TIPS FOR A FIT IMMUNE SYSTEM
The worry about COVID-19 may have led you to Google remedies to boost your immune system. Instead of rushing to buy supplements and vitamins or cooking some magic potions to protect you, take an honest look at your lifestyle and see what you could do to support your body to keep healthy. The immune system is a very complicated system involving many types of cells, organs, proteins, and tissues that work together to protect the body from infection. The crucial function of the immune system is to recognize a foreign, harmful substances entering the body, and destroy them. Taking care of yourself gives your immune system the best chance to do its job.
Keep your stress levels down.
Worries about the coronavirus, your loved ones, your job and the general disruption of life can definitely increase stress levels. The bad news is that the stress hormone cortisol turns off cells in your immune system, meaning your body does a better job fighting off illness when it’s not under stress. Take time for activities that boost your mood and reduce stress. Practice yoga, meditate or journal. Do breathing exercises. Connect with friends and family. Listen to music or read a book. Spend time in nature.
A sleep-deprived immune system doesn’t work well. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep. Do your best to stick to a regular bedtime and wake-up schedule. Remember that sleeping and resting is healing.
A healthy, varied diet based on nutrient-dense whole foods plays a big role in having a strong immune system. We need vitamins and minerals to keep our immune systems healthy. Many people these days experience “micronutrient malnutrition”, meaning a person is deficient in some essential vitamins and trace minerals. This is mostly due to a poor diet. Vitamin A, C and D plus zinc, selenium and iron are essential for good immunity. Add probiotic foods to support healthy digestion which is also important for good immunity. Many foods have immune boosting vitamins and minerals, but no single food has been proven to bolster a person’s immune system or fight off disease. The best strategy is to fill your plate with fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains, fermented foods, lean protein and healthy fats. Keep it simple and fresh. Leave processed junk foods on the shelves.
Avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
Several studies have found a link between excessive alcohol consumption and immune function. People who drink in excess are more susceptible to respiratory illnesses and pneumonia and recover from infection and wounds more slowly.
Being active is so important for your overall health. Exercise naturally lowers cortisol levels and helps with immune-system function. Moving your body also has a positive impact on your emotional well-being by releasing endorphins, chemicals in the brain that are the body’s natural mood elevators, and increasing serotonin and norepinephrine levels which in turn, reduce depression and stress. Choose a form of movement you enjoy. When going to the gym or joining a group class is not an option, walk or run outside or do a workout at home.
Being dehydrated is a mild stressor to the body. Drinking plenty of fluids helps your body flush out toxins and restores fluids lost if you have been feverish. It’s hot and humid in Bali so remember to drink enough water. And why not to enjoy a fresh coconut as well for additional hydration and mineral boost. The great news is that coconut water also has antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Stop smoking or vaping.
Smokers and those with respiratory disease have a higher rate of serious illness and complications from coronavirus.
And of course, remember to wash your hands, not touch your face and practice social distancing!