HEART OF WELLNESS Immune-strong movement and nutrition – Barnstable Patriot

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David Sauro

Third article of three-part series.

With the fight against COVID-19 for the past several months, we understand the importance of wearing a mask, washing your hands often and social distancing. Now that winter is here, we also need to take the necessary precautions to fight against the flu and the common cold, in addition to COVID. Medical experts also focus on the importance of boosting your immune system to give you the edge to stay healthy. It is more important than ever to make a commitment to a heathy lifestyle that will help to strengthen your immune system.

While there is no magic “healthy pill,” there are ways to make your immunity powers stronger. In our previous articles we talked about getting Vitamin D, and those “S” words, sleep, stress, and sugar. Getting enough quality sleep and reducing stress and sugar is necessary to enhance our immune system. This article will be on the importance of getting enough movement, proper nutrition, and hydration.

To move your body daily is a powerful way to boost your immune system. Regular exercise is one of the pillars for healthy living. It improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and protects against a variety of diseases. The benefit of an active body is good circulation, which allows blood cells and the lymph to move through the body freely and do their job effectively.

“Being active causes your body’s antibodies and white blood cells to circulate more rapidly, which means they may be able to detect and zero in on illness more quickly. Being active also lowers stress hormones, which reduces your chances of getting sick,” said Dr. Mark Moyad from the University of Michigan Medical Center. If you already have a regular exercise routine, keep it up. If you do not, try to move as often as you can throughout the day. The body functions better when physically active every day. A minimum of 10 minutes a day but ideally up to 30 minutes a day. Exercise is individual, so always listen to your body, and consult a physician or healthcare professional if making a major exercise change. Moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, jogging, swimming, yoga, and light hiking, can reduce inflammation and help your immune cells regenerate regularly. Exercise improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure and helps control body weight. Like anything else, moderation is the key to exercise, finding that sweet spot that works for your body.

Diet is a big part of living a healthy lifestyle. “Eighty percent of your immune system is in your gut, so when healthy, we tend to be able to fight off infections faster and better,” says Yufang Lin, MD., at the Cleveland Clinic for Integrative Medicine. Choosing whole, unprocessed foods does wonders for overall health. The focus should be on incorporating a variety of whole foods, fruits, vegetables, and water in your daily diet.

Several whole plant foods contain antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin C, all of which may lower your susceptibility to illness. Healthy fats like olive oil and omega-3s are highly anti-inflammatory. These food choices can help boost your immune system and combat illnesses. Another immunity booster selection is garlic. One-half of a clove is beneficial. Chop it in foods or roast it – whatever is palatable for you. Also, Vitamin C-rich foods are beneficial.

Many people drink orange juice, but most brands have a lot of sugar, so it becomes counter-productive. It is best to get vitamin C from oranges, broccoli, or cantaloupe. Eating foods rich in antioxidants, such as colorful fruits and vegetables, including berries, carrots and spinach, will help build a strong immune system. Gut health and immunity are deeply connected. A healthy gut will support a healthy immune system and vice-versa.

We tend to be more mindful of water consumption during the warmer months, but we must also remember to stay hydrated during the colder months. You should be drinking at least half your bodyweight in ounces of water daily. Hydration does not necessarily protect you from germs and colds, but preventing dehydration is important to your overall health. Dehydration can increase your chances of becoming ill.

To prevent dehydration, you need to drink enough water daily, so that your urine is clear and odorless. A fluid in your circulatory system called lymph is largely made up of water and carries infection-fighting immune cells throughout your body. Being dehydrated slows down the movement of the lymph, which can lead to a weaker immune system.

Your immune system, when strong, does a remarkable job of defending against disease-causing microorganisms. Sometimes it fails, so when a germ penetrates your immune system, it can make you ill. It is possible to boost your immune system to prevent this from happening as discussed. If you do get ill, it is your body telling you to take some time off to rest and recharge, and to avoid getting others sick.

The benefits of a healthy lifestyle, by choosing healthy habits, will not only strengthen your immune system but will also have positive effects on the other systems of your body, leaving you feeling healthier and more energized for your life!

Also, continue to wear a mask, practice social distancing, and wash your hands often. Be Safe and Be Well!

The content shared from HOW (Heart of Wellness) is for informational purposes only and is not intended nor should it be used to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Consult with your doctor if any questions. HOW is a nonprofit based in Centerville, MA and Boca Raton, FL. that specializes in mindful wellness and self-care programs along with professional development for schools, business, and communities. We want to hear from you, whether it is about this article, COVID-19, or anything else health-related. Send questions and comments to: info@heartofwellness.us

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