7 Ways to Improve your Immune System during Coronavirus Pandemic
The science behind boosting your immunity is not that complicated. Different factors like lifestyle, diet, activity and mindset significantly impact how your immune system functions. Instead of hoarding toilet paper, sanitisers and face masks it’s better to focus on improving your health by building wellness from the inside out, this will protect you and your family from COVID-19.
Here are the key things that you need to keep in mind to strengthen your immune system:
Drink hot water with lemon - Lemon is rich in Vitamin C, it improves digestion, detoxifies your liver and flushes out toxins. Instead of coffee or tea, start your day with hot lemon water. You will definitely start feeling better in the mornings and this will motivate you to keep the habit going.
Moving your body every day - Learning to move your body every day in a mindful and enjoyable way is fundamental to our physical and mental health. Exercise reduces the release of a stress hormone known as cortisol. Benefits of moving your body every day apart from weight loss are - Enhanced mood, healthier lymphatic system, healthier bones, better brain health and improved sex life.
Taking a 30 mins brisk walk, or bike ride, yoga, pilates or playing any sports game could do wonders to your body. In short, physical activity is good for your mind, body and spirit.
Having healthy Vitamin D levels - Deficiency of Vitamin D is more common than you think and unless severe, it doesn't give many symptoms. You can only know Vitamin D levels from a blood test. Low levels of Vitamin D have a greater risk of a heart attack, stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure.
It doesn't matter what your age is or at what stage you are in, having appropriate levels of Vitamin D is essential for good immunity.
Spending 10-15 mins every day in direct sunlight with major areas of skin exposed is a good way to improve your vitamin D levels, eating more eggs, fish and mushrooms. If necessary, you can take a Vitamin D supplement after consulting with your doctor.
Practising meditation - We all know meditation significantly decreases stress levels, increases emotional regulation and improves the quality of life. Meditating every day for even 5 mins improves the immune system, reduces blood pressure and sharpens the mind. Your thoughts - positive or negative directly impacts your immune system. A positive environment will help your immunity to flourish.
Mindfulness can boost immunity via the gut microbiota. (microorganisms that reside in the gut). Microbiota plays the most important role in developing and maintaining the immune system.
Getting enough sleep - We often neglect this one but humans need 7-8 hours of sleep every night to achieve optimal health - physically and mentally.
A study found out that those who sleep less than 7 hours were almost 3 times more likely to develop a cold than those who slept 8 hours or more. If you often get colds, make sure that you get at least 8 hours of sleep. Lack of sleep means the chances of getting sick are higher and your recovery will also be slow.
Not only this, but sleep will also boost your mood, help you concentrate better and improve productivity.
Along with exercise and nutrition, good sleep is one of the pillars of a healthy lifestyle.
Quit Smoking - Not only does smoking cause serious health conditions like lung cancer, heart disease but it also decreases your immune response. Smoking of any kind directly impacts your respiratory tissues, the tissue most affected by COVID-19. It suppresses your immune system and hence leads to prolonged recovery.
Smoking also has harmful effects on the antioxidants (like Vitamin C) that flows through your body.
Cutting back on alcohol - People are well aware of the fact that alcohol causes serious damages to the liver, cardiovascular system and digestive system. But what they don't know is that it also weakens the immune system, making you more prone to fatal illnesses like pneumonia.
What alcohol does is severely affects your gut’s microbiome which plays a very important role in fighting diseases. It alters the balance of healthy and unhealthy bacteria in your gut.
The more you drink, the more your immune system gets adversely affected.
Lastly, ease your anxious feelings and do not panic. Focus on building good habits - habits that make you feel healthier, stronger and more empowered.