In light of the recent spread and affects of COVID-19 (more commonly known as the Corona Virus) many folks are looking for ways to protect themselves from getting the illness, or thinking of ways to help fight against the disease if you get it. Some of you may have considered self-distancing yourselves as a way of limiting contact with people, while others may have self-quarantined if you have exhibited symptoms as a strategy to limit the spread of the virus. But what are some ways we can boost our immune system during this time?

Let’s first begin with what is the immune system. The immune system is our body’s defense against disease, bacteria and other bad cells/tissues. Its main function is to help prevent or limit infections. Our bodies have immune cells in various part of our body such as the skin, bloodstream, bone marrow and lymph nodes. When the body recognizes a foreign substance, the immune cells (also known as white blood cells) spark an immune response- producing antibodies to kill the bad cells.

Since the immune system is important in maintaining the health of our bodies by fighting against diseases, it is imperative that we take steps to make sure our immune system is strong and healthy. Here are some ways to help boost our immune system:

Manage Stress
In times of uncertainty with your health and finances such as now, it is easy to be concerned or anxious about what the future holds. Not negating the validity of those emotions as stress is not something we can avoid, but when we are under chronic (on-going) stress, stress hormones can suppress the immune system making us more susceptible to getting sick. Instead, watch your favorite movie or funny TV. Do some journaling or try some mindful or focused breathing exercises.

Get Enough Rest
Sleep is a main function of body that helps us to recharge. While we are sleeping, it is our body’s way of resetting and boosting the immune system. Studies have shown that those who get 8 hours of sleep every night on average, are less likely to catch a cold.

Maintain a Healthy Diet
The foods that we put in our body helps to get the nutrients we need to be healthy. Including foods that are rich in antioxidants and vitamins can also boost our immune system. Consider incorporating citrus fruits, berries, leafy greens, nuts and fish to help reduce inflammation and fight off infections.

Stay Physically Active
When we exercise, it helps to circulate the blood throughout our bodies. This also helps to ensure that the white blood cells are also getting around the body as well. During a workout, you may notice that you sweat or may be breathing a bit harder than usual. Sweating and exhaling are natural ways to get the bad things out of our bodies which can boost our immune system.

In times such as these, I encourage you to take steps to make sure you are healthy and that your body has what it needs to fight off infections and viruses.

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