Between hand washing, social distancing and wiping down surfaces to remove germs, you’ve probably heard plenty lately about how to protect the outside of your body to stay healthy.
But what about the inside of your body? The immune system is our body’s unsung hero. Loading up on vitamin C is one common way to support immunity, but there is so much more we can do to support our body’s defenses every day.
Keep reading for seven little-known and simple ways to support your immune system.
1. Replenish your sunshine vitamin
Vitamin D, otherwise known as the sunshine vitamin, not only supports strong bones and heart health but also helps support our immune system.
One of the most popular ways to obtain it is through exposure to the sun. Although most of us are staying home to stay safe these days, you can still find a way to soak up some rays.
Join your cat in the sunbeam or simply step out on your porch, yard or sidewalk for a daily dose of nature’s vitamin D. (Just don’t forget your sunscreen!)
You can also look at dietary sources of vitamin D, including fish, mushrooms and egg yolks. And you can help fill any gaps in your diet (or time in the sun) with a vitamin D supplement.
2. Move your body
Exercise is important for your immune system because it helps flush out toxins from your body. And staying at home and out of your favorite gym doesn’t have to stop you.
You don’t need much space to get your body moving. You can try practicing yoga, exercising with a friend through video chat or following along with a YouTube® video.
Several businesses and organizations are putting exercise routines online with modifications for working out at home. (Follow #NoExcuseswithXS on social media for some tips!) Commit to doing some sort of physical activity every day. #NoExcuses
3. Eat the rainbow
Snacking at home is so easy to do, and the fruit and vegetables that might be in our refrigerator are not tops on the list of things to reach for. But eating right is one thing that supports a healthy immune system.
Make sure you’re eating as many colorful fruits and vegetables you can get your hands on. Keep them front and center in the refrigerator or on the counter for grab-and-go convenience. Antioxidant-packed blueberries, citrus fruits rich in vitamin C, copper- and iron-filled spinach, and garlic all have immune system benefits.
If you’re not confident you’re getting enough nutrients from your diet, try a multivitamin with plant nutrients to help fill any gaps.
4. Find your Zen
What’s going on in our mind can impact what’s going on in our bodies. Many of us experience stress on a daily basis, especially now while we’re trying to juggle many different priorities at home and take extra care of our health and the health of our loved ones.
Stress can suppress the power of our immune systems, so finding ways to cope is extremely important. Self-care is key. Try taking a bath, lighting your favorite candle, watching something that makes you laugh, meditating, or journaling to manage your stress levels
5. B energized
Sleep is essential and not getting enough of it can weaken our body’s defenses. If you are getting enough quality sleep but you still feel tired, you might consider upping your vitamin B intake.
Vitamin B helps your body convert food to energy. You can and should get vitamin B from the foods you eat, like whole grains, dairy, meat, beans and many fruits and vegetables. Those are all part of a healthy diet, so if you are eating right, you are getting some vitamin B.
You can also consider a vitamin B supplement.
6. Pay attention to your teeth
Many people don’t know that oral health and overall health go hand in hand. It’s important to have consistent and thorough habits when it comes to your oral health, including brushing twice daily for two full minutes and, yes, flossing.
It may be a challenge to keep to your oral hygiene routine when schedules and calendars don’t seem to matter anymore, but you can do it!
7. Get a healthy gut
A whopping 70% of your immune system can be found in your gut, so supporting your gut health is of utmost importance when it comes to achieving optimal health.
Your gut is made up of both “good” and “bad” bacteria and probiotics are the ultimate good guys who send the bad guys packing.
Probiotic foods that replenish the good bacteria in your gut include yogurt, pickles, kefir, and sauerkraut. If these aren’t at the top of your list, a good alternative is a daily probiotic supplement.
There, now you’re equipped with seven new ways to support your immune system. These tips are good any time of year, but they are extra important now. With the right nutrients and healthy habits, you can help support your body’s defenses.