COVID-19 has turned the spotlight on the topic of immunity in recent years, yet even as the pandemic wanes we still need to support our immune system so it can fight off viruses, bacteria, and other potentially compromising invaders.
There are lifestyle habits within our control that can build our immunity, explains Paul Kriegler, RD, CPT, director of nutritional products at Life Time, in a Life Time Talks podcast. “Being healthy at a metabolic and system level matters a lot with regard to whatever pathogen we encounter,” he notes. “The choices we make from meal to meal and day to day have the biggest impact on our ability to be resilient. I think it’s empowering to tell people that message.”
Kriegler recommends these daily lifestyle habits that offer essential immune-system support:
1. Eat a high-quality, nutrient-dense diet.
“Diet quality is a major controllable factor we should all be paying attention to,” says Kriegler. He recommends eating a protein-rich diet and consuming about a head-size portion of produce (or five cups or more) every day. He also stresses the importance of staying well hydrated.
2. Go out in nature.
In addition to providing the immune-supportive benefits of vitamin D, natural sunlight helps regulate our circadian rhythms, as well as other physiological processes and systems.
3. Get adequate sleep.
At least seven hours per night tends to produce the best immune resilience.
4. Manage your stressors.
Stress is healthy in short bursts but not at the constant levels modern life tends to cause. Include intentional stress-management techniques in your routine to promote relaxation.
5. Move your body.
“Our bodies do upregulate certain immune processes and abilities when we place little calculated amounts of stress, like exercise, on it and then allow it to recover,” says Kriegler. Along with regular exercise, he also emphasizes consistent daily movement.
Boost Your Immunity
For further advice on strengthening immunity, listen to the Life Time Talks podcast with Paul Kriegler at “Everyday Habits for Building Immunity“.
This article originally appeared as “Everyday Habits For Building Immunity” in the November 2022 issue of Experience Life.