Even ifin social distance and quarantine, it is important to know that the virus is still spreading and you can still get it. One of the best protective measures you can take is to continue practicing social distance to stay at home as much as possible and isolate yourself, especially from people who may be sick. The best thing to do is to take care of yourself and stay healthy, so if you come into contact with the virus your body will be able to fight it.
When it comes to strengthening your body's immune defensemany different factors play a role. As tempting as it may be to take a supplement and call it a day, there are many factors that influence how well your body can fight infections and other diseases. According to Dr. Michael Roizen, MD and COO of the Cleveland Clinic, there are several important categories to consider when evaluating your lifestyle and boosting immunity. These areas include sleep, nutrition and supplements, exercise and stress management. Continue reading below to learn how to optimize each area for your health and better immunity.
What is the immune system and how does it work?
You know your immune system is vital for keeping you healthy and fighting disease, but do you know exactly how it works?
"Your immune system protects you from things you shouldn't have in your body, be they cancer cells that develop in you or bacteria or viruses or particles from outside that cause a reaction," says Dr. Roizen. & # 39; Your body houses a number of different defense mechanisms that protect you from foreign invaders, and it all starts with your skin. Your skin has oil that keeps things from getting through your skin, and you have bacteria, viruses, and fungi that are healthy for you and protect you. "
In addition to your skin, you also have protective mechanisms in your nose and throat." In your nasal passages and throat you have many cilia and mucous secretions that actually contain antibodies to protect you. You have cilia in your nasal passages and lung tubes that knock like brooms to beat everything that starts to invade, "Dr. Roizen says
Your lower abdomen also plays an important role in your immune system." In your gut, you have a coating on your gut wall and much of your immune system, more than 40% of your immune system is in your gut wall, preventing things from the food you eat and the bacteria and viruses that enter prevent them from penetrating. "
Now that you know how your immune system works, let's see how you can make it work effectively.
If you are stuck at home and feeling stressed or sad about the pandemic, it is very easy to be healthy dropping food to the side Butespecially sugar, can do you more harm than just increasing your waistline Your white blood cells are responsible for taking care of bad viruses and bacteria in your body, and according to Dr. Roizen, sugar is one thing that can keep them from doing their job. "Too much sugar in your system causes the bacteria or viruses to spread much more because your original innate system is not working as well. Therefore, for example, diabetics have more infections, "said Dr. Roizen.
A 2018 study showed that high sugar diets were responsible for increasingand suppressing the immune system in flies. another study found that sugar consumption clearly affected white blood cells' ability to fight bacteria for about 5 hours after eating – all the more reason to watch how much candy you eat and watch out for sneaky added sugars.
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While there is not a singlethat can magically prevent or cure COVID-19, there are several that are believed to be helpful in supporting immune health. Vitamin C is one of the most important vitamins that has been shown to help protect people from getting sick and make people who are already sick feel better faster.
Zinc is another supplement that has been flying off the shelves since the pandemic hit. And while it can't cure the virus, it does help the body fight infection and help with symptoms – but there isn't enough research yet to say exactly how it can help.
Finally, Vitamin D, once thought only to support strong bones, actually plays an important role in your immune system. Vitamin D works by reducing inflammation in your body and it helps activate your immune cells – two things that are important to stay healthy. You can get vitamin D through regular sun exposure on your skin, and it is found in some foods, but many people need supplementation to get enough.
The stress and overwhelm of a global pandemic is enough to keep someone awake at night – but now is not the time to skimp on good quality sleep. You need at least 7 hours of sleep every night, and 8 hours is even better.
Not only does sleep deprivation lead to weight gain, irritability and poor focus, it can also strengthen your immune system and make it difficult for your body to fight infections. If you find it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep at night trythat signals your body it's time for peace.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, a lack of sleep can lower the proteins in your body that fight inflammation and infection, making you more susceptible to disease. If there are factors beyond your control that affect your sleep, takewhich can help make up for the difference.
While going back to the gym is a personal decision based on the risk you are willing to take, exercise is important to prioritize your health. Not only is it a good stress reliever andbut it can also help your body fight illness and recover faster.
The key to exercise is to be consistent and get enough every week (at a minimum of 150 minutes per week in total). If you train very intensively (such as HIIT workouts, for example), you want to limit it to about 75 minutes per week in total. Although the evidence is mixed, doctors such as Roizen and infectious disease expert Dr. Kesh to not exaggerate now with. Strenuous training without the correct recovery time can take the load off your system and make it difficult to fight infections or viruses.
A global pandemic is the perfect storm to allow large amounts of stress and overwhelm to hijack your health. But finding ways to relax, such as meditating or calming activities, is important for your mental and physical health. Stress can lower your immune system by decreasing the white blood cell count, which you don't want to occur during a global pandemic – or at any time.
Dr. Roizen agrees: "We know from studies that during stressful life events you are 20 to 60% more likely to catch a cold or flu. In addition, stress is the most important associated factor in cancer because your immune system is reduced during stressful events and especially chronic stress, "he says.
Controlling stress is so important that it can alter your genes to be less effective at fighting inflammation. "We also know that when you look at what stress does to your genetics, it changes how the gene works, so you turn on things that make inflammatory proteins and you switch off genes that reduce inflammation," Dr. Roizen.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care professional if you have questions about a medical condition or health goals.