking me what they can do to keep their immune system in top shape. Your immune system is an amazing and complex microorganism-fighting machine. It defends your body from harmful virus and bacteria that enter your body through mouth or nose. Because it is so complex and involves other systems in your body, there is no guaranteed way to ensure that some microorganisms won’t get past your defenses and cause a cold, virus, or infection. However, you certainly can do some basic things every day to give it the best shot possible. There is no magic bullet on this list (sorry). There is no strange concoction of herbs and fruits mixed together in a drink (thank goodness). Or no pill you can take (save your money for more exciting things). It’s the basic (sometimes boring) things that will give us the best chances:
- Get enough sleep. Your body cannot fight off sickness if it is tired and weak. Make sleep a top priority. The recommendation is 7-9 hours of sleep per night. (To learn more about sleep, attend my Masters Group class on May 12th or May 14th: The Healing Power of Sleep).
- Take a multivitamin as “insurance” if you eat very few fruits and vegetables. Don’t waste your money on super- or mega-vitamins. The extra vitamins and minerals don’t provide extra benefits. A simple, multi-vitamin and mineral supplement is all you need. Make sure it is certified by an independent lab or you might be wasting your money. (If you need a good one, I offer Opurity vitamins in my office.)
- Wash your hands often, especially before eating and preparing food.
- Eat yogurt with live and active cultures daily. The probiotics in yogurt feed your immune system.
- Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Make sure to get a variety of colors to ensure you are eating a wide range of immune-boosting nutrients.
- Reduce stress by taking on less projects and tasks, deep breathing, yoga, tai chi, meditation, or prayer. (I’ll be teaching about this at Masters Group on July 12th and July 14th: Implementing Mindfulness into your Busy Life.)
- Eat protein with each meal to meet your minimum recommendation of 0.35 grams x your body weight. Protein is found in dairy foods, meat, seafood, nuts, beans, and tofu.
- Don’t age. (I had to throw this one in there.) The older you get, the weaker your immune system becomes. There is nothing we can do about that, though.
By following these steps as best as you can, you’ll be well on your way to keeping your immune system performing at its best.
If you’ve got nutrition concerns or questions, apply to become a client with one of our highly knowledgeable dietitians here.