How to Maintain a Strong Immune System

By the time you read this blog, we sincerely hope that a cure has been developed for the novel Coronavirus along with drugs to properly treat the disease.

But that time isn’t now. Which makes it doubly important that you make lifestyle changes, as needed, to build and maintain a strong immune system to help fend off debilitating and potentially deadly viruses and other infections. Here are several tips we know will prove useful, especially when combined.

Get enough sleep

Sleep and immunity are closely tied. In a study of 164 healthy adults, those who slept fewer than 6 hours each night were more likely to catch a cold than those who slept 6 hours or more each night. The ideal amount of sleep for adults is 7 hours or more, and 8-10 hours for children.

Eat more plant foods

Whole plant foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that may give you an upper hand against harmful pathogens.

The antioxidants can help decrease inflammation by combating unstable compounds called free radicals, which can cause inflammation when they build up in your body at high levels.

Eat more healthy fats

Healthy fats, like those found in olive oil and salmon, may boost your body’s immune response to pathogens by decreasing inflammation. Although low-level inflammation is a normal response to stress or injury, chronic inflammation can suppress your immune system.

Eat more fermented foods or take a probiotic supplement 

Fermented foods are rich in beneficial bacteria called probiotics, which populate your digestive tract. These foods include yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and natto.

Research suggests that a flourishing network of gut bacteria can help your immune cells differentiate between normal, healthy cells and harmful invader organisms.

Exercise in moderation

Although prolonged intense exercise can suppress your immune system, moderate exercise can give it a boost. Studies show that even a single session of moderate exercise can boost the effectiveness of vaccines in people with compromised immune systems. A brisk walk, regular bike riding, jogging and swimming are all good examples of moderate exercise. For maximum benefit, exercise for at least 150 minutes per week.

Stay hydrated

Hydration doesn’t necessarily protect you from germs and viruses, but preventing dehydration is important to your overall health. Dehydration can cause headaches and hinder your physical performance, focus, mood, digestion, and heart and kidney function.These complications can increase your susceptibility to illness.

If you’re experiencing signs of illness, chronic or temporary, be sure to contact MedCare Express for a comprehensive physical exam. Or stop by for a walk-in visit 7 days a week from 8 am to 8 pm. We are the only Greater Hartford walk-in center that can make that claim.