We all lead busy lives. Between work obligations and family life, juggling day to day responsibilities is a delicate balance, which in time, can take it's toll on your overall health. Whether you're a senior or an adult, in order to put your best foot forward and to prevent life's daily stressors from keeping you down, it's important to follow a healthy lifestyle. These 5 quick and simple tips will not only boost your immune system, but also set you on the path for success.
Did you know that the average person touches his/her face more than 3 times every hour? In fact, every time you touch a surface and then your face, bacteria, viruses, and allergens are all transferred to your mouth and nose, making it considerably easier to get sick. For these reasons and more, hand hygiene remains the most important step in reducing your overall risk of infection and promoting a healthier immune system. To ensure adequate hand hygiene, scrub your hands and nails continuously with soap and warm water for at least 30 seconds and dry with a paper towel. Avoid touching doorhandles of public restrooms or hand dryers as these can easily spread dangerous microbes and cause you to get sick.
We all know how important water is, but most of us don't drink the daily recommended amounts to promote healthy living and boost immune function. Since the human body is made up more than 60% water, it's vital to consistently replace all fluids lost through normal metabolic processes such as perspiration and digestion. Drinking sufficient water allows your organs to operate more efficiently, which in turn boosts your immune system. While the amount of water you should drink varies from person to person, the average recommended amount is 8, 8-ounce glasses per day. A good way to check for hydration status is to observe the color of your urine. Clear, light yellow urine indicates adequate hydration while darker urine means dehydration.
There's something to be said for meditation. Taking the time to clear your mind and keep your daily problems at bay is a great way to boost your mental health and ultimately your immune function. Meditation helps you to better manage stress, and since stress weakens your immune system and makes it harder to fight off infections, it's no wonder why mindfulness exercises can optimize and improve your physical health as well. Dr. Deepak Chopra has a great article expounding more on the relationship between meditation and the immune system.
If you're like me, you know that exercise is a necessary evil to leading a better lifestyle and living longer, but finding the time and motivation to work-out is a whole other ballgame. If you're a senior or older adult, lower-impact exercises such as walking or swimming are great ways to support cardiovascular health and boost your immune system. In fact, studies have shown that immediately following a work-out, white blood cells (antibodies that fight infections) circulate more rapidly, allowing them to detect illnesses earlier than they might have before. Exercise also releases endorphins or feel good hormones, which helps to boost your mood and alleviate stress.
The easiest way to ensure that your body is getting adequate nutrition, vitamins, and nutrients is by eating a well-balanced and varied diet. You don't have to completely give up your guilty pleasures to lead a better lifestyle, but eating foods with higher saturated fats and lower nutritional value should be done so in moderation. Throughout your week, "eat foods high in the vitamins and minerals that benefit your immune system, including vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, carotenoids and omega-3 fatty acids. All of these nutrients help your body in various ways to increase your antibodies (or white blood cells) and maintain high levels of them. Vitamins C and E are found in many fruits and vegetables, particularly oranges, strawberries and cantaloupe. Zinc is found in very high concentrations in oysters--particularly raw oysters--and turkey. Carotenoids such as beta carotene--which the body then converts to vitamin A--is found in very high doses in carrots, as well as other vegetables. Omega-3 fatty acids are plentiful in whole grains and fish products" (LiveStrong).
Carlin Longley is a Registered Nurse and entrepreneur who's passionate about helping others.