PHOENIX, AZ - When illness and flu season are in full force, many people try special foods and supplements that they think will help “fight disease” and “boost immunity.” The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an increase in products that market themselves and claim to boost immunity. However, do any particular foods or diets really boost immunity?
There are many factors that contribute to the development of our immune systems. There is more to it than just diet - and more specifically, not just one food or nutrient.
COVID-19 has not been linked to any specific dietary factors, but we know that a balanced diet, including a variety of vitamins and minerals, coupled with healthy lifestyle practices like exercise, stress management, and adequate sleep, is crucial for maintaining a strong immune system.
From diet and exercise to stress management and sleep, here are some suggestions to improve your overall health:
Stress: Create a stress management plan that suits your personal needs and fits into your schedule. Try meditating, working out, practicing yoga, or talking to a friend or a counselor.
Sleep: The immune system depends on adequate sleep. Set a schedule, listen to your body's signals, and prioritize getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
Substances: Consume alcohol in moderation. Don't smoke or limit your consumption. The immune system is impaired by these substances.
Weight Gain/Obesity: Excess fat increases inflammation, and this will cause the immune system to overwork. Manage your weight with the help of a registered dietitian and your primary care physician.
Diet: Focus on a varied and balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and lots of water
Also, focus on micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals, increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables, and nourish your body. Lastly, try to eat less processed foods.
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