Keeping your immune system healthy and functioning is now more essential than ever both this flu season and in the face of the global threat of coronavirus. Most especially so in the case of flu, which as of Feb. 1 has struck at least 22 million Americans and claimed the lives of 12,000 or more, according to data from the CDC. That stands in comparison to only 13 confirmed coronavirus cases in the country.
To keep yourself protected from various diseases and illnesses this season, certified personal trainer and fitness coach Ashley B. Greenblatt has shared the best tips to boost your immune system:
Consume nutrient-rich food
One way to boost your immune system is by consuming food rich in vitamins and minerals, which are lacking among many Americans, a result of poor diet choices or lack of education on healthy food. Luckily for you, you do not need to spend a fortune to buy powerful immunity-boosting food. The following items are not only inexpensive, costing less than $5, but are available at any supermarket:
Turmeric – Inflammation is a normal response to injury, repairing damaged tissue and healing the injury. However, it could cause serious health problems in the long run if it persists for too long. One way to decrease inflammation is by eating food rich in curcumin, such as turmeric, which also aids in digestion. Turmeric can be either added to daily tea or used as an ingredient when making meals.
Citrus – Vitamin C, found in citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons, not only protects you from cell damage, but also boosts your body’s collagen production and combats flu. When getting a box of orange juice, make sure it is made of 100 percent natural fruit juice and does not contain added sugars or sugar alternatives. Alternatively, it is best to snack on whole fruit since it has an added bonus of fiber. Vitamin C is also present in leafy vegetables such as kale and broccoli.
Yogurt – Aside from being loaded with protein and probiotics, yogurt (especially the low-sugar and additive-free option) is full of immunity-boosting minerals such as vitamins B2 and B12, potassium and zinc.
As the old adage goes, stress kills. In fact, stress fills your body with adrenaline and cortisol, the “fight-or-flight” hormones. While a normal reaction when dealing with dangerous scenarios, too much of it can adversely affect your health and well-being.
One way to increase your stress tolerance is by practicing daily relaxation exercises, which should take less than five minutes.
A healthy, functioning body means a strong immune system, and one key is by exercising regularly. If you are just starting out on fitness, it is best to start 20 minutes a day, five times a week. Some of the best starting moves to add to your fitness routine include:
Squatting – Squatting is best tried once you have mastered a wall sit, helping you buff the muscles necessary for safely sitting and standing.
Wall Sitting – Wall sitting is ideal if you need support when you are new to squatting.
Push-Ups – Push-ups improve posture, upper body power and core strength.