Although your first step should be to get immunized for influenza, you should also focus on keeping your immune system strong. Dr. Bruce Underwood, a certified nutrition and preventive care specialist with Healthy Futures, Inc., recommends these “best practices” for maintaining wellness:
- Get enough rest. To keep your immune system as robust as possible, experts recommend six to eight hours a night of sound sleep.
- Exercise regularly, but don’t overdo it. The Surgeon General urges adults to walk at least 10,000 steps, or about four miles a day. However, Underwood notes that both lack of exercise and over-exercising can weaken the immune system – so exercise common sense.
- Make sure you get the right amount of essential nutrients. These include: 1) about 1,000 milligrams a day of vitamin C (from fruits vegetables, and certain cuts of meat) to counteract such toxins as cigarette smoke and air pollution, and the physical and psychological effects of stress; 2) 10 to 40 milligrams a day of zinc (from meats, seafood, dairy products, nuts, legumes, and whole grains) can help maintain a healthy immune system, however, taking more than 100 milligrams a day can lead to fever, fatigue, and other problems; and 3) 440 milligrams a day of fatty acids, especially omega-three acids of the EPA and DPH types (from fish, fish oil, and flax) for overall health, according to the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids.
An ounce of prevention!