Eight ways to strengthen your immune system right now
Although you may not realize it, your body’s immune system is alert and ready to fight at all times. Especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to have an effective immune system to help fight the virus off. There are several lines of defense in the human immune system from physical barriers like your skin, to white blood cells that race through the body on the lookout for invading microbes.
There are ways to offer support to the immune system so that it can do its job. Here are some immune system boosters to consider:
Keep your gut going strong – The average human body is home to trillions of bacteria that outnumber human cells 10 to 1. Many of these bacteria are found in the gastrointestinal tract or gut, and help with digestion. These bacteria are also an important part of the immune system. The lining of your intestines secretes antibodies and contains cells that recognize and destroy harmful bacteria. Adding plain yogurt and probiotics to your diet can help support this important part of the immune system.
Make sleep a priority – During sleep, the body is busy recovering from all the stress of the day. It is also the time when the body produces protective proteins that the immune system needs to deal with infection. The average adult needs between seven and nine hours each night to keep things running smoothly.
Stay away from sugar – Sugar can impair the ability of white blood cells to deactivate or kill bacteria. Just 10 teaspoons of sugar, which is the average amount found in two 12-ounce cans of soda, can affect the immune system. It is important to drink liquids to stay hydrated but avoid sugary drinks.
Maximize Vitamin D – Vitamin D travels throughout the body and helps with the production of antibodies to fight infection wherever it goes. The problem is that the body’s main source of Vitamin D is the sun’s UV rays, which can be challenging to find during dreary winter days. Vitamin D rich foods include fatty fish, mushrooms and eggs. Increasing your intake of these foods can help your immune system.
Fill up on fruits and vegetables – Fruits and vegetables can arm your body with antioxidants that help the immune system. Citrus fruits like oranges, and vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, supply the extra boost of Vitamin C, which is another valuable antioxidant that benefits the immune system.
Watch alcohol intake – High alcohol intake can suppress your immune system making it harder to fight off disease. Alcohol can also cause dehydration, which keeps the body’s cells from operating efficiently. These two factors together can make you more vulnerable to illness.
Add fish to your diet – Fish such as sardines, salmon, herring and mackerel are a good source of protein that helps build up the cells in your immune system. These types of fish also have omega-3 fatty acids that help regulate the immune system. Consider adding these fish to your menu for an immune system boost.
Keep moving – When you are physically active, the antibodies and white blood cells circulate through the body looking for illness and act upon anything they find. Activity also helps push pathogens out of your lungs and airways, which reduces the chances of getting the flu or a cold. Try to get 20 minutes or more of physical activity a day to keep your immune system working.
Challenging the immune system
When a person undergoes surgery or a serious medical event, the immune system can be stressed making it harder to protect the body during a time of recovery. Fighting viruses and bacteria is never easy but it can be very dangerous when the immune system is stressed, especially with the spread of COVID-19. One way to be safer during recovery is to choose to stay in a short-term care facility where specialized care is available around the clock.
One of the premier locations for this level of care is Whitehall of Deerfield. Protocols are in place to keep the environment sterile and safe. Whitehall of Deerfield has strictly followed the recommendations of the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — and have taken every precaution possible to protect guests from viruses such as COVID-19 and keep them safe and healthy.
Whitehall of Deerfield’s team is also prepared to address every need as it arrives with a full array of on-site services including chest X-rays, BiPaP/CPAP capabilities, incentive spirometry, oxygen therapy, IV antibiotics, PICC line insertion capability, 24-hour imaging availability and much more.
In addition, Whitehall of Deerfield provides expert physical, occupational and speech therapies.
Working with a multidisciplinary team, therapists provide focused sessions on state-of-the art equipment that help move guests toward their goal of returning to an active lifestyle as quickly and safely as possible. Nutritious meals and a healthy environment also help boost immune systems.
This high-level recovery takes place in a setting that is first class. Guests are offered an array of world-class amenities and choices of cuisine. This emphasis on comfort allows guests to focus on gaining the strength and flexibility to return home to a normal lifestyle.
Whitehall of Deerfield takes pride in offering the care you need with the luxury and safety you expect. To learn more about the many services offered at Whitehall of Deerfield, visit whitehallofdeerfield.com or call 847.945.4600