Strengthening your immune defenses is one of the top strategies for preventing, fighting, and alleviating the severity of viral infections according to research.
These are the lifestyle factors known to be addressed by the integrative community of physicians and their recommendations to put into action:
1. Food and Nutrition
Food and nutrition are key components to your health and well-being. Nutrient dense foods can reduce viral infection and severity by balancing inflammation, reducing oxidative stress, increasing antioxidant levels, and balancing the gut microbiome.
Fill half of your plate with vegetables and fruits. Aim for 9to 13 servings daily of a variety of produce for an array of phytonutrients to enhance the microbiome.
Increase your dietary fiber. A minimum of 28 to 35 grams daily, preferably from whole foods is a great daily target to reach.
Reduce or avoid added sugars, salt, high-glycemic foods (like processed carbs), and excessive saturated fat, which inhibits immune function.
With 80% of your immune system residing in your gut, it’s important to cultivate your gut flora with a healthy dose of fermented vegetables and other probiotic foods.
2. Stress Management
Stress management can help regulate your immunity, making you less susceptible to illness.
Calming yourself with techniques like yoga, meditation, mindfulness, tai chi, qigong, relaxation response, breath work, and gardening to name a few. Even singing has been known to quiet the nervous system creating a sense of calm.
It is during sleep that our bodies repair themselves, so it’s essential for immune function and maintenance, overcoming inflammation, and aiding recovery from illness. Get seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. Practice good sleep hygiene and maintain consistent sleep hours by turning off screens; making sure the room is cool, quiet, and dark; and going to sleep at a consistent hour each night.
Exercise supports immunity by raising levels of infection fighting white blood cells, increasing circulation, and lowering stress hormones. Physical activity provides the movement the body needs to circulate blood and nutrients, all while eliminating cellular waste.
Make moderate exercise a daily routine. Mix it up with strength, cardio, and mobility/balancing work. Doing your exercise routine outside not only offers immune boosting properties, but being in nature has a calming effect, so you get 2 for 1!
5. Social Connection
Science shows us that a sense of community is related to longer, healthier and happier lives. And many times social and emotional connections are the missing links to feeling better.
Reduce negative interactions and increase time with others who are positive or affirming.
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