A Healthy Diet Is Your First Line of Defense
The old adage “You are what you eat” exists for a reason. A diet that consists of fiber-rich foods plus vitamins and minerals can go a long way toward helping you battle infection and illness while on immunosuppressants. Eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins will give you the variety of phytonutrients and antioxidants your body needs to fight infection.
Almost everyone can benefit from decreasing the stress in their lives, but people taking immunosuppressants need to make it a priority. You can’t remove all stressors from your life, of course, but you can find ways to help relieve stress, such as yoga and meditation classes. Yoga has the added benefit of aiding physical strength, and meditation has been shown to have calming effects on the central nervous system.
Make a Good Night’s Sleep a Priority
Sleep is restorative, plain and simple. Your body heals and builds up energy reserves during sleep, and sleep helps decrease inflammation in the brain, which allows you to wake up well-rested and with more energy. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try the following strategies:
- Don’t nap too close to bedtime (but do nap during the day if you need to to prevent exhaustion).
- Drink most of your water for the day before dinner.
- Avoid caffeine in the evening (and maybe in the afternoons).
- Avoid alcohol — even though it might make you feel relaxed or even sleepy, it actually causes poor sleep and higher wakefulness throughout the night.
- Turn off the TV (or iPad or computer) at least 30 minutes (preferably an hour) before bed.