The recent outbreak of coronavirus has caused widespread panic and fear mongering. Getting unnecessarily worried or anxious will only make things worse. So here are some practical tips you can implement that will actually support your immune system during this time.
1. Increase your vegetable intake
It is important to increase the amount of colourful vegetables that you are having daily to help boost your immune system. Beets and carrots are high in antioxidants and improve blood cell health. Greens like kale and broccoli promote liver detoxification. Capsicum and sweet potato are high in vitamin C which supports immune cell production. Put them in salads, make a stirfry, or throw a bunch into a one pot soup, just make sure you are having LOTS!
2. Stay well hydrated
Water, water, water! It is important to be drinking at least 2 litres of filtered, room temperature water per day. Staying hydrated helps your lymphatic system (the detox channel that is right under your skin) work at its best to clear toxins out of the blood stream quickly. Dehydration causes this system to be sluggish, which impacts how well your immune system can function. If you get sick of straight water, mixing it up with some high antioxidant green tea is a great option!
Exercising boosts lymphatic function and causes changes in antibodies and white blood cells, which are what fight infections. Aim to move for at least 30 minutes per day.
4. Stress less
When we are stressed our body goes into sympathetic nervous system dominance (fight or flight) which increases our stress hormone cortisol. High cortisol levels cause immune suppression, so it is important to actively do stress reducing activities daily. Things like yoga, meditation, reading, writing, painting or walking, are all activities to calm your nervous system down and boost immune activity.
5. Get Some Sun
Vitamin D is a super important nutrient for immune health, and a lot of people these days are very deficient due to increased time indoors. To get a good daily dose of Vitamin D you just need 15 minutes in direct sunlight without sunscreen, exposing as much skin as possible.
6. Spice It Up!
Incorporate as many spices as you can into your cooking. Garlic, ginger, turmeric, cayenne and cinnamon all have potent anti inflammatory and anti bacterial actions, which help support antibody production and a fight off infections.
7. Cut The Sugar
Remove high sugar foods from your diet. This includes pastries, pasta, white bread, chocolates and candy. Sugar is highly inflammatory and suppresses the immune system. After eating sugary foods, the immune cells that attack bacteria are actually weakened for a few hours afterwards, leaving your body more prone to infection.
Hydrotherapy is the use of water to help boost your immune system. Having alternating hot and cold showers stimulates fresh blood circulation, boosts lymphatic function and increases antibody production. It is also a great way to start the day with a boost of energy. Start on hot and alternate as many times as you like, but always finish on cold.
9. Get Some Rest
Making sure that you are getting restorative sleep is super vital. During sleep your body produces cytokines which help to fight any pathogen or bacteria. Lack of sleep also reduces antibody production and increases your stress hormone cortisol (leading to a suppressed immune system). To optimise your sleep ensure that electronics are turned off at least an hour before bed. This is to ensure that your sleep hormone melatonin is sufficiently produced, as blue light from screens blocks production. Swap screen time for a relaxing activity like reading, yoga or meditation.
10. See Your Naturopath
Book in to see your local Naturopath. It is important to be supplementing with the right products along with eating right and supporting a healthy lifestyle. Gut health is extremely important to address during viral outbreaks, as 70% of your immune system is produced in the gut. Naturopaths have the tools to determine what your therapeutic needs are, and can provide you with high quality, scientifically researched products to keep you and your family healthy.
**Please note: if you do start to feel ill, with symptoms such as sneezing, fever and a cough, please CALL your local GP to get advice. Please stay home, do not continue to go to work/school and avoid as much human interaction as possible. We all need to do our part to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Sending healthy vibes out :) xx