4 simple ways to help boost your immunity

The immune system is the body’s natural defence system. It does not reside in one single part of the body. It is made up of a network of cells, molecules, tissues, and organs working together to protect the body.

Each of these elements play  a  key  role  in  how  the immune   system   works   and   its   function,   which   is   crucial   to preventing infection and illness.

Nutrition
Research has shown  that  nutrition  and  other  lifestyle  factors influence  the  immune  strength  and  susceptibility  to  infectious diseases.

  • Riva NutritionFruits and  vegetables  provide  nutrient  such  as  beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E which can boost immune function. Fruit and vegetables high in antioxidants can also aid in reducing oxidative stress within the body.
  • Beta-carotene is a powerful  antioxidant  that  can reduce  inflammation  and  boost  immune  function by  increasing  disease-fighting  cells  in  the  Excellent sources include sweet  potatoes,  carrots, and green leafy vegetables
  • Vitamins C and E are  antioxidants  that  help  to destroy free radicals and support the body’s natural immune Sources of vitamin C include red peppers,  oranges,  strawberries,  broccoli,  mangoes,  lemons,  and  other  fruits  and vegetables. Vitamin E sources include nuts, seeds, spinach, and broccoli
  • Research shows vitamin D supplementation may  reduce  the  risk  for  viral infection.  Food sources of vitamin D include fortified cereals and plant-based milks and supplements
  • Zinc is a mineral that can help boost white blood cells, which defend against invaders. Sources include nuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, beans, and lentils.


Exercise

ExerciseWe all  know  that  exercise  is  good  for our  physical  health  as  it assists  with  decreasing  our  chances  of  developing  heart  disease  and  it  keeps  our  bones  healthy  and strong. But did you know that exercise can increase our immune system and improve energy levels?

Studies have shown that people who follow a moderate intensity exercise program can improve their immunity the best.

Moderate intensity means that you are slightly breathless; however, you are still able to maintain a conversation. A moderate intensity program can consist of:

  • A daily walk for 20 to 30 minutes
  • Cycling with your children a few times a week
  • Completing a resistance training program every other day

 

Reduce Stress
When we are stressed, our body releases excess amounts of cortisol (stress hormone) which increases the amount of inflammation within our body. Cortisol also decreases the amount of white blood cells, which makes us more susceptible to infections.  High levels of stress can also  cause  depression  and anxiety, again leading to higher levels of inflammation within our body. In the long-term, sustained, high levels of  inflammation  point  to  an  overworked, over-tired immune system that can’t properly  protect us.

Research has shown that by meditating for 10-15 minutes, three to four times a week,  can  assist  with  lowering  your  stress  levels.    Meditation helps reduces  the  amount  of  cortisol  in  your  body  as  well  as  reduces inflammation.

 

Sleep
When it comes to our  health,  sleep  plays  a  very  important  role.  Getting enough  sleep  is  vital  for  our mental  and  physical  health  as  well  as  productivity.  But did  you  know  that  sleep  affects  your  immune system and skimping on it could leave you susceptible to illnesses such as colds and flu?

It is recommended to get at least seven to nine hours of good quality sleep each night as this will help keep your  immune  system  strong. If  your sleep  schedule  is  interrupted  by  a  busy  workweek  or  your children, try to make up for the lost sleep with naps during the day.

Research has  shown  that  taking  two  naps  that  are  no longer than 30 minutes each (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) can assist with decreasing stress and offset the negative  effects  that  sleep  deprivation  has  on  the  immune system.  Alternatively, try  having  a 20-minutenap  on  your lunch break and another one at the end of your workday.

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