The world is learning as it goes with Covid-19. While many people experience a mild form of the virus (no worse that the common cold), others are becoming critically ill.
As it stands right now, we’re still waiting for a vaccine or cure to be developed. Which means our own immune systems, along with social distancing measures, play a huge role in protecting us from coronavirus.
Now, more than ever, it’s important to make sure we’re in good shape, both inside and out.
Is it really possible to boost your immune system?
The body’s immune system is incredibly complex, made up of many different cells and organs, all communicating with each other to defend the body from invaders.
That’s why there’s lots that scientists still don’t understand about how the immune system works. What we can be sure of, though, is that some lifestyle habits — like eating too much sugar and smoking — can damage your immune system, while other behaviours can help make it stronger.
Keep reading for a quick list of super simple ways to help support your immunity in everyday life...
10 quick immunity boosting tips
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is important for wellbeing, but it’s also crucial to keep you fighting fit — aim for 7-9 hours of sleep a night for ultimate immunity-boosting benefits.
What’s more, research has shown that unhealthy sleeping habits hamper the circulation of white blood cells as part of the immune response. So getting enough sleep could be your first line of defence against coronavirus!
Manage Your Stress
When we’re stressed, our body produces a hormone called cortisol. Over a prolonged period, this hormone suppresses the immune system making it harder to fight off threats.
So while worry about coronavirus is inevitably upping our anxiety levels, it’s important to manage stress as best we can.
That might mean choosing to check in with the news and social media just once a day. Or doing a little online yoga or meditation. Mindfulness practices like colouring or gardening can also help.
Don’t Bother With Vitamin Pills And Superfoods
Echinacea, garlic, ginseng, green tea… A Google search will throw up an endless list of pills and superfoods supposed to combat coronavirus.
The reality is that there’s very little scientific evidence to suggest any of these things actually help keep infections at bay. And having too much of a particular vitamin or food can actually interfere with the balance your body needs for a healthy immune system, causing more harm than good.
Which leads us onto our next point…
Eat A Well-Balanced Diet
The vitamins we need for a healthy immune system can all be found in a well-balanced diet.
If you’re already eating a good mix of fruits, veggies, fibre and lean protein you (and your gut) are probably getting everything you need — so there’s no need to up with extra vitamins.
Get Your Fill Of Vitamin D
That being said, many of us will be slightly deficient in Vitamin D, as it’s a little harder to get from diet alone (especially if you’re plant-based). You’ll find Vitamin D in fatty fish, like salmon and tuna, in cheese and in egg yolks.
But we also get Vitamin D from the sun. Meaning in winter months particularly, we don’t get nearly enough of it.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to take a Vitamin D supplement (10 micrograms a day is the recommended amount for an adult). This promotes good bone health and boosts your immune system, too.
Don’t Drink Colloidal Silver
US televangelist, Jim Bakker, has been claiming that drinkable silver combats coronavirus and helps to boost the immune system.
According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), colloidal silver isn’t safe or effective for treating any disease or condition, including Covid-19.
Worse? It can actually cause permanent discolouration of the skin, kidney problems and resistance to certain medications. So definitely steer clear of this one.
Do Some Exercise
Exercise helps to lower cortisol levels and boost immune system function. So spending at least 2.5 hours a week doing some form of moderate exercise is a great idea.
Getting out to the gym may not be an option for the moment. But depending on social distancing rules in your area you may be able to go out for a run. And you can always find fitness classes and workout tips online.
Drink Alcohol In Moderation
Alcohol temporarily lowers our stress levels and reaching for the odd glass of wine when you’re stuck at home due to coronavirus is totally understandable.
However, it’s important to avoid drinking too much. As well as lowering your mood and leaving you dehydrated the following day, excessive alcohol consumption has been shown to interfere with the body’s immune response.
Put Down Your Vape
The health risks posed by smoking have been well-documented. But did you know that vaping also has a negative effect on your immune system?
Research has shown that vaping prevents immune cells in the lungs from working properly, which is especially concerning when faced with a respiratory illness like coronavirus.
Quitting smoking or vaping will give your immune system a much-needed leg up. And even cutting down will help to make a huge difference.
Wash Your Hands Regularly
The very best way to protect yourself from coronavirus is to wash your hands regularly. As per the WHO guidance, that means washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and then drying thoroughly.
Bear in mind that hand sanitiser is useful — especially when you’re not within easy reach of a sink. But it doesn’t do as good a job at killing germs, including the coronavirus, as simple soap and water.
Little changes everyday amount to a lot of good!
See, it’s pretty easy to boost your immune system without making too many big changes.
Remember: when thinking about these immunity boosting tips, balance is the key takeaway. Overdosing on vitamins or on particular foods won’t get you very far.
Instead, a balanced diet, good sleep and exercise habits — along with regularly washing your hands — are the things most likely to protect you from the coronavirus.
For more tips on staying healthy during the coronavirus crisis, visit our blog where you’ll find heaps of fun workouts and healthy eating advice.