Healthy habits to boost your immune system

Ask the Expert

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – When trying to boost your immune system, Nurse Practitioner Brandi Giles says it’s all about keeping your inflammation levels low.

Stress can cause an inflammatory response, she said.

“It elevates your blood pressure, elevates your heart rate, decreases your ability to sleep well, all in turn will lower your immune system significantly,” she said.

Giles encourages making time for hobbies to decompress, which she said will “help your body build that immunity.”

Sleep deprivation can hurt your immune system too, she said.

“If you’re in a constant state of sleep deprivation, your body does not have the capability to mount a physiological response.”

Eating processed foods or drinking alcohol to cope with stress can also weaken your immune system, she warned.

“Alcohol has a lot of sugar, whether its liquor or wine or beer. Your body processes that and can cause you to have a more inflammatory reaction to anything”

Instead, she recommended eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, limiting your alcohol intake and taking walks outside.

“You can take Vitamin D supplements, but the best way to get Vitamin D is in the sunlight,” she said.

While these practices aren’t cures for viruses like COVID-19, Giles added, she said they can increase your immune response.

“You may still get it. I can’t say this will prevent you from getting it, but your symptoms may be lessened if your body has more capability to fight the disease.”

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