With the outbreak of Covid-19 wreaking havoc across the globe, there is one questions on everybody’s lips: “how to boost immune system to fight COVID-19?”
We are in the midst of a global crisis, facing an enemy we know nothing about. Scientists over the world are trying to figure out how to fully prevent or manage the damage caused by COVID-19, the disease caused by a coronavirus that is new to us all. But there is one thing we do know: our immune systems are innately programmed to combat sicknesses and viruses. The problem however is that the immune system can get worn down by the recesses of a modern lifestyle, such as lack of sleep, stress, toxins, lack of exercise and a nutrient-empty diet. All these elements prevent our bodies from effectively fighting off sickness.
As health experts continue to work on antivirals and vaccines, many healthcare professionals are suggesting the public take a holistic approach to general health maintenance. And as we know that a positive immune response can be the key to staying healthy, let’s see how to boost immune system to prepare for the long battle ahead.
How To Strengthen Immune System?
Get Your Recommended Snooze
The sleep Foundation says that skimping on shut eye causes your body to produce fewer cytokines, a type of protein that creates an effective immune response by targeting inflammation and infection. When you sleep, your body not only creates, but also releases these cytokines. What most people are oblivious to is the fact that lack of sleep reduces the efficiency of flu vaccines by alleviating your body’s ability to respond. A human body needs 7-8 hours of sleep a night to mitigate sleep deprivation’s effects on the immune system.
If you’re isolated at home, it most probably means more time on electronics like tablets, phones, and TVs. Excessive use of these contraptions could mess with your body’s sleep pattern. You could invest in blue-light blocking glasses or engage in non-tech related activities before going to bed, such as reading a book, doing the crossword puzzle, or listening to soft music. To get better shut eye, try sticking to a regular bedtime schedule, keep the bedroom at a comfortable temperature, skimp on booze and coffee come evening, and stay active during the day.
Call On Good Bacteria
We are usually oblivious to the bacteria inside our intestines, also known as gut microbe, until imbalances in these little organisms due to an underlying condition or disease, causes discomfort. Research promotes the use of probiotics and prebiotics to nurture a healthier balance of bacteria type in our gut microbiome and improve gut health. While there are plenty of supplements to aid in flourishing the gut flora, its best to get your fill of probiotics and prebiotics from food sources.
Prebiotics create a healthy environment for the “good” bacteria to flourish in your gut. You can fulfill your prebiotics requirement by consuming whole grains and plant-based foods. On the other hand, probiotic foods, especially fermented foods like kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, and yogurt, contain live organisms. Both probiotic and prebiotic foods should be included as part of a healthy, nutritious diet.
Wash Your Hands Often
Ever since the Coronavirus outbreak, experts have been urging people to wash their hands frequently for at least 20 seconds. But the benefits of washing hands don’t only stop at COVID-19. A large number of infectious diseases are spread by contaminated hands. People infect themselves and subject their bodies to tons of diseases that attack their immune system – by touching their face with contaminated hands. These people can pass on the infection by shaking hands of others; something else we have been listening to all too often. But this is the cold, hard fact: Bad hand hygiene ends up in a host of respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses.
To protect yourself and those around you from infectious diseases, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds. Make a habit of washing your hands before or after eating or handling food, after blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing, after using the toilet, after shaking hands with someone, after treating someone sick, after handling the garbage, after handling animal waste, or after using public transportation.
If You Drink Alcohol, Drink In Moderation
In these dire times, coupled with the depression of self-isolation, a lot of people are turning to booze to help them cope with the situation. While mindfulness exercises, walking, yoga and meditation are likely healthier ways of coping, some people need more to escape from reality.
No judgmental glares here since we all do what needs to be done to help us get by. However, what we are concerned about is the fact that there is a correlation between heavy alcohol consumption and increased susceptibility to infections. In fact, since we know that lung complication is responsible for most of the COVID-19 related deaths, studies have shown that heavy drinkers are at higher risks of developing acute respiratory distress syndrome. While we have no conclusive data, experts suggest a reasonable daily limit of two drinks for men and one for women.
Load Up On Supplements
Research has shown that supplementing with certain herbs, minerals, vitamins and other substances can improve our immune response and potentially protect against illnesses such as the COVID-19. Even though the use of any supplement to protect against COVID-19 has not been advised, you can bolster your immune system and fortify its defenses by getting your fill of these supplements:
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient that is vital for ensuring the health and functioning of your immune system. Vitamin D works by enhancing the pathogen fighting effects of white blood cells, especially monocytes and macrophages, that are critical for your immune defenses. In addition, vitamin D also promotes our immune responses and enhances the absorption of calcium.
- Zinc: This important mineral is essential for immune responses and is often added to supplements that are taken to boost the immune system. Zinc also plays a vital role in inflammatory response and is essential for immune cell development.
- Vitamin C: Due to its important role in supporting immune health, Vitamin C is often ingested to protect against infection and enhance the ability of immune cells to protect against infection. Vitamin C is also important for cellular death, which keeps your immune system healthy by clearing out old cells and replacing them with new ones.
- Black Elderberry: Due to its antibacterial and antiviral benefits, this herb is used to treat infections and has an important role to play in ensuring the health of our immune system. Since it specifically targets bacterial pathogens responsible for upper respiratory tract infections, the use of this supplement can ward off the symptoms of Covid-19.
- Andrographis:This herb contains andrographolide, a terpenoid compound with potent antiviral effects against respiratory disease-causing viruses.
If you can offer your two cents on how to boost immune system, do let us know in the comments below.