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Life and living: Boost your immunity now

Your immune system helps you fight off illness and stay healthy. For most people. a little bit of maintenance goes a long way when it comes to keeping your immune system strong and protecting your health. Start with these tips:

Manage stress

Stress weakens your immune system. so whether it's taking a walk. curling up with a book or spending time outdoors. there are many different activities that can help you chill out. Plus. don't forget to take a few deep breaths the moment you notice that you're feeling stressed out-it really can help you feel less anxious.

Sleep well

While skimping on sleep may give you more hours in a day in the short run, this "strategy" actually increases the likelihood that stress will damage your immune system. Lack of sleep causes your body to produce fewer cytokines. a type of protein which targets infection and inflammation. and makes you more susceptible to illness. To coun­teract this, set aside seven to nine hours each night for uninterrupted sleep.

Exercise

Daily movement is a key to overall healthfulness. It makes you happy, helps you sleep and supports your immune system. Raising your heart rate every day will do wonders for your state of mind­, especially while cooped up at home.

Eat for immunity

Healthy eating will boost your mood and immune system. In addition to taking a daily probiotic sup­plement and staying hydrated, here are foods that can help:

  • Collagen: Bone broth, salmon and collagen proteins.

  • Fiber-rich foods: Broccoli. Brussels sprouts, leafy greens, oats, avocados. almonds. fresh fruits and berries.

  • Probiotics and fermented food: High-quality yogurt and kefir are rich with probiotics, as are fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut and miso.

Practice gratitude

Finding gratitude in small moments is an important way to keep your immune system strong and help you effectively manage stress. Try to find at least a few things every day that you are thankful for and take time to reflect on the good things in life.

Putting healthy habits in place now is an important way to keep your immune system strong. Make small changes on a daily basis-such as managing stress. getting enough sleep. and eating healthy foods-and you'll go a long way toward bolstering your immune system. ■

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