With all the news coverage on coronavirus and how it is quickly spreading around the world, many people are panicking. We are surrounded by information on what to do and not to do. However, the reality is that the stronger our immune system, the higher chance we have of not being affected by this new virus, or any other diseases out there.

I write and emphasize the importance of staying healthy throughout the year by providing monthly tips. But if I must narrow it down to only two things for keeping your immune system strong, it would be going back to the basics Рdiet and exercise.  Here is why:

Exercise

Exercise helps us flush bacteria out of our lungs and like a fever, when our body temperature rises, it kills bacteria. However, that does not mean you should exercise when you are already sick and have a fever. But having the right workout routine is a great way to maintain a healthy body, including a well-functioning immune system. It also helps antibodies, promotes a healthy white blood cell count (the ones that help you fight disease), and reduces stress, which we all know can contribute to us getting sick.

So, for those anti-exercise people, what exactly can you do? If you do not want to participate in heavy exercise, a simple walk in the park for 20 minutes or riding the bike with your kids can also make a big impact. It is important to make small changes that will add up because over time, they can impact your health dramatically. For example, try to take the stairs instead of the elevator or park further away from wherever you are going to get in a longer walk. Basically, the less time you spend siting the better.

Diet

When it comes to diet, we all know that eating an unhealthy diet day in and day out will impact our health in a negative way.  There is no specific food that you can eat that will instantly make you healthy but eating a well-balanced diet that includes a lot of fruit and vegetables will help make your immune system stronger. Try to pay attention to how your food is being cooked and aim to eat more green leafy vegetables, fruits and whole foods. You also want to load up your plate with good carbs such as beans and brown rice, lentils and sweet potatoes and stay away from white flour. I am not of fan of depriving yourself, but when it comes to your health, moderation is key. I like to follow the 80/20 rule; 80 percent of the foods I consume are healthy, but I still allow myself to splurge a little on my cravings.

By following these recommendations, you will be on a better track to keeping yourself healthy amidst this outbreak, and beyond.