Boosting your immune system against the coronavirus

Immune System

How to strengthen your immune system and stay healthy for your friends, family, and self, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

To fight this virus, the current advice from professionals is to wash hands frequently, respect social distancing, and upon showing symptoms, self-isolate and contact a GP remotely. We all have vulnerable people in our lives, so it’s natural to wonder how to reduce your chance of falling ill to keep them safe. Guidelines indicate that standard practices for a healthy, active lifestyle minimise the risk of becoming unwell. Here is what to embrace and what to avoid for a strong and secure immune system. 

Embrace …

Healthy Eating

When it comes to a strong immune system, a healthy, balanced diet is essential. Numerous medical studies, doctors, and dietary professionals suggest that a mediterranean diet is the best nutrition plan for bolstering your immune system. This means a lot of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats  (which come from fatty fish, nuts, and olive oil). At a time like this it can be hard to find the motivation to cook, getting a delivery seems like the perfect idea, a little slice of normalcy. But, it’s now more important than ever to get hearty nourishment from a balanced, home-cooked meal. So, why not have some fun with it? Get the family together, roll up those sleeves, wash those paws, and get stuck into some home cooking. This way it’ll be done in no time and you’ll have done something fun and proactive as a family. Have a look at some foods that boost the immune system here and get creative.

Healthy Eating

Exercise

Just like a healthy diet, regular exercise boosts general health and hence bolsters the immune system. Just 30 minutes of exercise three days a week improves cardiovascular, respiratory, metabolic, and circulatory health, enabling white blood cells and antibodies to flow faster through your body to detect and fight illness. Studies have proven the link between physical fitness and the body’s immune system, but with all gyms and sport centres closed around the country how can you stay fit? Here’s a few bodyweight exercises you can try at home which require little space and no equipment, a sure way to take your mind off the emergency and have you feeling great in no time!

Immune System

Sleep

It’s only in recent years that the medical world is waking up to how important a good night’s kip really is. Sleep deprivation causes the body to produce more stress hormones like cortisol, which negatively affect your immune system, and less protein molecules like cytokines, which target infection and inflammation. So, to stay in tip-top health you should aim for 7-8 hours of shut eye per night. At last, a good reason to hit that snooze button. If you’re struggling to get good sleep at the moment, you’re not alone. There are many proactive methods out there to help you fall, and stay asleep, like exercise which has been proven to improve quality of sleep or breathing techniques in the evening before bed. 

Immune System Strengthening

Stress Management 

As previously mentioned stress hormones like cortisol can hamper your immune system’s effectiveness, highlighting the irrefutable link between mental and physical health. Instead of listing the negative consequences of stress on your body, which seems counterproductive and frankly, stressful, let’s talk about stress management techniques. Stress and anxiety are natural components of life. Lucky for us there’s a wide range of approaches to dealing with tension, trauma, and worry, so you can find those that suits you best. You could try exercise, meditation, yoga, breathing techniques, or practicing daily gratitude. Remember to get enough sleep, put aside time each day for passions and hobbies, and to stay in touch with friends and family through video or voice call. 

Stress Management

Avoid …

Things that hinder your immune responses are an unhealthy dietcigarettes and vapingalcohol, and drugs. It’s common knowledge that these habits negatively affect your immune system, however as fallible, finite, pleasure seeking beings many of us regularly choose to ignore this. Given the current circumstances, you might think twice before drinking another beer in the evening. While you may not want to cut these things out of your life completely, you could consider your relationship with them, and proceed in a more healthy, proportionate, or cautionary manner.

Immune System

Remember, the best place to keep yourself informed on the evolving coronavirus pandemic is through the HSE, here.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the situation, mental health support can be found here.  

Take care folks.

About the author

Nicholas Lane

Student of English and French. Born in Essex, bred in Donegal, buttered in Dublin. Writer with Babylon Radio and UCD Tribune. Radio presenter with UCD Belfield FM.

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