As the coronavirus continues to change lives across the globe, you might feel anxious about your health. However, you can take specific measures to boost your immunity. In addition to frequently washing your hands and wearing protective gear when you head out for essentials, these proactive lifestyle choices can boost your immune system and help you bounce back if you become exposed.
1. Get More Sleep
If you have more time on your hands, use it to catch up on your Zzz’s! During sleep, your body produces proteins called cytokines, some of which help to promote slumber. Others, though, need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation — including the coronavirus. If you don’t get adequate rest, your levels of these proteins decrease, and you’ll be more likely to get sick.
2. Get Moderate Exercise
Your body is composed of more than 100 trillion cells. Some of these are natural killer cells that seek out and destroy foreign invaders like viruses. When you vigorously exercise for a limited period — such as 30-45 minutes — the levels of leukocytes increases substantially.
Previously, researchers thought that in the recovery period, your body decreased the number of these cells. However, a new interpretation indicates that these navigate to peripheral tissues to perform surveillance. One study involving rats saw that T-cells, a specialized immune cell, redeploy to the gut and lungs after exertion.
3. Eat a Rainbow
Phytonutrients are chemical compounds in plants that give them their vivid hues. They also play a vital role in human health. For example, allicin, a sulfur compound found in garlic, has antibacterial and anti-cancer properties. Lycopene from bright red peppers and tomatoes helps improve visual acuity. Eating the rainbow ensures that you get a full spectrum of these tiny, yet potent, germ-fighters that will boost your immunity right away.
4. Get More Vitamin C and Zinc
Both vitamin C and zinc can improve your immune system function. While officials warn that vitamin C supplements alone will not protect you from the coronavirus, it could help you recover more quickly. One review found that people who took a supplement while they had a cold decreased their recovery time by 8%.
A positive mindset can help you maintain a healthy immune system. Laughter curbs the levels of stress hormones like cortisol in your blood. It also increases the number of white blood cells, including natural killer cells. If you have extra time on your hands, switch off the dire news broadcasts and tune into an uproarious comedy to boost your immunity.
6. Stay Hydrated
Your mucus membranes serve as your first line of defense against invaders. If they get dehydrated, they can’t do their job as effectively. Make sure you drink plenty of water right now to boost your immunity. Also, stay away from alcohol — it can weaken your immune system and make you more prone to infections.
7. Ease Your Stress (Yes, Really)
Right now, you might think, “Yeah, right. I don’t know how to pay my rent. How do you expect me to lower my stress?” One way is to focus on what you can do. If you are furloughed due to the shutdown, why not use this time to dust off your resume and look for telecommuting gigs? Many states are extending relief to renters, so you should have time to search.
If you’re worried about getting sick right now, you are not alone. However, with a few simple tips, you can keep your immune system more robust.