The threat of covid-19 has created much anticipation of a vaccine, but experts have warned that not only might this be some time away, but it is also not guaranteed to be the answer in its entirety. However, there are some precautions we can take for our own health that can not only help to protect us against this virus, but can also help our bodies to overcome different kinds of illnesses we might otherwise suffer from.
In relying on medication entirely, we may neglect our bodies’ own defence mechanism – our immune system. This highly efficient system is within our control to maximise, and while it may not be able to protect us entirely, it is certainly a big part of the battle, especially as we get older.So here are some easy ways to boost your immune system, all of which are achievable for most of us during lockdown restrictions.
Breathing in cold air creates the perfect environment for viruses in our upper airways, hence the prevalence of colds and flu in the winter time. While going outside is a good idea, be sure to wrap up warm when you do, especially around your face and neck with a substantial scarf. If you’re doing activities outside that mean you can’t wear a scarf, drink hot drinks regularly to keep your temperature steady.
Get Enough Sleep
The right amount of restful sleep allows your immune system to properly rebalance, eliminating unhelpful inflammatory cells and boosting the levels of helpful chemicals in your body, as well as certain cells’ ability to fight diseases.
Lift Your Mood
As easy as it can be to sink into lethargy and depressive states at the moment, this can have a negative effect on your physical health. Whatever you can do to lift your mood, from watching funny TV shows to going for a long walk or chatting with friends on the phone, can also help your body to fight the stress that can otherwise impact your immune system negatively.
Feel The Sunshine
Vitamin D is a very important factor in a well functioning immune system, and the most efficient way to absorb it is through your skin in the form of sunshine. Even if it’s not hot outside, take advantage of any sunny days to try and absorb some sunlight into your skin, and take a vitamin D supplement as well.
Recognised for its many health benefits, including those to your cardiovascular system and metabolism, garlic can also improve your immune system function with the compounds it contains. If you don’t like the taste of garlic, you can also find it in supplement form.
Regular exercise is, of course, good for your overall health. But for your immune system specifically it has the benefit of helping white blood cells to move around your body so they can fight problems where they’re needed. Overexercising can place too much stress on the body and can be counterproductive, but regular daily movement to raise your heart rate is highly recommended.
You don’t need to turn vegetarian or vegan to gain the health benefits of a plant-based diet, but do incorporate plants into your diet as much as you possibly can. They feed your immune system with much of what it needs to function well, helping it to ward off problems.
Foods such as salmon, olive oil and avocados contain healthy fats which have an anti-inflammatory effect. Inflammation can battle your immune system, making it less effective, so these kinds of foods make it easier for your body’s natural defence mechanism to do its job.
Probiotic yoghurt helps stimulate those vital white blood cells so they can fight infection. A daily dose has also been shown to ward off colds.
An essential component in your body’s fight against all kinds of illnesses, zinc can reduce recovery time from colds, fight off pneumonia, and generally activates the enzymes your body uses to break down viruses.