The news about the Coronavirus reaching the United States has everyone concerned about the spread of infection. There is conflicting information and confusion over some of the details, but what we know for sure is that we have some control over the affects of germs on our immune system. Everyone knows that hand washing is the number one way to prevent the spread of germs, yet only 5% of Americans use proper hand washing techniques. The CDC recommends washing with soap for at least 20 seconds and often! Beyond hand washing here are few more ways to prevent infection
1.Reduce or Quit Smoking
Tobacco smoke has a harsh effect on the immune system and creates a greater susceptibility to infections and influenza. Smoking also lowers levels of antioxidants. The benefits of quitting smoking are endless but when it comes to the immune system, they include improved circulation, increased oxygen levels and lowers inflammation. While quitting completely is ideal, even reducing can make a difference.
2. Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient and an antioxidant that is helpful to booting your immune system. In addition to citrus fruit there are many other sources such as kiwi, red and green peppers, broccoli, and strawberries. Vitamin E is also a powerful antioxidant and can be found in almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, and peanut butter. Zinc increases production of immune cells. Cashews, oysters, and chickpeas all contain high levels of zinc. Vitamin A is an anti-inflammation vitamin and enhances immune function. Eggs, broccoli, spinach, carrots and citrus fruits provide vitamin
3. Increase Exercise
One way to reduce the chance of getting a cold, flu or other infection is increase exercise levels. Exercise causes changes to antibodies and white blood cells. The other thing physical activity helps flush out bacteria from the lungs and airways.
4. Consume Alcohol in Moderation
The fear factor may have us tempted to drink more, however now is the time to reduce alcohol consumption. Unfortunately, alcohol lowers the immune system. Moderation is key.
5. Get more Sleep
Sleep is the most important thing we can do for our health and especially for the immune system. While we sleep the body helps redistribute energy resources that are used to immune the system. The immune cells actually get out of circulation and start getting ready for the next day. A good night’s rest is our best defense.
Our health is our number one resource, so it makes sense whether or not there is a virus making headlines to protect it. Small changes beat out no changes!