Good Saturday, everyone! As the COVID-19 continues, I hope everyone is looking at where they were before the quarantine started and where they are now. How has the last few months affected your health? It’s on our minds every day now; it’s all we hear in the news even.

We all have to take our health into consideration every time we leave our homes. We have to make our best judgment when deciding to go to a social event like the Fourth of July celebrations. We have to take and measure the risk if you want to eat out or go clothing shopping now that more businesses are open inside again.

Although this invisible disease is in our community, we have always had the ability to fight it. I’m not talking about wearing a mask and washing your hands. I’m talking about improving your health.

We still choose to eat what we want and as much as we want. Everything in moderation has always been the motto and it still is. I went out to eat with some friends at the end of May, when the dining was only outdoor seating. I ordered my meal, which allowed me to choose two side dishes, which is normally your vegetable or fruit options. When my meal came, the chicken breast took up the whole plate and I got two very small bowls of my side-order options. If you remember from the days of health class in high school, we were taught that is the opposite of what your body needs.

Here is what the WebMD says about what we can do to help our bodies fight this infection should you get it. “There are no vitamins or supplements proven to help prevent coronavirus, including COVID-19. Certain nutrients may help strengthen your immune system’s ability to fight the virus, including vitamin D, high dose vitamin C, zinc and potassium if you’re deficient. Eat a diet rich in vegetable, fruit and lean protein. Probiotics may also help. You can get these in yogurt and fermented foods, like kimchi and sauerkraut. Regular exercise and stress management techniques, such as deep breathing exercises or meditation, also help prime your immune system to fight off infections.”

Right now, vitamin D is free and readily available. Did you know that just 10 to 30 minutes of sun three times a week on your skin gives you 10,000 IU? We need only 600 IU in a day, but even that small amount is hard to come by from food in a day. That is why 50 percent of Illinois residents are vitamin D deficient.

So what do the experts recommend? We’ve heard it time and time again: Five to nine servings daily of fruits and vegetables with less meat, eight 8-ounces of water daily, seven to nine hours of sleep daily and at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise weekly.

Let’s start making healthier choices like our life depended on it … because it does!

Give. Advocate. Volunteer. Live United.

Sherri M. Askren is president of United Way of Danville Area, Inc., 425 N. Gilbert St., Danville, IL 61832. Phone, 442-3512.

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