September is National Disease Literacy Month! It was founded to educate people about their conditions and the associated services needed to make careful decisions so that they can live a healthier life. When it comes to your health, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Follow these everyday lifestyle habits to give your immune system everything it needs to fend off illness and function at its best!

  1. EAT HEALTHY: A healthy immune system must be fueled with nutritious food. That means a diet with plenty of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, and time-tested immune boosters like fresh garlic, spinach, citrus and, yes, even chicken soup.
  2. EXERCISE: Important to overall good health, regular exercise keeps your body strong to protect against diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, bone loss and some cancers. Regular, moderate exercise helps circulate cells that attack viruses and bacteria, and lowers stress hormones which can make you more susceptible to illness
  3. DON’T SMOKE: Smoking decreases immune cells, weakening your body’s ability to avoid and fight infections. Give up smoking, and this process can be reversed.
  4. GET ENOUGH SLEEP: Getting less than the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep can lower your immunity, putting you at greater risk for diseases like diabetes, arthritis and heart disease. In addition, your body makes and releases disease-fighting substances while you sleep.
  5. MANAGE STRESS: Stress is linked to health issues from digestive problems to heart disease. Chronic stress floods your body with stress hormones that interfere with your immune system. Therefore, it’s important to know how to identify stress in your life. Equally important is finding activities that can help you manage stress, such as yoga, music, meditation or exercise.

P.S. Project Pneuma is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.

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