Influenza “the flu” and the Coronavirus “COVID-19”, are both infectious respiratory illnesses. One way to prevent any type of viral infection, is to maintain a strong immune system. Two of the best ways to do this are through a healthy diet and regular exercise!
Eat Right: Eating a healthy, nutrient-rich diet is a wonderful way to boost your immune system so that it can fight off viruses. This includes eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, which contain vitamins and antioxidants to promote good health. You should also reduce your intake of sugar, fat, and processed foods, and choose lean meats. If you feel that you’re not getting enough vitamins and nutrients from your diet alone, ask your doctor if they recommend taking a multivitamin or herbal supplement.
When in doubt, Go Mediterranean! Eating a Mediterranean diet boosts the types of gut bacteria linked to 'healthy' aging, while reducing those associated with harmful inflammation in older people. Aging is associated with deteriorating bodily functions and increasing inflammation, both of which herald the onset of frailty, the Mediterranean diet acts on gut bacteria in such a way as to help curb the advance of physical frailty and cognitive decline in older age, suggests the latest research.
An Apple A Day An apple a day can keep the doctor away! Data shows that the soluble fiber in apples can help prevent cholesterol from building up on artery walls. Apples also contain a good amount of potassium, which can be beneficial for those who are watching their blood pressure. Apples, as well as other plant-based foods, are all 100% cholesterol-free, low in saturated fats, and high in fiber and other essential nutrients!
Exercise: Physical activity can become harder with age, but that doesn’t mean you should stop moving! Regular physical activity can strengthen your immune system and help your body fight off infections and viruses. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity for five days a week. Exercise increases blood circulation and has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body which helps to keep your defenses up.
Reduce Stress: Chronic stress can affect your immune system, decreasing its effectiveness. When under stress, the body increases the production of cortisol. This is a hormone that helps the body deal with stressful situations. It also limits bodily functions that aren’t essential in a fight-or-flight situation. Short-term stress doesn’t harm the body. Chronic stress, on the other hand, lowers your immune system response, making you susceptible to viruses and illnesses.
The Importance of Staying Calm: Remember, worrying never solved anything! A virus is a virus… the annual flu has a tremendous impact on our society! So, practice good hygiene and keep your immune system strong!
The Fitness Doctor will be hosting a 6-week “Burn & Learn” Lecture Series on How to Reduce Stress. Visit our website for more information!