The WHO defines health as a complete state of physical, mental and social well-being; and not just as the absence of disease or illness. But how can we take care of our defenses and strengthen our immune system? Pedro Soriano, an expert nurse in the digital patient and better known on networks as Enfermero en Red, gives us six recommendations to shield our health from diseases
Try to exercise in uncontaminated places. Photo: IMEO
Recommendations not to get sick
1. – Moderate physical exercise: Intensity is the key. Strenuous and intense exercise is immunosuppressive; that is, it lowers our defenses.
In the new guide, called WHO Guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behaviour, 150-300 minutes of moderate exercise per week is recommended, including for people with chronic illnesses or disabilities.
In this same guide, it is emphasized that children and adolescents get physical exercise for at least 60 minutes a day.
2. – Sleep at least seven and a half hours, but if they are eight hours better, while the naps should be no more than 30 minutes.
Sleeping is not a pleasure, it is a necessity because the immune system takes advantage of it to regenerate and strengthen itself in its basic functions such as the fight against germs and toxins.
3. – Nutrition: key element for a healthy immune system. It must be complete and balanced.
Carbohydrates should be as whole as possible and avoid ultra-processed foods.
We must take all kinds of vitamins, trace elements and sunbathe with prevention and protection to get the necessary vitamin D and charge our defenses.
4. – Reduce stress: We live moments like breakups, moving, job changes, deaths of loved ones… that can generate stress and also, we can’t control it on many occasions.
Stress and anxiety exist and when we experience moments like this, our body creates a hormone called cortisol, one of the most powerful natural immunosuppressants.
It can affect different functions of the body such as sleep, blood pressure, blood glucose levels, digestive problems, etc.
This is very important because endorphins are generated, also called happiness hormones that counteract cortisol.
5. – Avoid toxic substances such as tobacco, drugs and/or alcohol, which are immunosuppressive and can leave our body exposed to diseases.
For some years it has been said that having a glass of wine or a beer occasionally was good for the immune system, but the reality is that this is not the case.
Objectively, they are guilty pleasures that should be consumed in a controlled manner and in the least amount possible.
6. – Vaccination: It is important to have complete and up-to-date vaccinations. Vaccines have been an achievement of humanity that protect us from diseases that can kill us.
They help us reduce symptoms and avoid major complications as we have seen with the vaccines against Covid-19, generating a reaction from our immune system, producing antibodies that will help fight against the virus or bacteria that is causing us harm.
Pedro Soriano is a male nurse of the Community of Madrid, digital patient communication expert, professor on the European University of Madrid and leader in Follow Friday Patient (#FFPaciente) whose objective is to give visibility and resources to patients through the use of the Internet.