Boosting Immune Health
Brittany Kelley RD, LDN
The change of seasons can bring on some pretty nasty colds for people as the temperature can vary from 60’s to 90’s outside in just one week. Not only do these varying temperatures make it hard to figure out what to wear, but they also do a number on our bodies. That’s why keeping up with your immune system is important in preventing the next nasty cold coming your way. As a Registered Dietitian, I have heard all of the tips and tricks to keep you feeling your best, but there are a few that stand out to me that I like to practice daily.
Keeping up with our immune health doesn’t have to mean taking a multivitamin everyday, or going on a juice cleanse to get all of the vitamins you possibly can. The more important factor to keep in mind is:nourishment. Properly nourishing our bodies with the proper foods and nutrition from our daily meals and snacks is the key. Proper nourishment looks like a plate full of fresh brightly colored vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, or beets, a fist size portion of a lean protein, lentils, or beans, and a healthy portion of whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, or whole grain pasta. Nourishment is balance, and balancing our body is what keeps us in line and fueled for the day ahead. It is also important to keep in mind that there are certain fruits and vegetables than contain higher amounts of vitamins than others, but all trace minerals are important to our health. It is important to consume a variety, as the more variation in color the more variation in nutrients that you will get! Likewise, eating more from the ground than from a box makes it easy to stay away from processed foods that are lower in nutritional value.
In addition to eating well, mindfulness is probably the #1 factor in our eating habits that we forget to pay attention to. If our body is telling us that are not hungry as we reach for a roll of cookies, we should listen to it and avoid eating out of emotion. If our bodies are exhausted from a long day of work and minimal sleep and is telling us to take a day off from going to the gym, we should listen to it. When we push ourselves past our limit, that is when we do more harm than good to our body. Stress can attribute to lowered immune health and make us more inclined to get sick. So take time to give yourself self-care with rest and the nutrition of a balanced meal, head to bed an hour earlier than you normally would, and shut off your phone. Making sure to make sleep a priority is also important, as it can throw off our body’s balance if we do not get enough. So get to bed earlier, and leave the day behind you when you can. There is always going to be work to get done, or texts to answer but they can wait.