As the Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 continues to spread across our country at a rate in which we do not have a full picture of yet, having a high-functioning immune system is now a top priority for many.
I wanted to share some easy, common sense approaches that you can take today to help boost your immune system right now and for when we all venture out again once those social distancing measures lift.
But first, what does the immune system do?
“A war is waging in our bodies. Every day our immune systems have to keep constant vigilance for foreign pathogens. Then at a moment’s notice, they must identify and respond correctly to any of countless enemy microbes that try to invade the body.”Cornell Research
The immune system is made up of a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together in divine harmony to protect your body.
So for us EpicLuv-ers let’s think of our immune system as our mighty warriors within working together to defend the greater good of our incredible bodies.
Now the question is, how are you going to support, encourage, and prepare your warriors with the best weapons possible to be ready for a battle?
We have so many powerful, natural means to help you proactively fend off colds, flus, and other contagious diseases. Here are my suggestions:
1 – Get those fluids in.
We’ve all heard that a good guideline is to shoot for eight, eight-ounce glasses of water per day. For some of you, that can be a challenge! Here are some ideas to help with your fluid intake:
- Have a glass of room temperature water when you first wake up. Your body is dehydrated from a long night’s sleep! Start your day off right.
- Make soups or broths on the weekend and have them throughout the week. Making them from scratch with a ton of fresh vegetables is always best. Here are 6 recipes to try from Best Health Magazine.
- If you enjoy warm drinks, try some herbal teas like ginger and echinacea daily.
- Carry a bottle of filtered water with you throughout the day and try to avoid concentrated fruit juices and sweetened beverages as much as possible. Drinking too much sugar curbs immune system cells that attack bacteria.
2 – Get your exercise on!
So many of us see exercise as a way to lose weight or to curb chronic illness like heart disease or high blood pressure. But exercise can also help all those warriors inside your immune system too!
Low and moderate-intensity exercise for approximately 30 to 45 minutes naturally lowers cortisol levels and helps with immune-system function. But don’t go overboard. Recent studies have found that high-performing athletes have an increased risk of infection as overexercise can actually weaken your immune system.
Also, if you’re apprehensive about going to the gym these days, get outside! Walk, jog, even yoga on a mat in your backyard works.
3 – Lower your stress
Stress is draining, am I right? Not only every day work / life stress, but also worrying about if you are going to catch a pandemic disease can get some people pretty stressed out! But let’s all take a deep breath because the stress hormone cortisol turns off cells in your immune system.
There is no better time than now to make self care a priority. Meditation, deep breathing exercises, a soak in the tub, a walk in nature…all great options for helping you take care of your mind and body. I give 5 active relaxation tips for people on the go here.
4 – Get a good night’s sleep
Sleep is a regenerative process that restores and heals your body. When you’re sleep deprived your natural immune cells (T cells) go down, and inflammatory cytokines (inflammation cells) go up. That means good sleep results in strengthening your immunity. Try your best to get seven to eight hours of sleep a night.
5 – Try a daily saline flush
This might be a little outside your self-care box, but think about trying it. Flushing your sinuses with mild salt water helps to keep mucous membranes moist which protects you from microbes. (Max once or twice a day.) Neti pots work great for at-home use. There are also plastic bottles that come with saline packets for an easy travel solution.
6 – Skip sugar when you can
As a general rule, excessive sugar consumption depletes the body’s nutrient balance, which triggers a cascade of inflammation and metabolic disruption. (Biotics Research Corporation) I’m talking about desserts, sweet treats, white flour, and refined grain products that turn into sugar quickly. These simple sugars can suppress your immune system for hours after ingestion.
7 – Incorporate protein into each meal
Flu season or not, eating a well-balanced diet is important to keeping an immune system strong. Along with fresh fruits and vegetables, protein should be a priority on your plate. Organic, clean, and lean animal protein as well as plant-based proteins (legumes, nuts/seeds) support your detoxification systems.
8 – Spice it up!
Garlic, onion, ginger and a ton of spices like oregano and tumeric offer a wide spectrum of anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Another reason to love and experiment with spices in your dishes, soups, and sauces…they help boost your metabolism as well!
9 – Eat a rainbow
Staying on the eating tips, it’s a no-brainer that eating multiple servings of colorful fruits and vegetables high in Vitamins C, A, and phytonutrients will support your immune system. Leafy greens like cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussel sprouts, and cauliflower), peppers, sweet potatoes, and squashes are great immunity-boosting fuel.
I realize that some of these may be common sense but doing them all on an ongoing basis can seem challenging at times! Do what you can during times of contagious upticks to support your health and boost your immunity powers.
Your warriors will thank you. 🙂