Stay Safe: Protect Your Immune System

Fruits & Vegetables

The immune system plays a vital role in health and wellbeing. This defense system comprises an invisible army of cells that fights viruses, bacteria, toxins, and cancers that attempt to invade the body. The health and strength of the immune system determine whether we stay well or succumb to diseases.

 

With the global pandemic of COVID-19, millions of people are asking, "How can I stay well?" The short answer is, supercharge the immune system because it protects the body; however, there are no guarantees. Practicing a S.A.F.E. lifestyle, which consists of sleep, activity/exercise, food, and a stress free environment are ways to boost the body's defense system.

 Sleep. A good night's sleep of 7-9 hours contributes to the bodys defenses. During sleep, the body detoxes and removes waste. Inadequate sleep places individuals at risk for infections and other diseases. Setting a bedtime and sleeping in a comfortable environment promotes rest, which supports the proper function of the immune system. 

Activity. Exercising 30 minutes a day strengthens the immune system. During exercise, oxygen increases in the cells, and the body attacks toxins, bacteria, and viruses, and they removed through sweating. So, stay active by choosing enjoyable activities that contribute to the health and wellbeing of the entire body. 

Foods. Eating quality foods supercharge the immune system. Foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts build up the body allowing it to function at its best. Processed foods with sugar, additives, and chemicals cause inflammation in the body and weaken the immune system. Adding vitamin and mineral supplements to the diet may be necessary to boost the immune system. Making a grocery list of a variety of foods, reading food labels for ingredients and nutritional facts will help with choosing wholesome foods. 

 

 

Environment. Stressors comprised of people, places, things, and situations occur every day. A stress response triggered when there is an imbalance of demands and available resources. Stress can be managed by seeking a solution, receiving support from others, removing the stressor, or changing the environment. Creating a calm and peaceful environment helps to cope with stressful situations. Managing stressors have a positive impact on the immune system, while unresolved stress compromises the body's ability to fight infection. 

 

All four of the S.A.F.E. lifestyle practices are needed to supercharge the immune system and to protect the body. During and beyond the pandemic, the choices made today will determine the body's response to threats tomorrow. You are encouraged to be safe and stay well.

Author
Jennifer Cooper Jennifer Cooper, MSA, BSN, RN, CPPS Jennifer has more than 25 years' experience as a registered nurse. As a performance advisor, she shares practical ways to enhance health and well-being and supports individuals and organizations seeking to realize their goals.

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