During this time of great uncertainty and feelings of helplessness regarding our future, there are still lots of things we can control in our lives that help us to maintain our health and mental well-being.
Diet – Choosing foods that support your immune system can help ward off illness, such as:
- Omega-3 rich fish (salmon, tuna, oysters)
- Whole grains (wild rice, oatmeal, sprouted wheat)
- Beans and legumes (black beans, lentils, chickpeas)
- Nuts and seeds (walnuts, almonds, flaxseed, pumpkin)
- Fruits (berries)
- Vegetables (green leafy vegetables)
- Olive oil
- Spices – garlic, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger
- Green tea
- Cocoa & Dark Chocolate 70% or higher (no added sugar)
- Consider taking additional vitamins, micronutrients, and supplements to support immunity, such as a high-quality multivitamin, magnesium, vitamin C, zinc and digestive enzymes. Probiotics and powdered greens have also been shown to support immune and gut health.
Exercise – Being physically active will also help boost your immune system and decrease stress. Moderate to high intensity cardiovascular (CV) exercise is ideal. Examples include:
- Going for a run or a brisk walk outside
- Using any equipment you may have at home such as a treadmill, elliptical machine or stationary bike
Try for 20-30 minutes every day if possible. CV exercise results in the production of more white blood cells, which combat bacteria and viruses, and promotes improved circulation.
Sleep – Getting lots of sleep promotes healing of our mind and body; your body is stronger when it’s rested. It needs plenty of sleep so its systems can do their job of fending off and eliminating illness. To recover from daily life and avoid sabotaging your immune system, you need a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Practice good sleep hygiene, including:
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and big meals before bed, but don’t go to bed hungry.
- Do some gentle stretches before bed, allowing for muscle relaxation and healing.
- Go to bed at the same time each night and wake at the same time each morning, even if this is tiring as you begin your new routine.
- Avoid TV, electronics and working right before bed or in bed.
- Do a relaxed breathing exercise (deliberately slow your breathing as you rest one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest; breathe deeply into your abdomen instead of your chest).
- If you can’t sleep, get up and do something boring to induce sleep before returning to bed.
Hydrate – Try to drink half your body weight in ounces of water (max a gallon) daily. Avoid drinking beverages with added sweeteners, sugar, caffeine and alcohol.