College of DuPage Nursing Student Daniela Dimitrova shared these five steps to strengthen your immune system:
1. Load up on Vegetables
Vegetables are extremely important to consume on a daily basis because of the healthy nutrients contained in them; polyphenols are micronutrients and are packed with antioxidants! Polyphenols are contained in fruits and vegetables and support gut bacteria while inhibiting harmful bacteria.
When vegetables are not consumed, serious birth defects are more likely such as undeveloped cognitive ability and reduced productivity. It is important to consume at least seven to ten servings of vegetables a day. Blending the veggies may make them more appealing to younger kids.
2. Avoid eating sugary foods
Sugar may be tasty however it does suppress the human immune system. Consuming sugary foods can inhibit the ability of the white blood cells (WBS) to kill germs for up to five hours. It also can interfere with the transportation of vitamin C which aids in immune system function. Vitamin C is found in broccoli, lemons, oranges, peppers, kale, and tomatoes, and is another reason to eat veggies.
3. Improve Sleep Patterns
Sleep patterns may vary based on daily activity needs, therefore, if sleep duration is less than 7 – 9 hours a night, it may not be enough for an adult; children require even more when. A lack of sleep weakens the immune system, concentration, and increases the risk for high blood pressure. It is important at night to turn your phone off to get sufficient rest!
Being physically active is not only beneficial for the entire body but is especially beneficial for brain health. Exercise increases blood flow throughout the body, transports substances in the blood through the lymph system to aid in fighting infection, improves your weight, improves blood glucose – or blood sugar levels, mood, behavior, and keeps the brain sharp and focused.
5. Drink Water
Adequate hydration from drinking enough water is important, especially on those hot summer days. Water keeps the lymph moving to aid the bodily defenses and is necessary to rid of bodily toxins. According to the Centers for Disease Control, (CDC, 2020) fluid intake per day varies by age, gender, pregnancy, and breastfeeding status, although males require 3.7 liters per day and women, 2.7 liters. This amount may vary based on daily activities.
SMITH, M. D. (2020). 7 Easy Ways to Make Your Immune System Stronger. Better Nutrition, 82(8), 32–36.