The coronavirus has not stopped spreading. For months now, almost everyone has had a mask over their faces, trying to avoid contracting the virus. But we know that just one slip up may lead to an infection.
Sometimes you unknowingly remove your mask and someone around you coughs or sneezes. Other times, you touch contaminated surfaces and your hands go right to your eyes when they itch.
Most infected people don’t even know they contracted the virus.
So, how do you ensure that you stay alive even if you get infected?
You have been told about handwashing, using sanitizers, and social distancing. But many people forget to do these. People still stay in crowded areas and mingle with other people.
So, here’s something else you should do – Boost your immune system to fight the infection.
Let’s take you through 10 ways to boost your immunity against coronavirus infection.
1. Eat immune-boosting superfoods.
Immune-boosting superfoods are foods you see everywhere but you barely pay attention to, because you’re busy stuffing your face with burgers and fries.
These foods contain compounds and nutrients that will help your immune system fight infections and diseases.
Some superfoods you should start having on your plate include:
- Broccoli – How many people eat salads containing broccoli? If you don’t, you should get on it now. This vegetable contains sulforaphane, a compound that activates over 200 genes responsible for producing antioxidant enzymes.
- Turmeric – Indians hopped on this and are still enjoying the benefits today. This polyphenol contains a compound known as curcumin which has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties.
- Garlic – Garlic contains a compound known as allicin. It also contains other nutrients such as flavonoids, selenium, oligosaccharides, selenium, and arginine which contribute to better health.
- Parsley – This contains compounds such as apigenin which reduce inflammation and protect your cells from damage by free radicals and coumarin which boosts the activity of your white blood cells.
- Salmon – Salmons contain a pigment called astaxanthin which has antioxidant and anticancer properties and helps you maintain healthy skin and heart.
There are many other superfoods you can include in your diet to boost your immune system and protect yourself against various infections and diseases.
2. Get enough rest.
Many people don’t sleep.
You go to bed by 1 AM and you’re up by 5 AM, ready to head out for the day or do some work on your laptop. The cycle continues like that until you fall ill.
You need enough rest to keep your immune system going strong, Even if you eat all the superfoods available, you may not get your immune system to work well if you don’t sleep.
When you sleep, your immune system releases cytokines – proteins that promote sleep and also fight infections. Lack of sleep means fewer proteins are produced.
Also, your body produces more antibodies to fight infections when you sleep.
Adults need about 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night, teenagers need 9 hours of sleep, while children need 10 or more hours of sleep per night.
Although you should sleep well, sleeping more than 9 to 10 hours per night for adults could be problematic. It could result in you having problems falling asleep.
So, after that one night of long sleep, you’ll be having a couple of shorter ones, which isn’t good for you.
3. Be active.
Many people sit on a spot for the entire day. That spot is in the living room.
You’ll eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner in front of the television while watching a movie or playing games.
What do we mean by ‘be active?’
Get up and exercise.
Although most gyms are closed, you can still carry out immune-boosting exercises in your home. A scientific review published in the Journal of Sport and Health Science found that exercise can help reduce inflammation, improve your immune response, and lower the risk of illnesses.
Your immune cells are lymphoid tissues and organs – sites that contain microorganisms that cause disease.
As your muscles contract during exercise, blood, and lymph flow increases. This means the cells of your immune system will now circulate your body at a higher rate, David Neaman, DrPH, a professor at Appalachian State University said in an interview with Health.
So, get up from that seat and walk out of your house.
You don’t have to go to crowded areas. Just jug around for 10 minutes two to four times a day, or do a low-impact workout at home.
4. Don’t skip breakfast!
You may be wondering:
Does it matter if I have breakfast? I eat three times in the afternoon, so I’m getting enough food.
Let me tell you something:
Nutrition plays a role in how your immune system functions. It isn’t about how many times you eat a day but the quality of the food you eat.
There’s something special about breakfast.
The foods you eat during breakfast are nutritious.
For instance, the tea you drink in the morning contains antioxidants that prevent inflammation and cellular damage by free radicals.
People also take yogurt in the morning. This gives you enough probiotics to improve both your immune and digestive systems.
5. Take a deep breath – Lower your stress levels.
So, you spend your entire day thinking, and when you’re not thinking, you’re working to the bone.
At the end of the day, you’re so stressed. You finally manage to sleep for five hours before you’re back up again. That’s the cycle of your life. You only rest when you break down.
This is wrong, and it definitely will not help you during the coronavirus pandemic.
Stress can weaken your immune system. The higher your stress levels, the weaker your immune system.
So, you need to relax more. We already mentioned sleeping better, but you can also engage in practices like yoga and breathing exercises to calm you down and keep your immune system functioning properly.
Why did we say you should try breathing exercises?
There are lymphocytes in your blood, lymph nodes, and organs. Lymph nodes are the first things infectious microorganisms will enter when they get into your body. They are the first line of defense.
