LET'S TALK ABOUT OUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Yes, the same one we’ve been taking for granted until this global pandemic came along. with staying home being the new going out and more restrictions than we can keep count of, good habits sometimes slipped out the back door. strengthening our immune system wasn’t always on the top of our to-do list but we’re paying attention now. so, at the dawn of a new year, let’s focus on the one thing we can control.
Eating healthy is a bit more complicated than drinking a cup of green tea (rich in antioxidants) and calling it a day. It’s not that simple. Your body needs a variety of foods that are rich in vitamins and nutrients to reap the benefits. Always opt for fresh and where possible organic fruit and veg and make sure to include whole grains, pulses, and nuts. Look out for ingredients like citrus fruits, strawberries, red bell peppers, and kiwis. They're naturally rich in Vitamin C, known to stimulate the production of white blood cells, and a key player in fighting off infections. There’s plenty to choose from to create a nutrient-rich diet that fits your lifestyle. However, too much of a good thing (read: vitamins) can be toxic, especially when taken regularly.
Meet beta carotene, an antioxidant that helps shield your cells from damage caused by free radicals. You know, those potentially harmful molecules. A diet rich in antioxidants can lower your risk of chronic diseases and give your health a boost. You’ll find high amounts of them in carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, and broccoli. Vitamin A, which the body creates using beta carotene, supports the lungs.
Garlic is a staple in any kitchen, but we tend to forget it’s a natural support act for your immune system too. It can boost the disease-fighting response of some types of white blood cells when facing foreign invaders (read: viruses) in the body. Feeling under the weather? Eat more garlic to get better faster and reduce any symptoms you’re dealing with. Better yet, it can lower the risk of feeling ill in the first place.
Ginger may help soothe inflammation and relieve congestion. It’s also a great ingredient that helps with nausea and digestive issues. Please don’t rely only on the supplements in your medicine cabinet, but rather on getting those nutrients from healthy foods in your daily diet.
A healthy body starts with a healthy gut. That’s why good bacteria are a crucial part of anyone’s immune system. A thriving gut microbiome is what we’re striving for. Look for high-fiber foods, especially ones that contain a fiber named inulin, like artichoke, asparagus, and chicory root. Natural yogurt is an incredible source of live and active cultures or probiotics as well. Please try to skip the flavored varieties (we know, it’s hard) as they’re packed with sugar.
With the risk of sounding like a broken record, please drink plenty of water. In fact, let this act as your friendly reminder to take a few sips while reading. It really is the fuel to our engines in so many ways. And if you snack, which is perfectly normal, please snack better. If you’re feeling puckish before or after a meal, pick fresh fruits and raw vegetables rather than processed snacks filled with sugar, salt, and fat. Feeling sluggish after eating a candy bar? Yep, it’s because of that. It’s important to check whether your weight falls within healthy ranges. An easy way to find out is by calculating your body mass index (BMI). If your BMI is anywhere between 18.5 and 24.9, you’re within a healthy range. Remember, fat cells aren’t just a passive energy reservoir, they can release hormones that trigger inflammation making overweight people more vulnerable to diseases. If you’re struggling, meal plans and food tracking apps help keep your weight in perfect harmony, especially if you’re - like many of us - working from home.
EXERCISE AND THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
Regular exercise does wonders for your heart health and immunity. It also lowers your blood pressure and controls a healthy body weight. And it doesn’t stop there. It promotes cell circulation of the immune system, which allows them to move freely and work efficiently while also reducing the risk of inflammation, and helping immune cells regenerate regularly. Staying active is the best thing you can it aids in preventing obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. You can start with a moderate-intensity exercise routine, two to three times a week, for up to 45 minutes for optimal immune health. If you can, try to get in at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, or 30 minutes, five days a week. Moving regularly is especially good for the elderly. Remember, don’t push yourself too hard for too long. Prolonged (more than 1.5 hours) intense exercise without the proper fuel can temporarily suppress your immune system, giving infections the freedom to thrive.
Words by our friends from the Grey Skin Care
CONTROL YOUR STRESS LEVELS
As the pandemic continues to sail onwards, nearly everyone has been dealing with stress in one way or another. Nearly 8 in 10 adults say the coronavirus pandemic is a major source of this. Stress causes your body to release cortisol, the body's primary stress hormone. Increased cortisol levels in the bloodstream can trigger inflammation, which changes how your body's immune system responds to infections. Long-term inflammation promotes imbalances in immune cell function and can even suppress the immune response. Children and the elderly are the most vulnerable to stress in the immune system.
STRESS-RELIEVING ACTIVITIES TO KEEP YOU CALM
Everyone experiences stress differently. Once you’ve identified your triggers – workloads, kids or relationships – you can make small changes to help balance your stress levels. Here are a few tips that’ll stop stress from getting the upper hand: From meditation and exercise to journaling, yoga, and other mindfulness practices, try finding what works best for you. Steer clear from toxic habits like smoking or drinking too much alcohol. Smoking is notorious for weakening your body's defenses.
Words by our friends at the Grey.
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