Fall time is wonderful; the leaves are changing colors and the crisp air feels great. The only bummer is the occasional fall cold everyone gets. It’s important to keep our bodies healthy and strong year round, and even more crucial to keep our immune systems strong when it gets colder. Here are some tips to strengthen your immune system this fall.
What is our Immune System?
The immune system is a collection of special organs, cells, and chemicals that protect us from environmental threats like bacteria, viruses and fungi. When germs invade your body, they attack and begin to multiply, resulting in an infection. The infection causes diseases that make you sick. Your immune system kicks in to fight off the germs and protect you from disease.
The immune system has many parts including skin, mucous membranes, white blood cells, organs and tissues of the lymphatic system. The immune system is like your personal bodyguard. It defends your body from substances that seem foregin or harmful. These are called antigens, they may be germs, viruses, toxins, or even cancer. When the immune system recognizes antigen, it attacks. This is the immune response. Our bodies produce antibodies to weaken and destroy the antigens.
This complex process is very important to keep our bodies healthy and free of sickness. The list below are ways to strengthen and keep your immune system working at its best.
Sleep helps with just about everything, so it’s very important to make sure you get enough sleep every night. Establishing a regular sleep schedule helps train your brain when to go to sleep and wake up. Try to aim for at least 8 hours of sleep each night. Sleep is necessary for our brains to process information and enhance memory. Poor sleep habits have been linked to impaired brain function. Lack of sleep also has correlation with many health risk factors including heart disease. In a recent study, they found those who slept less than 7 hours were almost 3 times more likely to develop a cold than those who slept 8 hours or more. Sleep is one of the main pillars of health, and without good sleep our bodies cannot work or fight off sicknesses well.
One way to get better and longer sleep is to avoid screen time an hour before bed. The light emitted from electronic screens affects your body’s ability to relax and go into “sleep mode.”
Diet is very important in keeping your body healthy. If you want to boost your immune system, you’ll need to eat a mix of fruits and vegetables. They provide nutrients like Vitamin C and E that boost immune function. They are also rich in antioxidants, which reduces stress.
Eating a low fat, plant based diet is linked to the best lifestyle choice. The immune system relies on white blood cells that produce antibodies to combat bacteria, viruses, and other invaders. Vegetarians have great white blood cells compared to meat eaters because of their high intake of vitamins and low intake of fat. Limiting dietary fat strengthens immune defenses and oil may impair white blood cell function.
At Foxtail Assisted Living, we will prioritize your diet by providing healthy options that everyone enjoys. Making sure you are feeling healthy and happy is important and we’ll find the diet that works best for you. We make sure to serve balanced and delicious meals daily.
When people are active they are more likely to fight off sicknesses. Regular exercise can boost the immune system and help fight off infections. Exercise increases blood flow, reduces stress and inflammation, and can strengthen antibodies.
It’s important to enjoy exercising, whether it’s running, walking, swimming, lifting weights or dancing. There are many ways to get our hearts pumping and our bodies moving. You could call up a friend to exercise with you and be your accountability partner. Whether you prefer solo or group exercise, it has tremendous benefits on your immune system as well as overall mood. You will be feeling happy and healthy and both your body and brain will thank you.
Eating our vitamins is the best way to get needed nutrients, but we all get busy. If you are traveling or not eating the best, taking care of your body with vitamins is a great idea. Vitamin C is the best immune system booster of all and is found in bell peppers, oranges, spinach, kale, broccoli, etc. It is essential for good health since our bodies cannot produce or store it. If you are unable to get it from your food intake, there are many Vitamin C supplements. Vitamin B6 is important in supporting biochemical reactions in the immune system. These come from chicken, salmon, tuna, or green vegetables. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight off infection and can be found in foods like seeds, spinach, and nuts.
The best way to get your vitamins is through eating the foods that contain them. Consult your doctor before taking any supplements to determine how they may affect you.
Staying healthy this fall season is important. Exercising, getting good sleep, eating healthy and taking your vitamins will help keep you feeling your best. If you are needing help or know someone who would benefit from our services, contact Foxtail Senior Living today!.