We’d like to share with you three simple steps to create a positive lifestyle change that will also help put your mind at ease!
1) Proper nutrition
While all three of these guidelines are equally important, number one is the foundation. Proper nutrition not only provides you with the essentials you need to stay healthy, but it will also build the energy you need to follow the other lifestyle guidelines. In order to fuel a healthy immune system, make sure to provide yourself with daily servings of each of the following vitamins:
- Vitamin B6: This vitamin is necessary for the proper functioning of your white blood cells (your body’s main defense against infection). B6 can be found in bananas, lean poultry, fish, whole grains and vegetables. This vitamin is also essential for healthy brain function and has the added bonus of helping your body protect against air pollution.
- Vitamin C: Also very important in white blood cell production, vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits like oranges and limes, as well as colorful vegetables like bell peppers, kohlrabi and water spinach.
- Vitamin D: While there is no research that getting enough Vitamin D improves immune functions, there is evidence that the lack of vitamin D is directly linked to poor immune functions. In order to make sure that you have enough vitamin D, be sure to stock your fridge with dairy, whole grains and fatty fish, like salmon and tuna. Vitamin D is even created by our bodies when we spend time in the sunlight (more on that later.)
- Vitamin E: Packed with antioxidants, vitamin E is perhaps the most powerful supporter of your immune system. It is available in nuts, seeds, shrimp and fresh greens.
While this may seem like a lot, it can be easily simplified by making sure to eat lots of colorful vegetables, nuts, chicken, fish and fresh citrus fruit. All of these are found in the typical Vietnamese diet, provided that you’re eating from fresh, clean sources and not processed foods.
2) Exercise Outside
You and your children should strive for a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate exercise per day. According to this article by Medline, exercise helps clean bacteria out of the blood and airways, increases activity in white blood cells, raises body temperatures to help kill infection and limits the production of stress hormones.
It’s obvious that increased exercise will improve overall health, but it’s also important to make sure that you’re spending some time walking, running, cycling or playing with your family outside. As stated before, your body can make its own vitamin D if you spend time in the sunlight. Being in the sunlight is also linked to the production of T cells, as outlined in this study by Georgetown University. Not only that, but spending time outside is very important in allowing yourself to relax and enjoy a normal life. Just make sure you’re socially distanced!
You can follow this UPFIT LINK for some simple workouts that you can do outside of the gym!
3) Get Enough Sleep
Of course, sleep is very important for your immune system function as this is the time when your body is recharging and restoring everything that it’s lost throughout the day. According to this article by Mayoclinic: “During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep. Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation, or when you’re under stress. Sleep deprivation may decrease production of these protective cytokines. In addition, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don’t get enough sleep.”
You may be reading this advice on improving your sleep and think to yourself, “easier said than done”. But the beauty of these three lifestyle guidelines are that they all work together. If you have proper nutrition, you’ve got a more steady supply of energy throughout the day, allowing you to exercise and maintain a steady energy level, which will make falling, and staying, asleep exponentially easier
While these three guidelines may seem simple, and we are sure that you’ve read other articles on all of the different benefits of nutrition, exercise and sleep, they are so rarely followed in the modern world. Like we’re sure you said earlier, “easier said than done”. But hopefully this can be your first step towards a healthier lifestyle. That way, you can rest assured that your bodies are strong enough to fight off any challenge that might come your way, virus or otherwise!