Looking for ways to improve your health and boost your immune system? Many of us today face different issues like obesity, lower immunity, poor digestion, sleeplessness, anxiety, and many more. Therefore, what better time than during this lockdown period is there to make little progressive changes in our lifestyle, to develop better eating and general healthy habits?
Here are 9 things you can do immediately to improve your overall health and boost your immunity.
Progressive ways to improve your health and boost your immune system
1. Plan your meals for the day
We are what we eat. We’ve all heard it. Nevertheless, we hardly believe in that sentence. But it is every bit as true as it is hard to see. Our body loses billions of cells every day and the nutritional content of what we eat makes up our cell membrane, hormones, blood, etc. That’s why what we put inside is of utmost importance.
The first step towards this change is to plan your daily meals, rather than eating whatever comes into your sight. Try to suppress those cravings with carefully constructed meals for yourself. Every weekend, consider making a menu plan for the upcoming week and try to remember to keep it simple (without too many fancy or hard to find ingredients).
When making your initial meal plan, don’t rush the process. Relax and do some research for a few days about the kind of veggies available, in the market around you and/or available for delivery. Find easy recipes you will enjoy making according to your palate. Try your plan for a week and see if it needs any necessary changes.
If you are working from home, try to prepare easy lunches, here are some lunch ideas we put together.
Also, don’t forget to give yourself a break from the plan. For instance, you can stick to it for 80% of meals for the week and then 20% of the time you can treat yourself with something like pizza or a dessert. Trust me. It will taste a lot better as a treat!
Doing so will not only increase your chance of adhering to your plan but it will also increase the confidence in yourself, as you achieve this milestone on your path to improving your health and boosting your immunity.
YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY THIS: Easy Smoothie Recipes for Weight Loss
2. Take sufficient amount of vitamins
Vitamins are essential micronutrients that are required by the body to maintain its well-being. You need them in tiny quantities yet, not having enough of certain ones can guarantee various ailments.
Consuming a sufficient amount of vitamins assures many benefits to your body. For instance,
- Vitamin A, D, and K help in the formation of bones and in strengthening them.
- Vitamin B6, B12, and folic acid metabolize amino acids, which are a building block of proteins.
- Vitamin C helps in making collagen, which helps in healing wounds and forms a base for bones. Also, it boosts immunity.
- Vitamin A or retinol protects your vision.
- Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant protecting your body against free radicals.
Make sure not to exceed vitamin intake based on the daily required quantities as it may cause toxicity.
Additionally, professionals recommend taking essential vitamins primarily from food sources rather than supplements as studies suggest it can create dependency and the body loses its ability to absorb them from food.
3. Work out at least 3-4 times a week
We’ve all heard it many times before that regular exercise is good for you, especcially to maintain your healthy weight or in losing extra pounds.
But what if you are stuck in a sedentary job and haven’t started thinking about exercise at all? Then, don’t worry about it because the amazing news is that it’s never too late to start.
For a healthy adult, 150 mins of moderate-intensity activity or 75 mins of high-intensity activity is recommended per week. There are many free workouts available online or, once this epidemic is improved, you can simply hit the gym near your home or office for an hour.
Allocating this one hour or even 20 minutes of your day will be the most profitable bargain you could do to improve your health and boost your immunity, as it will help you in ways such as:
- Reducing the excess of stored fats.
- Increasing the secretion of testosterone in males and thus, helps in improving sexual health.
- Reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases by increasing blood blow and raising oxygen levels in the body.
- Lower blood glucose levels by improving insulin function.
- Develop lean muscles and slow the loss of bone density, which is evident with the progression of age.
You can also hire professionals at the gym, as they will design a workout specifically for your needs. Thus, it will ensure that you stay motivated and committed to this decision for an extended period. Lastly, try to mix it up and make it fun. Music is a great accompaniment and motivator!
4. Sleep for 7 to 8 hours daily
The quality of your sleep directly affects your mental and physical wellbeing. According to various studies, lack of sleep can cause obesity, negatively impact your immune system, and may also decrease your productivity by impairing cognitive functions.
One the other hand, a sound, uninterrupted sleep has shown to improve mental ability and memory performance, in addition to uplifting your mood and improving social interactions.
Not to mention, there are proven positive effects on athletic performance as well as decreased risk of cardiovascular dysfunction.
The bottom line is that, just as proper nutrition and exercise are factors, sleep is also an important pillar to improving your health and boosting your immune system.
5. Read the nutrition labels and ingredients
Most of us don’t bother reading nutrition labels before buying our favorite snacks. But, what if developing this single habit can work miracles for you in improving your health and immunity.
