With the current situation going on in the world regarding COVID-19 continuing to spread and if you have been on my Instagram @theinfeature recently you may have seen myself and my partner Ricky were unfortunately diagnosed with the illness earlier in the month. I think it is so important to take all of the steps we can in order to keep ourselves, our loved ones and those who are classed as high risk protected and reduce of risk of spreading the virus further. While we are all aware of the restrictions the government (at both federal and provincial) level have put in place to help reduce the spread there is a number of things we can do in our day to day life to help reduce our chances of catching the illness – excluding washing our hands for twenty seconds which I think we are all pretty aware of by now! As a whole, our immune system does a remarkable job at defending us against illness causing bacterium and viruses but understanding that it is just that: a system. There is not one single thing we can proactively do to boost our immune system as it is such a complex and delicate structure. Instead there are a number of things that can contribute to giving harmony and balance in strengthening our bodies natural response and I have listed the steps I am taking to keep myself as healthy as possible below.
CHOOSE A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
The first step in keeping your first line of defence healthy is to choose to live as healthy a lifestyle as possible. Following general good health guidelines is the easiest, healthiest and most natural way to keep your immune system strong and healthy. Some of the most obvious choices:
- Don’t smoke.
- Exercise regularly.
- Get adequate sleep.
- Try to minimize stress.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
- If you do drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
Fortunately I stopped smoking just over three years ago. If you have just recently begun your journey to quit or are planning on doing so soon – well done! Cyber round of applause because it is not easy in the beginning but remind yourself that cravings will pass within moments and become less intense and frequent as time goes on.
Diet and Supplements are two of the best ways to get the daily need of beneficial vitamins and minerals to help strengthen and support the immune system. The market is saturated with supplements and if you have not researched into which ones will work best for you it can be a little overwhelming. I have listed below the daily supplements both myself and my partner Ricky are taking.
B12 is an essential vitamin to boosting and strengthening your immune system as it helps with the production of both red and white blood cells. If we can remember from school biology the white blood cells are responsible for attacking and removing viruses and bacterium from the body and produce and store antibodies should the infection reoccur. A lack of B12 can make you feel weak and fatigue as there is not enough red blood cells to transport oxygen to your bodies cells.
I recently wrote a blog post on the amazing benefits of Vitamin C in skin care (which you can read by clicking here) but it is also a key vitamin for boosting your immune system. Vitamin C supports the cell’s barrier function against pathogens which make it harder for an invading infection to actually make you sick.
Vitamin D not only helps your body absorb calcium which is important for strengthening the bones, it also helps our delicate immune system stay balanced especially during cold and flu season – which we are still technically in as the weather very slowly begins to transition to warmer days. There are Vitamin D receptors and activating enzymes on the surface of all white blood cells too.
This is a potent antioxidant that has the ability to not only strengthen our immune system but also reduce inflammation, promote eye health and research has shown a positive effect in preventing certain cancers and coronary heart disease.
Zinc is a mineral that is important to the the body in many ways. It is used to make proteins and DNA, the genetic material in all cells, and it assists with fighting off invading pathogens. Zinc is also important to help heal wounds and support normal cell growth.
Please be sure to keep your zinc supplements within your daily allowance (which is 11mg for men and 9mg for women) or it can have adverse effects on the immune system. Too much of anything is never good!
Probiotics can help reduce your chances in becoming infected, and if you do get sick they may help in reducing the severity of your symptoms and shortening the length of time you are infected. Up to 70% of our immune system is actually in our gut and probiotics are designed to inhibit the growth of harmful gut bacteria. Some probiotics have also been shown to promote the production of natural antibodies in the body.
SHOP THE POST:
IMMUNE BOOSTING FOODS
It is important to remember supplements can only do so much and the majority of support our bodies need must come from the food we consume. That is why following and maintaining a healthy diet is such an important part of our life. I have included some of the best immune boosting foods below.
- Citrus Fruits (oranges, clementines, lemons, limes, grapefruit, yuzu)
- Red Bell Peppers
- Natural Yogurt
- Sunflower seeds
- Green tea
Though you may not think it, water also serves an important role in supporting the immune system as water helps to carry oxygen to the cells within our bodies. Staying hydrated also helps to remove toxins and other bacteria from the body – which could be responsible for causing illness if not removed.
I have stocked up on these super important food types and supplements to protect myself and my partner Ricky and have also ordered all of the supplements for my family back home in Ireland to keep their immune system as strong and healthy as possible. I hope you have found this information helpful and if you have any other important tips and tricks for immune boosting please let me know in the comment section below.
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