HEALTHY HABITS: Options to help boost immune system, manage stress and anxiety

Updated: Dec. 21, 2020 at 8:04 AM EST
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Health experts say nearly 70% of the immune system is in the gut.

To keep a healthy immune system, start with consuming the right types of food.

Vitamins A, C and E help keep you from getting sick, but high levels of stress may be depleting these, opening the door for illness.

Larissa Farnam, Conway Medical Center’s clinical nutrition manager, suggests eating dark leafy vegetables or colorful foods. She said if you have a good number of antioxidants, you’re able to fight viruses faster and easier.

Keep in mind there are foods to best help manage stress and anxiety. Farnam said choosing foods with healthy fats, like nuts and fish, can reduce stress levels.

Farnam recommends starting with small goals to eating healthier. She said by setting unattainable goals, it could lead to more stress.

“I’d recommend choosing one thing,” Farnam said. “Whether it’s cutting out sugary drinks in your diet or choosing one vegetable in your diet.” She says choose one item and go from there.

Farnam noted that if you’re not sure where to start, you should reach out to a physician or dietitian to get on track to reap the benefits of healthy eating.

Dr. Fred Norman, owner of Myrtle Beach Diet, said a recommendation for maintaining food intake and staying in control is planning out meals.

“When it comes to eating you need to have a plan on hand,” Norman said. “I use an app called Lose It, you can have an app or write it down. What are you going to normally eat, what are you going to eat on Christmas day then decrease it by 50 percent then be sure to get outside and get some exercise.”

Nan Norman, a diet counselor for Myrtle Beach Diet, said other ways to manage stress is to work on bringing joy to daily life. She suggests getting outside and exercising.

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