Tips to stay healthy and boost your immune system

Load up on fruits and veggies high in Vitamin C

There’s no better time than now to start thinking about boosting your immune system. HI Now host Kanoe Gibson is chatting with Dr. Kristen Coles from Steelsmith Natural Health Center to get some tips on the best ways to do that and stay healthy.

“In this time right now, I’m really emphasizing a few things like diet, lifestyle, sleep, stress,” Dr. Coles explains. “There is some research showing that Melatonin can actually reduce the inflammation that might be stimulated by viral infections.”

What that means is getting adequate sleep, at least seven hours or more, has been show to improve the immune system. Dr. Coles says people who get five or less hours of sleep actually have a depleted or deficient immune system.

When it comes to what you’re eating, Dr. Coles likes to think about a diet that targets three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit every day. It’s important to make sure you’re eating foods that are high in Vitamin C, which can even include fruits like papaya, kiwi, and raspberries. There are even vegetables that are high in Vitamin C: Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and bell peppers. Dr. Coles explains that eating foods like these are especially important because humans are one of the only animals that can’t create their own Vitamin C.

“Clinical trials and research shows us it shortens frequency, duration, and severity of the common cold and can even prevent the onset of pneumonia when someone is sick — which is very important to note at this point,” she says.

It’s also good to eat foods that contain beneficial bacteria. Prebiotics are things like artichokes, leaks, onions, and they feed our healthy bacteria. Dr. Coles says this good bacteria can also be found in fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, and natto.

“I really think at this point right now, we all want to do everything we can to have the healthiest gut for the healthiest immune system,” Dr. Coles says. “So I’m really cautioning my patients to dramatically reduce their alcohol intake right now.”

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