Especially right now we need to maintain a healthy immune system to reduce our chances of getting sick with the corona virus. There are many unsubstantiated claims flying around, some made by people seeking only a quick profit. But here are four fundamentals of good health to boost your immune system.
I’ve always believed, and experts agree, that a healthy lifestyle that incorporates the four fundamentals for good health is good for the immune system:
- Healthy diet
- Physical exercise
- Proper sleep
- Be aware of your thoughts
Let’s look in more detail at the four fundamentals of good health to boost your immune system:
1. Healthy diet
There is little evidence that supplements boost the immune system. Experts say that the best you can do is to eat well, meaning lots of colourful vegetables and fruits, which contain lots of vitamins and minerals, and drink lots of water.
Vitamin C boosts the immune system but you should get it mainly from dietary sources—which means the food you eat, not from pills. Eat lots of food rich in vitamin C like citrus fruits, berries, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and spinach.
There must be some synergy in all the components of an orange or red pepper that are better for us than laboratory-synthesized ascorbic acid sold as a vitamin C supplement.
Read more about a healthy diet that is also good for your brain in this article by Dr. Lisa Mosconi. My WHIM (Women’s Health In Midlife) Network is reading her book Food For The Brain in our September Book Club. Mark your calendar, this event will be available for registration soon.
Eating healthy foods will also help you to avoid weight gain as we hunker down to slow the spread of COVID-19. I’m a big fan of the Mediterranean-style diet, which you can read about on my blog.
If you want a recipe for my all-vegetable soup, visit my Facebook page.
2. Physical activity
Exercise not only boosts your immune system but also improves your brain function and your emotional health.
We are being told to stay home to slow the spread of COVID-19, but don’t hold on to that as an excuse to not move. There are many ways you can still move or exercise.
Walk around your home or backyard, dance, do jumping jacks with your kids, or go up and down stairs. Take advantage of the many free exercise and yoga classes available online. I discovered this CBC offer and I do it every other day.
If it’s allowed, go outside. Fresh air and being in nature are also good for you. Call a friend and enjoy the company (but maintain your physical distance!).
It’s no surprise that all today’s uncertainties—health, family, job, personal finances, a constant barrage of bad news from all around the globe, etc.—can disrupt your ability to sleep.
But proper sleep is essential for good health and a strong immune system. Now it’s more important than ever.
While we sleep our brain gets rid of toxins that we accumulated during our waking hours and it rejuvenates itself. Neurons (brain cells) grow and are repaired while we sleep; that’s also when we create and organize memories. Sleep also helps with decision-making, hence the saying “Sleep on it”! And we all have many important decisions to make these days regarding work, business, finances, health, family, friendships, etc. With proper sleep you’ll make better decisions with less stress.
Many women in perimenopause and menopause report difficulty sleeping. But before you head for the medicine cabinet ensure that you have good “sleep hygiene”, which is a variety of habits and practices that help in getting a good sleep. Learn more at the National Sleep Foundation.
4. Be aware of your thoughts
To calm yourself down, you must become aware of what’s going on in your mind, of your thoughts, and you should recognize that catastrophizing is useless. Your thoughts are not reality. The more you think the more you suffer.
As Eckart Tolle says “You can stop your thoughts by recognizing the futility and distractive nature of that type of thinking and begin to see that a lot of unhappiness are produced by the narratives of your mind”.
Tolle recommends that you re-direct your attention away from your thoughts to the energy of your body and breath; that will calm the activity of your mind.
Learn more at his website.
Would you like to become a member of my WHIM (Women’s Health In Midlife) Network?
The purpose of the WHIM (Women’s Health In Midlife) Network is to educate women about their health and wellbeing, the life-affirming changes of midlife, and healthy aging. It’s the culmination of my 20+ years of experience working in women’s health with a focus on menopause.
I help women cut through the clutter, the myths, and the folklore. By providing truthful, trusted advice, I educate women and equip them to be their own health advocates.
Come put yourself first and celebrate your journey with our growing community. Sign up here.
Teresa Isabel Dias is a pharmacist and a menopause practitioner (NCMP) certified by the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), she lives in Toronto but all her services are available online – one-on-one consultations, live workshops, and webinars. Sign up for her free biweekly MenopausED Newsletter to learn more about menopause and women’s health.