To help you relax after a stressful day, we suggest breathing because it is directly related to lymph flow which is related to your immune system.
Lymph flow is the mechanism behind the movement of lymph throughout the body. Lymph contains white blood cells that help you fight infections.
So, when you take breathing exercises, you experience better circulation of white blood cells in your body.
6. Take all the right nutrients.
These days, people would rather eat snacks and buy fast foods than prepare highly nutritious meals that will provide their bodies with all the nutrients they need to stay healthy during the coronavirus pandemic.
To get all the nutrients you need, you need to have a balanced diet. Your daily diet should contain the right amount of carbs, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
Here are some foods you can add to your diet to provide essential nutrients and boost your immune system:
- Carrots and apricots: Vegetables like carrots, apricots, and kale produce beta carotene which is converted to vitamin A.
- Oranges and strawberries: These contain a high amount of vitamin C which helps the body fight infections by increasing the levels of antibodies.
By eating various fruits like broccoli, red and green peppers, cabbage, kiwi, and oranges, you can easily get all the vitamin C you need.
- Beans, cereal, and nuts: These provide the body with zinc which helps boost the body’s immune system.
- Eggs, cheese, and tofu: Provide the body with vitamin D which improves the activity and number of killer T cells which will prevent bacterial and viral infections.
There are many other foods you can eat to provide nutrients such as soup, fruit, and bananas. You need liquids to stay hydrated.
7. Spend time outdoors.
As we mentioned above, leave your house. You’ve been sitting indoors for months, attending to work, or getting engaged in other activities. It’s time to get out.
Why is it important that you leave your house during the pandemic?
Spending time outdoors will help you receive vitamin D from the sun, especially if you go out in the morning. When you have enough vitamin D, your body absorbs more calcium and phosphorus, and it also supports a stronger immune system.
Getting outside also helps you feel less anxious.
Remember, stress contributes greatly to your immune function. When you go out to exercise, sunlight increases your serotonin levels and keeps your mood positive and calm.
Finally, you get a better sleep when you go outside during the day. You need to get enough light in your eyes to ensure that your body’s internal clock is working right. This is why when you go to work during the day and you’re in an illuminated area, you have no problems sleeping at night. This becomes more important when you get older.
8. Practice good hygiene.
It is best to stop infection even before it begins.
You’ve been seeing everywhere on the news and social media that you should maintain good hygiene if you want to scale through this period without any difficulties.
Bad personal hygiene will put your right in front of the line for coronavirus infection.
What do we mean?
If you leave your house for work daily and forget to wash your hands when you return home, you risk infecting yourself by putting that hand in your eyes, nose, or mouth.
Also, coughing and sneezing in public without any form of protection such as a handkerchief or your elbow will increase the rate of spread of infection.
Here are some good hygiene measures you should put in place during the pandemic:
- Wash your hands properly with soap and water.
- Wear a nose mask when you’re in a crowded place to avoid inhaling droplets from an infected person.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or place your elbow over your mouth to trap the particles.
- Apply a hand sanitizer after touching surfaces in public.
9. Use the right supplements.
Using supplements will not cure or prevent coronavirus infection.
However, it is a good way to boost your immune system against infection by these pathogenic microorganisms.
Research has shown that taking supplements containing minerals, vitamins, and herbs can improve your immune system.
If you’re unable to get the adequate amount of immune-boosting nutrients by eating the right foods, you should definitely try supplements.
Using the right supplements ensure that you stay safe in times like this.
The best supplements known for boosting the immune system contain:
- Zinc – Helps with inflammatory response, immune cell development, and communication.
- Vitamin D – Improves immune response.
- Vitamin C supplements like Optimunity – Supports the proper functioning of various immune cells and functions as a powerful antioxidant.
- Vitamins B6 and B12 – support healthy immune response.
- Elderberry extract – Has antiviral and antiviral properties.
- Selenium – Improves immune response and has antiviral properties.
- Garlic – Stimulates white blood cells like macrophages and natural killer cells to defend the body against harmful organisms. It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties.
- Curcumin – Has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and helps improve immune function.
10. Make long-lasting lifestyle changes.
All the points listed above are lifestyle changes you should start making. It may be difficult to maintain them because you’ve not been doing them before. But while going at it gradually, you need to have it in mind that you’ll be doing them for a long time.
If you decide to carry out immune-boosting practices for a while, and then stop because everywhere is open again and the number of coronavirus cases is dropping, you’ll be leaving your immune system weak again and be unable to protect yourself from microbial infections that may lead to serious diseases,
So, keep leading that healthy lifestyle. Eat immune-boosting superfoods, maintain a balanced diet, have breakfast, exercise outdoors, take yoga classes, get enough sleep, and use the right supplements to keep yourself healthy.
Remember, you’re responsible for your health. So, take proper care of your body.