Physical distancing and washing our hands is important and preventative but we need to go farther than that and improve the health of our immune system – we need to focus on ways to keep our immune system healthy.
We’ve heard it often, but it is important to remember to get good, restorative sleep of at least 7 hours per night. Exercise regularly. Eat a diet rich with vegetables and fruits of all colors at every meal. Avoid sugars and heavy starch loads. Stop smoking. Consume minimal to no alcohol. Avoid environmental toxins as much as possible. Reduce stress.
We understand saying the same things over and over again may not create change, after all we are currently dealing with working from home, home schooling our kids, financial insecurity, and lack of social interaction. But, we need to realize that making life-style changes and improving our sleep, diet, stress, and yes habits will play an important role in protecting our immune system.
Why is protecting our immune system so important? If our immune system is working appropriately then if we are exposed to a virus the innate immune system should respond immediately triggering the adaptive immune response. Inflammation is created and necessary to clear the infection. After the infection is cleared, in a normal functioning immune system the inflammation stops, and we go back to a healthy baseline immune system.
Poor diet, lack of restorative sleep, too much stress, and poor habits prevent our immune system from protecting us and fighting off infections. As today’s health challenges have taught us, it’s time to take control and make the required changes to enjoy a healthy and long life.