Boosting Your Immune System

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boosting your immune system

The best way to fight coronavirus is to avoid those who are sick and wash your hands or sanitise them frequently. However, boosting your immune system against coronavirus may also help you fight off viruses and keep you healthy.  

Boosting your immune system against coronavirus is possible in five ways as explained below.

A Healthy Balanced Diet

A healthy and balanced diet will help boost your immune system. When your gut is healthy, you can fight off infections quickly and effectively. Experts recommend people focus on diet-rich fruits, leafy vegetables, berries, whole grains, and healthy fats. These foods are high in nutrients such as vitamin C, zinc, and other antioxidants shown to help reduce inflammation and fight infection. Eat fewer foods with sugar and trans fats, which are not nutritious

It’s equally necessary to reduce the consumption of meat, especially processed and fried foods, all of which are more inflammatory, and eat more fermented foods, such as yogurt, sauerkraut, miso, and kefir, in your daily diet. These fermented foods help build up the good bacteria in your gut, which, in turn, supports a healthy gut and immune system.  Other foods that can help your immune system are onion, garlic, and ginger. In addition, drink lots of water, reduce alcohol consumption, and stop smoking. Smokers, as well as people suffering from respiratory disease, have a higher rate of serious illness and complications from coronavirus. It is necessary to avoid anything that is damaging to your lungs.

Control Stress

Unfortunately, the more you stress about the virus, the more likely you are to suffer from it. This is because stress can hurt your immune system. There’s a strong connection between your immune health and your mental health. When you’re under chronic stress or anxiety, your body produces stress hormones. These hormones suppress your immune system making you more susceptible to developing a cold. Moreover, when you are stressed, there is a possibility to ignore other healthy habits. Healthy habits, like healthy eating and getting adequate sleep, which can affect immunity.

The best way to control stress is to adopt strategies to help you manage it better. These strategies include meditation, praying, deep breathing, and other relaxation activities. A study found that people who engage in mindfulness meditation were less likely to get sick with a respiratory infection. Also, they only miss fewer days of work in situations when they get sick. If you find the present situation of the global coronavirus makes social activities difficult, relax at home and talk to loved ones on the phone, and do yoga, deep breathing, and stretching exercises.

Get Some Exercise

boosting your immune system

Low- and moderate-intensity exercise naturally lowers cortisol levels and helps boost the immune system.  Then again it is important not to overdo the exercise. Overdoing exercise can also be counterproductive by slowing down the immune system. The recommendation is 30 to 60 minutes of vigorous or moderate exercise. Another benefit of exercise is that it raises your body temperature which may help kill germs. In view of the precaution about avoiding crowded places like the gym, a good alternative is to go for a walk or run outside.

Get Enough Sleep

boosting your immune system

For adults, seven to eight hours of sleep at night is adequate.  Sleep boosts the immune system and rejuvenates the body. Your body needs rest so it does not break down. Also, sleep helps your body do just that. On the flip side, if you do not get enough sleep, your body throws out stress hormones like cortisol which keeps you awake and alert. In turn, poor sleep may suppress your immune system. A study found that people who had adequate sleep of at least seven hours are four times less likely to come down with a cold than those who had less than six hours of sleep.

Be Smart About Supplements

Food is the best way to boost your immune system, not supplements. Herbs or vitamins cannot magically prevent a cold, flu, or other viruses. However, a moderate daily dose of vitamin D may offer protection if you are already low in the sunshine vitamin. The best way to find out if you are deficient in vitamin D is to get your blood levels tested. If you are low, talk with your doctor about additional supplementation – up to 2,000 IU a day. The advice is to take it with meals that contain fats or oils, to increase absorption.

Other supplements, like zinc and vitamin C, and elderberry, are going viral over the internet as good at preventing coronavirus. Zinc has been shown to reduce the severity and duration of colds. But, there is no available research evidence to suggest it can be protective against coronavirus. There is also no evidence that vitamin C and elderberry, can help either. A much better alternative is to cook with herbs such as garlic, ginger, rosemary, oregano, and turmeric, which have anti-inflammatory properties.

Photo Credit: Creative Commons

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