Tips for Building Immunity During the COVID-19 Pandemic
We’re living in uncertain times.
As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads, people are asking what they can do to stay healthy and keep their loved ones safe.
The most impactful things you can do to prevent the spread and avoid exposure are still to:
- Wash your hands often with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer when you don’t have access to a sink.
- Keep your hands away from your face to avoid transferring germs either from others to yourself or from yourself to others.
- Clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces like doorknobs, light switches, phones, counter tops, keys, wallets.
It’s also important that we keep our immune systems strong during this time in order to prevent it.
I’m not going to sell you on any products to boost your immune system, as there have not been any supplements shown to prevent COVID-19. I am going to promote lifestyle changes that universally enhance our immune systems and act as an important line of defense if and when we are exposed.
8 TIPS FOR BOOSTING IMMUNITY
Sleep! The most beneficial thing you can do for your immune system at any time is to get enough sleep!! Right now, getting somewhere between 8 and 10 hours is best, getting to bed as early as possible and letting your body sleep as long as it needs.
Stay hydrated. Drink enough water to wash out toxins and bacteria from your body. Avoid drinks that are dehydrating, like coffee and alcohol, as much as possible.
Aim for a consistent routine. Having a regular routine calms the nervous system and reduces stress and anxiety, both of which negatively impact the immune response. So getting to bed and waking at the same time, eating around the same times, and staying consistent with other health practices as much as possible positively impacts immunity. Don’t know where to start in automating your habits? Sign up for a Health Goals Call if you want to figure out next steps.
Avoid sugar and vegetable oils. Both sugar and highly processed vegetable oils (canola, corn, sunflower, safflower, soy, cottonseed, grapeseed, etc.) are toxic in the body and dampen the immune system. Cutting out sugar and vegetable oils as much as possible can be extremely beneficial for health in myriad ways. Cook with coconut oil, ghee, grass-fed butter, avocado oil, almond oil, etc. instead. Opt for foods that don’t have added sugar or vegetable oils in the ingredients list.
Eat immune-boosting foods. Immune-boosting foods are the ones we hear about for staying healthy in everyday life: lots of vegetables, antioxidant– and vitamin C–rich fruits, bone broth, probiotic foods, herbs and spices (i.e., turmeric w/ black pepper, ginger, garlic, oregano, etc.), nuts and seeds, high-quality animal proteins (stay away from low-quality meats from animals that ingest hormones and/or antibiotics in their lifetime).
Set up boundaries for how much information you take in. While it’s important to stay informed, it’s also important that we don’t stress ourselves out too much and thus tax our immune systems. It might be helpful to set a time in your schedule dedicated to looking at COVID-19 updates, and spend the rest of your time doing something else.
Get outside. Being outside in fresh air is great for our bodies, and also does wonders for our mental health, both of which impact our immune systems. Vitamin D from the sun is important for building immunity, and there is evidence that organic compounds emitted by plants called phytoncides also boost immune function.
Practice mindfulness. Meditation and other mindfulness practices both calm the nervous system and boost immunity. For most of us, this is a stressful and scary time, and that stress can tax our immunity. Setting aside a consistent time each day to practice some sort of mindfulness helps mitigate some of that stress and thus buffer the immune system.
Unsure of how to start doing these things consistently? Schedule a Health Goals Call with me to talk about your current lifestyle and next steps for building up the habits to stay healthy. I look forward to speaking with you and helping you take control of your health!
In the meantime, stay safe and healthy everyone!
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