With COVID-19 on all of our minds, many people are looking for ways to boost their immune systems. Below are a few simple, proven ways to support your body and increase its ability to defend itself.

Immune strengthening strategies:

Eat a balanced diet. Nutritional deficiencies make us more susceptible to viruses and bacteria, that’s why it is important to eat nutritional foods that maintain a healthy immune system. Whole-foods including grains, beans, nuts and seeds provide daily nutritional value along with sweet-tasting vegetables and leafy greens.

Get quality sleep. Sleep is one of the most important health behaviors for optimal immune function, mental and physical health, and quality of life. We heal when we sleep. A healthy immune system can fight off infections more than a sleep-deprived immune system. Adults should focus on getting between six to eight hours a sleep a night. Sleep in a dark room and keep a regular bedtime and wake up routine.

Exercise regularly. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend 150-300 minutes per week of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity, and two sessions per week of muscle strength training.

Reduce stress.  Although you should practice lowering your stress levels year-round, reducing your stress level amid this virus outbreak is particularly important as stress directly impacts your immune system. Work to develop good coping mechanisms, including activities in your daily life that help you handle stress like virtually connecting with loved ones, going outside, practicing meditation regularly, exercising and doing something that makes you happy.

These strategies are designed to work in conjunction with taking steps to prevent the virus from spreading such as maintaining a six-foot social distance from others, wearing a mask and frequent hand washing.

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