Fall is just around the corner, and we all know that is when children and adults alike tend to contract illnesses. Whether it is the dreaded Covid-19, the flu, or just the miserable common cold, none of us want to get sick.
While vaccines offer protection, there are still lots of other things we can all be doing to strengthen our immune systems and overall health. Here are some of the top ones.
First and foremost, strive to live as healthy of a life as you possibly can.
Your diet, of course, is super important. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables — if possible, eat as many organic fruits and vegetables as you can. You can check out the up to date list of the Clean 15 and the Dirty Dozen.
The Dirty Dozen are the fruits and vegetables that are tested every year for which ones have the most pesticides on them, thus you should choose organic. The Clean 15 are the ones that are considered safe to consume if they are not organic. Check out www.environmentalworkinggroup.com for the updated lists.
Another thing to add to your diet are fermented foods. These foods improve your gut health, which strengthens your overall immune system. Try quality yogurt (with live cultures), kimchi, and fermented sauerkraut.
Consume healthy fats, such as avocados, quality olive oil, salmon (wild caught), coconut oil, and chia seeds.
Limit sugar. Almost all processed food (and fast food) is loaded with sugar — even though the label may try to disguise the sugary ingredients. I always tell people, if you cannot pronounce the ingredients on the label, or don’t know what they are, don’t eat that product.
Exercise regularly. Exercise improves your heart health, lowers blood pressure, and helps control your body weight. Exercise also makes you feel good! You don’t have to join a gym either.
Buy a few sets of dumbbells, a yoga mat, and maybe a bench. There are hundreds of work out videos for every level of fitness online — or you can be old school and get some books from the library to get you started. We invested in a stationary bike a few years ago and I have to say I love it.
The treadmill can be so boring. It is nice to change things up. Of course if you have a friend you can work out with, all the better. My workout “friend” is usually our television. I record shows I don’t get to watch normally and “bribe” myself to get to watch them while working out. Hey, whatever it takes.
Get enough quality sleep. Health experts say most adults need 7 hours of sleep per night. I like to get 8, so everybody is different. It is just as important for your sleep to be quality and not just quantity. Make sure your room is dark and on the cool side.
Also, good sheets and pillows make a difference! I love white noise — and a fan. In addition, I absolutely love my diffuser that sits on my night table. My favorite essential oils to diffuse at night are eucalyptus and lavender.
Try to minimize your stress level. This can be tricky if you have lots of stressful things going on in your life. Still, things such as yoga, meditation or prayer can go a long way to helping with stress.
Don’t smoke. That is all.
Quality supplements. Of course talk to your doctor first, but many health experts encourage the use of supplements. No matter how healthy and clean you eat, it is really difficult to get all of the recommended foods you need to get all of the nutrients you need in one day.
There are tons of supplements out there, so do your own due diligence. I also believe in quality products from trusted sources. I love Truvani’s products, as well as Brickhouse Nutrition’s green drinks. All vitamins are not created equally, so definitely do your research.
Did you know that elderly people are often deficient in nutrients? I didn’t know that this was a thing, or that it is because elderly people tend to eat less and also less of a variety of foods.
Check on your parents and grandparents and make sure they are getting a quality and varied diet.
Lastly, stay hydrated. Most of us don’t drink enough water. Get in the habit of having your water bottle with you always, and refill it often. Make sure you drink a big glass of water first thing in the morning—your body hasn’t had hydration in many hours, so it definitely needs a drink of water.
Let’s all head into the fall with as strong of an immune system as possible.
Adlen Robinson is an award winning columnist and author of “Organic Food and Kitchen Matters.” You can email her at email@example.com.