With the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there may be no better time than right now to improve your immune system. Your immune system is not a singular entity; rather, it is a collection of structures and processes in your body that fight against disease-causing microorganisms. Because it is not one simple thing, there are numerous ways to strengthen this hard-working system. Take a few steps each day to boost your health and immunity with our five simple tips.
Here are five home friendly tips for building a healthy and strong immune system:
1. Try out some home workouts.
This one is almost a no-brainer! We all know regular exercise is vital to a healthy lifestyle by lowering blood pressure, assisting in controlling body weight, improving cardiovascular health and protecting against certain diseases. Even more so, according to Harvard Health, exercise and physical activity promote good circulation. This is pivotal to a good immune system because it moves cells and substances more efficiently through your body.
Stay fit and healthy by trying out some easy home workouts. The Palm Weight Loss Blog is filled with great exercises that you can do in your own living room. Check out the list below for some of our favorite home workouts from our fitness section:
- 4 Equipment-Free Workout Moves to Do at Home >
- 5 Home Exercises for Unbelievably Toned Legs >
- 7 Full Body Moves You Can Do at Home >
- No Gym? No Problem! 4 Activities to Stay Fit While Social Distancing >
- 5 Crunch-Free Moves for Killer Abs >
2. Cook a plant-based meal.
Make veggies the center of your meal by cooking up a plant-based recipe. So many vegetables are supercharged with vitamins and minerals that boost the immune system. Choose a non-starchy veggie that you love. Broccoli, for instance, is chock-full of vitamins A, C and E, as well as many other antioxidants and fiber, says Healthline. It’s one of the healthiest vegetables you can choose. Another great immune-boosting veggie is garlic. According to Healthline, garlic can help lower blood pressure and reduce the speed of hardening arteries. This improves overall circulation and immune system health.
Did you stock up on canned beans as recommended by our registered dietitian? (Check out her quarantine shopping list here! >) If so, create a protein-packed, plant-based power bowl with canned chickpeas, sliced avocado, steamed broccoli and asparagus. Combining legumes and non-starchy veggies is a great way to create a balanced, keto friendly, vegetarian meal.
3. Keep yourself hydrated.
Drink water! You see it on every health blog and every recommendation for a healthy lifestyle. Water and staying hydrated truly is the first step to living a healthy life. By staying hydrated, you are doing wonders for your immune system. Our bodies need water to function effectively, which is especially true for parts of the immune system. According to Medical News Today, “the mouth and throat are on the front lines of the body’s defenses, but they cannot do their job as well as usual when a person is dehydrated.”
One great way to stay hydrated is by drinking immune-boosting beverages like green tea. According to Science Daily, research out of Oregon State University found that green tea contains a polyphenol called EGCG that seems to cause a higher production of T cells. They explain that T cells “dampen or turn off” immune system cells when they get stuck in an “on” position. This leads to autoimmune diseases where the body attacks itself. Learn more about the health benefits of green tea. >
4. Stock up on citrus.
Vitamin C might be the most popular, or well-known, immune boosting aid! It’s something you hear often but probably do not fully understand. According to Healthline, vitamin C is linked to the production of white blood cells, which are crucial to fight infections. The thing is, however, that our bodies do not store or produce vitamin C on their own, which is why it is vital that we intake it every day. Citrus fruits are particularly high in vitamin C, including delicious options like grapefruit, lemon, clementine, orange, lime and tangerine.
Citrus peel in particular is a nutrient powerhouse. It’s a shame that it’s almost always disposed of! According to Healthline, citrus peel is packed with cancer-fighting antioxidants like hesperidin and naringin. Take advantage of this underappreciated ingredient by adding it to your smoothies, shakes and desserts. You can purchase organic citrus peel powder that blends perfectly into your healthy smoothie recipes. If you’re bored at home, take the time to make your own with leftover organic citrus peels and your dehydrator or oven.
Healthline also cites red bell peppers as having twice as much vitamin C as citrus fruits. So, if tangy sweetness isn’t your thing, reach for a crisp and refreshing red bell pepper to boost your vitamin C levels. Check out some of our favorite bell pepper recipes below:
- Cauliflower “Rice” and Ground Beef Stuffed Peppers >
- Stuffed Bell Pepper Tacos >
- Healthy Breakfast Tacos >
- Pork and Pepper Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette >
- Simple Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers >
5. Get some sunshine.
The sunshine vitamin, vitamin D, is produced by your skin’s response to sunlight. According to Healthline, “It’s a fat-soluble vitamin in a family of compounds that includes vitamins D-1, D-2, and D-3.” The best part is that your body naturally produces vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D helps control the absorption of calcium and phosphorus and…you guessed it: Vitamin D supports normal immune system function! So, grab a blanket and your favorite book and head outside. Start a home garden, play some games with the kiddos, go for a hike or take your dog for a walk. Take your workout routine or home yoga session outdoors. You’ll be surprised how good it makes you feel when you spend more time with nature.