Seven Common Sense Ways to Boost Your Immune System…and Not Just During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Lately you’ve probably heard more about viruses and your immune system than you ever wanted.
The COVID-19 virus has dislocated travel, business, and lives around the world…and it’s far from over.
Why is it such a big deal?
- Like any virus, there’s no “cure”. Once you’ve got it, COVID-19 has to run its course (which can take up to two weeks).
- We’re at least a year away from an effective vaccine to prevent COVID-19 infection.
- COVID-19 hasn’t been seen in humans before…that’s why you hear it called “novel” coronavirus. This means we haven’t built up any natural immunity to it yet.
Between social media and your email you’ve probably been bombarded with tips and suggestions for how to avoid or overcome COVID-19. Some are well-meaning. Others are blatant attempts to panic you into buying the latest “miracle” immune system booster or cure. A few are misguided and dangerous.
Obviously, the best solution is to do everything you can to avoid the virus. Wash your hands frequently. Use hand sanitizer if you can’t wash your hands. And stay away from people who aren’t members of your household (since you can’t always tell if people are healthy or sick).
But what if, despite your best efforts, you catch the virus?
There are things you can do to help your immune system cope with COVID-19 or any other virus. These tips may actually help you avoid getting sick in the first place…and if you do become ill, they can help your immune system handle the infection more effectively so you recover faster.
- Get Plenty of Rest
Want a surefire way to boost your immune system? Get 7-8 hours of restful sleep every night.Lack of sleep reduces your body’s production of cytokines, antibodies, and other cells your immune system uses to attack infection.
A study showed well-rested people were less likely to develop symptoms when they were exposed to the common cold virus.
There are plenty of things to stress about right now. Maybe you’re trying to work from home while your kids homeschool. Or your place of work had to shut down temporarily. Not to mention worrying about exposure to COVID-19.Long-term stresses like these make your body produce excess cortisol, which can cause chronic inflammation. Excess cortisol also attacks the white blood cells called lymphocytes that combat infection in your body.
Easy ways to reduce your long-term stress (and cortisol levels) include:
- Deep breathing
- Regular exercise
- Talking to a friend or a loved one
- The list goes on and on
Find what works for you and do your best to chill out.
- Stay in Shape
Regular exercise doesn’t just help you manage stress. It also boosts your immune system.Just half an hour a day of moderate exercise releases extra immune cells. This increases your body’s ability to detect and eliminate viruses, including COVID-19.
Walk, run, use your body weight for resistance training…whatever you prefer. Just stay away from crowded gyms or running trails until this is over.
- Eat the Right Foods
Many foods provide the vitamins and minerals your immune system needs. A few good choices are:
- Citrus fruits…for Vitamin C
- Broccoli…for Vitamins A, C, and E
- Garlic…which contains sulfur-bearing compounds with anti-viral properties
- Spinach…for Vitamin C, carotene, and antioxidants
- Almonds…for Vitamin E
There are many others. Look for foods that contain Vitamins C and E as well as B-complex vitamins to get the most benefit to your immune system.
Maybe you don’t care for some (or all) of the immune-boosting foods shown above. Don’t let that stop you from reaping the benefits.Most of the vitamins and minerals which support immune system function are available as supplements. Key immune boosters include vitamins C, D, and E, and B-complex vitamins.
Be careful though. Make sure you’re taking only high quality supplements, and don’t overdo it.
- Alcohol (in Moderation)
Excessive drinking just isn’t good for your immune system. However, light to moderate consumption of beer and wine appears to strengthen immune response.The key is polyphenols. Found in beer and wine, these chemicals support your immune system in a number of ways.
Light to moderate drinking means less than 2 beers or glasses of wine daily. More than that increases the risk for serious health issues.
- Hormone Balance
Estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, DHEA, and growth hormone all support your immune system. If production of these hormones declines (through aging or other causes) your immune system may suffer.
Hormone replacement therapy can help to keep your immune system working at its best. Balanced hormones also promote more productive exercise, improved sleep, and better lifestyle choices…all keys to a healthy immune system.
There Are No Magic Bullets for COVID-19
None of these immune system boosters is a miracle cure for COVID-19…or even the flu or common cold.
But they do help your immune system function at its best, so it can be as effective as possible at fighting viruses and other pathogens. As a result, you get sick less often, and recover more quickly.
Want to learn more about immune system support and other benefits of hormone replacement therapy? Call Renew Youth at 800-859-7511 or use our contact form to set up your free 30-minute consultation.