The COVID-19 pandemic seems like it’s going to be with us for a while, and along with wearing a mask, keeping your social distance, and washing your hands frequently, boosting your immune system could protect you and your family from infection. A strong immune response can keep the virus from reaching vital organs like the lungs, reduce viral presence in the bloodstream, and prevent an infection from taking hold in your body.
Fortunately, you can boost your immune system by taking better care of yourself right now. A healthy diet, the right supplements, adequate exercise and sleep, healthy coping techniques, and lots of water can all help you beat COVID-19, should you become exposed or infected.
1) Eat Right (Including Immune Supplements)
For many, “the COVID-19” refers to the extra weight you gain while eating in quarantine. Just because you’re self-isolating doesn’t mean you can’t eat right. It’s tempting to stress-eat right now, but don’t give in. Eat a healthy diet of whole grains, lean meats and dairy, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts.
Start the day off right with a healthy breakfast of oatmeal, whole-wheat toast or vegan yogurt. If you’re working from home, it’s even easier than it normally is to prepare a healthy, homemade lunch and eschew expensive, unhealthy fast food or takeout. If you do order in — to support your local businesses, of course — order healthier menu options and avoid the empty calories found in alcoholic beverages and sugary soft drinks.
If you’re not already using dietary supplements, now is a good time to start. There are plenty of great supplements for immune support available on the market. Immune supplements like zinc, vitamin D, vitamin C may help your body fight off COVID-19, and some supplements, like echinacea, may specifically help to prevent respiratory infections. You can also look for best mushroom supplements.
Going to the gym might be too risky for your COVID risk level comfort zone, but you still need to get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, every week. Get out for a bike ride, jog or walk. Stream workout videos from YouTube in your living room. Even if you have home workout equipment, like a treadmill or elliptical, you should still vary your activities to maintain your interest in exercise and work different muscle groups. Remember to include strength-training exercises, like yoga or calisthenics, at least twice a week.
3) Get Enough Sleep
When you’re stressed out and worried about the state of the world, it’s all too easy to lie awake nights, worrying. Things are getting tough for a lot of people, but chronic sleep deprivation isn’t going to make them any easier. Maintain a sleep schedule that leaves you enough time to sleep eight hours each night. Use good sleep hygiene, including a relaxing bedtime routine, to make sure you get your forty winks. Meditation, relaxation techniques, hot baths, chamomile tea, melatonin, and prescription sleep aids can all help you fall and stay asleep.
4) Manage Stress
Stress alone is detrimental enough to make you sick, so it’s important to find healthy ways to cope with stress. Exercise, getting enough sleep, eating well, and practicing basic hygiene and self-care will help you mitigate stress, but you may need to add some additional stress-busting activities during the pandemic. Indulge in a favorite hobby, spend time with loved ones in your bubble, get a pet, or spend more time cuddling the pets you have.
5) Stay Hydrated
Your body is mostly made up of fluids, and it needs water to function properly. Make sure to drink eight glasses of water a day. It doesn’t have to be in the form of pure tap water — you can also drink tea (especially herbal teas) and coffee, which have been found to be hydrating in spite of the slight diuretic effect of caffeine. Avoid sugary fruit juices and soda, but help yourself to sugar-free water flavors and diet drinks. You can also add watery dishes, like soups and broths, to your diet for the hydration they offer.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever to keep your immune system strong. Take good care of yourself and those close to you, so you can all stay safe and healthy until the danger has passed.