Building your immunity is an important part of building your strength to endure the hard work of recovery – and it should definitely take a priority during cold and flu season. Hopefully, you’ve already gotten your flu shot. If not, it’s not too late. But beyond immunization there are some everyday things you can do to boost your immunity for a better recovery.
What you eat, the amount of exercise you get and even your attitude can play a role in preventing illness:
- Healthy fats: Saturated fats from animal foods as well as trans fats from processed foods can interfere with the immune system by reducing the ability of white blood cells to zap bacteria. Instead, opt for unsaturated fats like almonds, avocados and peanut butter.
- Sugar: Did you know that drinking just two 12-ounce cans of soda (which contain 10 teaspoons of sugar) can impair the ability of white blood cells to deactivate or kill bacteria.
- Vitamin C: Since the body can’t store immune-boosting Vitamin C, you need to consume some every day. Loading up on oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit will help increase the activity of phagocytes (cells that digest bacteria) in the blood. In general, loading up on a variety of fruits and vegetables will help provide your body with the nutrients your immune system needs to work its best.
- Physical activity: Exercise helps the immune system produce the blood cells that attack bacterial invaders. In fact, studies have found that people who exercise moderately, five or six days per week, have half as many colds and sore throats as non-exercisers.
- Sleep and stress: It’s probably not too surprising that this dangerous duo is bad for your health. Both sleep deprivation and chronic stress increase the hormone cortisol, which can suppress immune function.
- Smoking: Again, not news, but smoking compromises your basic immune defenses and increases your risk of bronchitis and pneumonia.
Self-Care at Segue
A consistent self-care practice can help boost your immunity and strengthen your physical and mental health. Segue Recovery Support’s ongoing coaching services can ensure that self-care is part of your overall recovery and sober life. For more information about our services, contact a Recovery Specialist at 866-905-4550.