By Meriem Cherif
Currently, we're living in very uncertain times; the COVID-19 pandemic has changed our old routines, and created new ones to follow. Now more than ever, prioritizing health and wellness is key. You may already know the different steps taken to protect yourself and your family, like wearing a mask, disinfecting surfaces, and washing your hands. However, an important factor to staying safe during the pandemic is also to protect your immune system, which many people overlook. Your immune system is the network of organs, cells, and proteins that fight against sickness. The immune system consists of two components: the innate and adaptive immune system. The strength of your adaptive immune system is within your control, and taking care of your body will produce stronger responses against future sickness. Especially as we near the colder months and flu season, you can make many lifestyle changes to boost your immune system.
The Big Three
When working on health and wellness, priority should be given to The Big Three: getting enough sleep, eating fruits and vegetables, and maintaining an exercise regimen. These practices are pivotal for having a healthy immune system, and improving these parts of your life will lead to results that can be felt almost immediately. When you sleep, your body is taking the time to heal itself by restoring damaged muscles, producing white blood cells, and releasing chemicals important to healthy body function. Adults should aim for at least seven hours of sleep a night, and children should be sleeping for at least ten hours. In addition, healthy eating will make a big difference in the strength of your immune system. Eating the right amounts of fruits, vegetables, grains, fats, and proteins nourish your body for the activities of the day. Limiting refined sugar intake will reduce inflammation, increase energy levels, and improve focus. Finally, being physically active reduces stress and lower your risk of getting certain diseases, like high blood pressure and diabetes.
In addition to the big three, reducing your stress levels through self care will improve your health greatly. Staying up to date with vaccines also aides the immune system, helping it create the right antibodies to fight against disease. Together, improving these habits will strengthen your immune system, reducing the chances of contracting sicknesses like COVID-19, and making the healing process much faster. Although many changes right now may be out of your control, taking charge of your health is within your power, and represents an important way to protect your health and well-being.