How to strengthen your immune system?
Not only in times of COVID it makes sense to think about strengthening the defenses of our immune system. A powerful immune defense generally helps us to get through every season of the year healthily. You don’t need “miracle pills” for this, because just a few changes in your behavior and a diet rich in essential nutrients are enough to improve your health.
Vitamins as fuel for the immune system
If you don’t refuel during a long drive, the engine will soon stutter and eventually stop completely. Our immune system behaves in a similar way and functioning depends to a large extent on a regular intake of vitamins and minerals intake. Vitamin C is particularly important and is found in abundance in many types of fruit and vegetables. Kiwis are considered to be true “vitamin bombs”. Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits or lemons also contain so much vitamin C that just two pieces a day cover the need. Bell peppers and strawberries are also recommended. If you don’t like all of that, there are alternatives from local cultivation in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale or Brussels sprouts. Vitamins are lost during cooking, but the raw vitamin content of cabbage is even higher than that of citrus fruits, so that the losses are partly compensated.
In addition to vitamin C, the vitamins A, D, B12 and the minerals iron and zinc should also be emphasized for a high level of resistance. A balanced diet, especially fish, nuts and legumes, ensures that our body absorbs enough of them.
Sport and fresh air are always a plus
Anyone who spends several hours in the office every day, commutes to work by car or public transport and prefers to put their feet up after work will suffer from a lack of exercise in the long term. Sports and exercise not only increase health and well-being in general, but also help strengthen our immune system. It has now been shown that employees who use their bike on the way to work on average have fewer sick days per year than car drivers. If you have the right clothing, e.g. a warm windbreaker, you can even use your bike to go to work in autumn and winter. Of course, this does not apply to longer commutes, but many car journeys are only made in the inner-city 5 km area and this is exactly where you can start. If cycling in cold temperatures seems too daunting for you, it is best to start with the change in spring.
And why not try regular jogging? Athletes are not only fitter, they are also healthier and those who don’t like to run can still walk – even half an hour a day in the fresh air increases the immune system’s defenses.
Why psychological factors also influence the immune system
Above all, stress can affect the body in general and the immune system in particular and significantly reduce your defenses. Short-term stress over one or several weeks is often difficult to avoid. However, we can influence and control long-term or even permanent factors ourselves. Do you feel like you are constantly annoyed and overwhelmed at work? Changing jobs can have a positive impact on your health. This also applies to reducing stress in private life, e.g. by avoiding deadline pressure. Just cancel a private appointment a week and go jogging and eat some fruit during this time – your immune system will thank you!
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