Even if you’re not a germaphobe, it can be hard not to get freaked out by the latest round of superbugs. In the face of the coronavirus, it may seem like there’s not much you can do to avoid it. As coronavirus infection rates continue to rise, there are steps that you can take to make sure your immune system is in peak condition. When it comes to coronavirus (COVID-19) and seasonal flu, avoiding illness is about more than just proper hygiene. It’s about taking care of your body, too.
Let’s talk about all things immune system. Or, at least, let’s talk about what you can do to keep yours thriving so it can keep defending your body from those nasty germs a.k.a. coronavirus.
Whatever your situation, being an adult can be stressful. Add the coronavirus pandemic on top of all that, and you’re looking at one big ball of stress.
Stress is the body’s natural response to a “fight or flight” situation. This is only meant to be a temporary thing. So when you’re constantly stressed, it starts to take a toll on the body – and the immune system.
One way to make sure your immune system is in peak condition is to manage your stress levels. Do a simple Google search, and you’ll find that there are about a bazillion ways to help manage stress.
Might we recommend trying out a guided meditation? Or maybe some deep-breathing exercises. If you’re a beginner, try finding an app that helps walk you through the process. Or, if you’re more of an analog type, journaling can help release some of the stress by offloading your worries into a notebook. It doesn’t have to be fancy, and you don’t have to spend more than five to ten minutes working on it. Providing an outlet for your anxiety can help manage your stress levels and keep your immune system thriving.
Get Enough Zzz’s
We CANNOT emphasize enough just how vital sleep is. Not just for your physical health but your mental health as well. And unfortunately, nearly one out of every three American adults don’t get enough sleep.
You should aim for at least 7 uninterrupted hours of sleep per night. If you’re feeling worn down from stress, work, or exercise, listen to your body. Try to get into a routine of going to bed earlier so that you’ve got enough time to relax and fall asleep.
The body repairs itself while we sleep. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body doesn’t have enough time to prepare itself for the next day. This can lead to a whole range of health concerns. From obesity and high blood pressure to impaired memory and illness, sleep deprivation can really take a toll on you. Some studies have shown that just one night can weaken your immune cells by up to 70%.
This shouldn’t be something that stresses you out. Don’t get stuck in the cycle of overthinking sleep because that’ll just keep you awake at night.
Watch Your Diet
By now, you probably know that we’ll always be advocates for maintaining a balanced, healthy diet. And while there’s no shame in falling off the bandwagon every once in a while, sticking to whole, healthy foods can work wonders for your immune system.
Health starts from within. If you’re not feeding your body the vitamins and nutrients it needs, it won’t be able to do its job very well. Try opting for whole grains, fruits, veggies, and healthy fats. Unprocessed foods should be your go-to to keep your body functioning smoothly.
And while you might be tempted to reach for that secret stash of cookies, maybe think twice. Some studies have shown that sugar can have an impact on how well your immune system functions.
Hate spinach? Not one for brussel sprouts? If you’re not really a fruit and veggie kinda person, you might look into incorporating a multivitamin supplement into your daily routine.
Studies have shown that getting the proper dose of nutrients is essential for a healthy immune system. A high-quality multivitamin can help fill in the gaps in nutrients to make sure your body and immune system keep functioning as smoothly as possible.
However, you should always check with your doctor before introducing new supplements into your diet, especially if you’re already taking other medications.
Sweat It Out
Yep, that’s right. Exercise, friends. You should be exercising regularly to help protect your immune system.
While it might seem counterintuitive, hitting the gym can work wonders for keeping your immune system pumping. When you work out, your blood flow increases, which causes antibodies and white blood cells to flow faster, too. As these little defenders flow through your body, they work to detect germ invasions. The faster the flow, the quicker they can detect germs and viruses.
If you can’t make it to the gym, at-home bodyweight or HIIT exercises will do just fine. You should plan on getting your blood pumping three to five times per week to get the most benefits. Plus, exercise helps to reduce stress levels. Don’t stress during coronavirus crisis, just sweat it out!
Ah, there’s nothing like a fresh breeze to really bring you back to life. While you might associate flu season with cold weather, it turns out that there might be another reason that the flu strikes in the winter months.
We don’t get outside as much. Staying inside can increase our chances of coming down with an illness. This isn’t just because we’re in closer quarters (hello, coworker coughing up a lung – we see you), our bodies also use sunlight to produce Vitamin D.
And you need Vitamin D for a healthy immune system. So do your immune system a favor and get outside for a lunch break or a play date.
Lay Off the Booze
After a long day, it’s always tempting to come home and indulge with a boozy beverage of choice (or two). But did you know that alcohol does some pretty crazy things to your body? We’re not talking in a good way, either.
We’re not suggesting that you need to let go of your favorite post-work glass of wine, but maybe just stick to one glass. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends sticking to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. What constitutes a “drink” is different depending on your beverage preferences, so you can find more on those guidelines here.
When you exceed that recommended limit, your immune system can enter into a suppressed state, where it’s slower to react to germ and virus invaders. To help it remain as vigilant as possible, try not to exceed the daily recommended amounts.
Ditch the Smokes
There’s never been a better time to ditch the smokes than now. Unless you were in the market to make your immune system work harder than it needs to.
Besides all of the other terrible things that smoking does to your body, it also nukes your immune system. Similar to drinking alcohol, smoking suppresses your immune system and increases its reaction time. This can lead to more frequent (or severe) illness.
Keep Your Gut Healthy
Yes, you need a balanced diet, but your gut might still be missing something. That’s where probiotics come in.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that help balance out your gut’s microbiome. When the balance is off, you might feel bloated or have trouble digesting some foods. You might also be more susceptible to chronic illness.
And if you think taking a pill is the only way to get a good dose of probiotics – think again. There are tons of foods available with natural probiotics. Try incorporating foods like yogurts, kefirs, and miso. Basically, anything that’s been fermented typically has a good dose of gut-friendly bacteria (booze not included!).
Avoiding Coronavirus and Staying Healthy Shouldn’t be Complicated.
It’s all about listening to your body and taking care of it. You don’t need fancy gym memberships or expensive mattresses. These are just small changes to make so you can avoid the Coronavirus like it’s the plague.