The purpose of nutritional labels are to make us aware of how much fat, sugar, cholesterol, etc. product contains.
Moreover, reading them carefully will guard you against marketing gimmicks of companies claiming that their product contains “high fiber”, “low fat”, “60% less sugar” on the front label.
Additionally, reading the ingredients list is important because companies can claim that food is all-natural and show you the tasty pictures of fresh fruits on front, meanwhile you may be shocked by reading the amount of sugar and preservatives they contain. Those harmful, artificial colors and flavors can definitely wreak havoc on your overall system.
I am not saying that all of the products available out there are bad for your health, but that’s another reason to be more discerning and read the nutritional information, so that you can differentiate the healthy options from the unhealthy ones for yourself.
6. Eat more fruits and vegetables
Various data shows that eating raw fruits and vegetables significantly improves your health and boosts immunity as they contain much-needed vitamins and minerals for the body.
WHO recommends consuming 400 gm mix of various fruits and vegetables every day to get the maximum benefit from them. This habit will provide you with benefits, like:
- Improving and maintaining the health of your stomach, as they contain dietary fibers which are helpful in bowel production and its natural movement.
- They are a good source of vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, potassium and folate, etc. which makes you feel energized and improves your immunity.
- It helps in maintaining weight by keeping you full.
- They are also linked to decreasing the risk of heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, and high BP.
A simple yet ingenious way to incorporate fruits and veggies into your diet is by cutting them up, placing in a Ziploc bag and keep them near you to replace snacks and avoid getting too hungry in between meals. Will save you money in the long run too!
7. Drink plenty of water
As we all know, water is essential for our survival and 60% of our body is made up of it. Believe it or not, even though its omnipresent, many often neglect to drink enough of it every day.
There are several benefits of water which will compel you to drink more of it conscientiously.
- It lubricates the joints. Cartilage contains 80% of water and long term dehydration can cause dysfunction and joint pain.
- It helps produce good saliva and mucus; saliva helps in digestion of food mucus keeps your eyes and nose moist.
- Dehydration can cause hormonal imbalance.
- Water is needed for the digestive system to work efficiently while its deficiency can cause constipation and high stomach acidity.
- Toxins are removed with urine and perspiration from the body. Moreover, insufficient water can lead to kidney stones and other damage.
You can set a timer, download an app, or maybe even use a tracker to maintain your daily recommended water intake. I personally use a free app called Water Reminder. I set up reminders on the app and it helps me to drink more water. I also bought this gallon-sized water bottle, with cute motivational quotes, to help me achieve my goal of drinking a specific amount of water while working from home.
8. Avoid packaged and processed foods
With all those mouth-watering flavors, processed food are engineered for overconsumption. They are usually loaded with sugars, preservatives, artificial colorants, and artificial flavors, which enhances their visual appeal and taste.
Moreover, processed foods have low nutrition profiles, are low in fiber, and have a high content of trans fats. Also, studies have shown that processed foods can increase the risk of obesity and diabetes.
It must be remembered that most of our food is processed, either mechanically or chemically so, therefore, the thing to note here is that we should lower our consumption of chemically processed foods.
On the path to improve your health and boost your immune system, always remember to protect your body from such negative edibles.
9. Start your day with quiet time for an affirmation and/or meditation.
On this journey of self-improvement, the nourishment of our mind and thoughts are as important as the nourishment of our bodies.
One of the predominant methods to do so is meditation. Proof lies in how its popularity has only increased with time as people experienced its numerous benefits.
It helps in reducing stress, controlling anxiety, promoting emotional wellbeing, increases attention span, and enhancing general self-awareness.
The beauty of meditation is that it can be done by anyone and anywhere with simple methods like concentrating on a single object or thought. The ultimate goal here should be to empty your mind and give it rest for a given period of time.
Moreover, you can join support groups, or even meditation courses online, in order to master the art.
Another Favorite Read: 17 Calming Exercises for your mind and for stress relief
The bottom line
To improve your overall health and boost your immunity, all that is required are small changes to your lifestyle, which can be easily executed with some motivation and persistence. As Uncle Ben said, “With great power comes great responsibility,” which resonates here because with ample food available comes a responsibility to select and eat what is most beneficial to us.
In time, the results will surely astonish you and these changes will become your way of life. Furthermore, you will feel more energized and productive. This may even inspire you to step up your journey towards a healthier lifestyle.
We all know that this is a difficult time for every soul on the planet, but all we can do is stay safe while using it as an opportunity to better ourselves and remain positive.
Since it’s more important now than ever, I hope this post will help boost your immunity during these tough times. I would also love to know any other ways that you are building up your immune system, especially during this pandemic, in the comments. Thanks for sharing!