“Our immune systems are complex and influenced by many factors. Vaccines, such as the flu vaccine, build immunity against specific diseases. Some additional ways you can strengthen your immune system are eating well, being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, getting enough sleep, not smoking, and avoiding excessive alcohol use.” CDC , 6 Tips to Enhance Immunity
In October I had my annual flu shot. Mid November, I had the latest COVID booster. I slept a lot for several days afterwards. In December, I will have the RSV vaccine. Now I’ve been told I should get the new pneumonia vaccine which is highly improved over the old. That will be in January. I want to have these helpful vaccines to try and stay healthy this coming year. I have lots of allergies and almost any illness can lead to a respiratory infection. Winter will arrive this month. The colder seasons are usually related to an increase in colds and flu. It’s not the temperature that causes illness, but being inside with others that leads to the spread of infections. Today I would like to review ways to improve our immune systems and be healthier in the coming year.
Harvard Medical School has a great article “6 Ways You Can Help Your Immune System” which has a wonderful list of things to do to keep your immune system strong. Number 2 on the list is keeping your vaccines current which I’m trying to do.
What is #1? The age old practice of washing your hands with soap and water before preparing food and after using the bathroom. Since COVID, I wash my hands so much they are really dry all the time.
You can prevent most cases of food poisoning in your household by preparing and storing your foods safely. See my post, Food Safety Tips, for complete instructions.
Be Physically Active
Regular physical activity helps you feel better, sleep better, and reduce anxiety. I know I don’t get enough exercise, and that’s my goal for 2024. It’s time to take a step back and try to actively improve our daily habits. The habits you set now may be the habits you stick with for life. Consciously try to set new patterns in your life. I used to take a morning walk everyday. I’m going to start that habit again.
Get enough sleep
Scientific evidence is building that sleep loss can negatively affect different parts of the immune system. This can lead to the development of a wide variety of disorders. If you need to improve your sleep habits, check out Tips to Help You Sleep Better for more information.
Don’t smoke and only drink in moderation. Maintain a healthy body weight. That pretty much covers smart living anytime.
Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables
A simple rule can help you when choosing fruits and vegetables at the grocery store or farmers market: The more colorful the fruits and vegetables are, the better. Personally, I think getting plenty of Vitamin C in your diet is the best move. Sources of Vitamin C of course include the citrus family, oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes. Many other colorful veggies and fruits also are a good source like strawberries, papaya, kiwi, goji berries, cantaloupe, leafy greens, potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, chili peppers, broccoli, and cauliflower. If you eat “the rainbow” of produce, you will be getting many anti-oxidants and flavonoids to help your body fight disease. Choose a variety of meats including tuna and salmon and add some herbal teas to your routine. See How to Eat Healthy This Winter for more ideas.
To your health!
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