Protecting Yourself: Health Tips With ITN Faculty Kellyann Petrucci
These healthy tips don’t require any panic shopping and contrary to what the media portrays, fruits and vegetables are still in good supply. While we understand the thought process for grabbing easy to cook, packaged meals during an emergency such as this, there’s never been a better time to stock up (within reason!) on leafy greens and other fiber-rich vegetables as well as delicious vitamin c rich fruits.
In addition to these produce basics, Dr. Kellyann Petrucci, ITN faculty member, offers these simple tips.
PROTECTING YOURSELF: HEALTH TIPS WITH KELLYANN PETRUCCI
Research suggests eating or drinking excess sugar – over 100 grams – can reduce the ability and function of your white blood cells by up to 40%. That’s a lot of immune support1! This effect can last for several hours, so try to be mindful of your sugar intake when you’re trying to keep your immune system strong. Of course, during unprecedented times like this, it’s okay to loosen up dietary preferences, especially if you have children at home. Healthy snacks and not so healthy snacks are okay to incorporate. Moderation is key.
GET EXTRA SLEEP
Rest is the best defense for your immune response! The importance of sleep in the modulation of the adaptive immune system has been well documented, especially in the effectiveness of specialized T cells, an important type of white blood cell. You may be experiencing schedule changes due to school closures and work from home requirements, however, it’s important to stick to your regular schedule as best you can – wake up, get dressed, schedule a lunch break, and go to bed at the same time. If you find yourself staying up later, try and incorporate a short nap mid-day sometime during the day.
UP YOUR VITAMIN D
Vitamin C is important, but did you know vitamin D – the sunshine vitamin – is critical to the optimal functioning of the immune system, too. If you’re in the northern hemisphere, chances are you’re not getting enough, but you can supplement with 5000 IU, especially during times when you need high immunity. When choosing vitamin D supplements, choose D3 instead of D2 for its superior bioavailability. You can also consider adding K2, which aids absorption further. With all supplements, be sure to check your levels in a few months, to make sure you’re not in excess.
The important thing to focus on right now is that you do have control over how to keep yourself, and your family, healthy. And while information continues to change fast, these health recommendations are suggested as a supplement to current CDC guidelines and should be used in collaboration with all government mandates. You can also use this time to experiment with new dishes, get creative with spices and herbs you haven’t tried, or cook a meal for an elderly or vulnerable neighbor.
Stay safe, stay healthy.