The human body provides the strongest defense against becoming sick. Over the last two years, we have been bombarded with statistics provided by media sources stating more individuals are becoming ill with Covid-19 and different variants. Shots and booster shots are being pushed to combat an illness that has been known to cause the most difficulties for those suffering from underlying health conditions. Why are people not being encouraged to better their health through natural methods to help increase their immunity instead of placing a foreign material into their body that hasn’t been proven to be effective? There is no money to be made in helping people to be healthier without pharmaceutical drugs, shots, and continuous trips to the doctor. People are capable of helping themselves stay healthy by proper nutrition, exercise, supplementation, and a healthy mind frame.
If we want to be healthy, fueling our bodies with what they need and can process is the first step. You wouldn’t pour sand into your gas tank and expect the car to run correctly. So why consume foods the body struggles to tolerate? We live in a society where high sugar amounts and processed foods are normal. The Standard American Diet (SAD) is low in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, but is high in foods that put individuals at a greater risk for obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other health concerns (Nutritionfacts.org, 2015). If we start with our diet, we can decrease our chances of having certain health issues. Eliminating the things that hurt our bodies increases the body’s ability to function properly. In doing so, it strengthens our immune system. According to the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 (eighth edition), “Healthy eating patterns support a healthy body weight and can help prevent and reduce the risk of chronic diseases throughout periods of growth, development, and again as well as during pregnancy.” The same guidelines indicate there is evidence to support how healthy eating patterns are associated with positive health outcomes. People are willing to be injected with something to try to stay well, but finding a balanced diet will allow the body to do what it is capable of doing naturally.
Exercise is an important component of good health. It can decrease your chances of developing many disorders and increase immunity to certain illnesses. While it isn’t exactly known how exercise helps the immune system, it does help to keep the body working properly and provides an outlet for reducing stress. Exercise causes changes in antibodies and white blood cells (Medlineplus.gov). These help to fight off diseases and infections. Exercise is best in moderation. Strenuous exercise won’t keep the body any healthier and could cause extra stress to the body. This would be counterproductive. Walking for twenty to thirty minutes daily will provide benefits. Sticking to an exercise program that best suits you will help lead to feeling healthier and more energetic.
Once the body is getting the right foods it needs and the movement it’s needing, adding vitamins and supplements can help increase immunity. The body needs to be able to absorb what is put into it properly to reap the most benefits. There are numerous options available to help boost the immune system. Vitamin C is one of the most well-known vitamins to help in fighting illnesses. It stimulates the formation of antibodies, and the production, function, and movement of white blood cells (Mayohealthclinicsystem.org, 2021). It is possible to get Vitamin C through foods such as oranges, strawberries, spinach, broccoli, and kale. For some, taking a supplement ensures they are receiving enough Vitamin C. Zinc also helps support immune responses. Zinc can be found in meats, whole grains, milk, seeds, and nuts. It is also available in supplemental form. Selenium is a mineral containing antioxidants properties. It helps lower oxidative stress in the body, which helps to reduce inflammation and enhance immunity (Healthline.com, 2022). Foods such as eggs, nuts, sunflower seeds, chicken breast, and shiitake mushrooms have selenium in them. Elderberry contains antioxidants and vitamins that boost the immune system (Webmd.com, 2022). Elderberries are high in Vitamin C. It may prevent and ease cold and flu symptoms. Smaller studies have been conducted and show promise in the use of elderberry to recover faster and experience less severe cold and flu symptoms (UPMC.com, 2020). If you are considering adding vitamins and supplements to your diet, it’s always recommended to discuss changes with your doctor.
Good health is a combination of multiple aspects. What you put into your body and how you move your body tend to be details that aren’t overlooked, but a healthy mind-frame is easy to forget. It is important to take time to relax and relieve stress. A positive mind-frame also can play a role in keeping us from becoming ill or helping speed up recovery. An optimistic attitude impacts physical and mental health. It has been known to provide greater resistance to illnesses, such as the common cold (Webmd.com, 2022). Studies have been conducted that concluded those exposed to the flu and common cold who have a positive outlook were less likely to get sick and reported fewer symptoms if they became sick (Webmd.com, 2022). Thinking positively about situations doesn’t mean someone is ignoring reality. It just means they are hopeful of the outcome and future. If you’re a pessimistic person, spending a little time each day meditating on positive thoughts can have the same benefits as someone optimistic doing it. Negative thoughts won’t go away overnight. It will take time, practice, and patience to master a more positive mind. Your health is worth it.
Realizing how much power our bodies have in keeping us healthy is necessary so we can take the right steps to make sure to take care of them. It isn’t always easy to eat right, exercise, and practice positive thinking. It takes a conscious effort, but when we take the initiative and focus on helping our bodies, our bodies thank us. They begin to heal and become healthy. Starting with small adjustments end up making the biggest difference. It’s time to take back our health and stop feeling pressured into doing something that has yet to be proven as beneficial.