Boosting Your Immune System
It’s hard to keep a level head when your insides are out of tune; and with COVID-19 heightening our anxieties, it’s important to stay in good health. Tending to mindful and spiritual practices that directly cater to the boosting of your immune system can benefit you more than you know. However, the average Joe is probably unable to explain how their immune system works, let alone from a holistic standpoint, so I’ll disperse the facts.
What Your Immune System Is & How It Functions:
The immune system is our body’s built-in system to defend against disease and illness. According to Everyday Health, commonalities that weaken our immune system consist of stress, loneliness, sedentary lifestyles, too much exercise, nicotine use, UV radiation, poor eating habits, alcohol, and grief caused by sudden or tragic events.
Your immune system uses a network of cells and organs that band together to defend your body against antigens. Antigens are anything with the ability to cause sickness, including bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi.
When your immune system is functioning properly, its defense system can help recognize intruding antigens and keep them at bay.
How COVID-19 Impacts Your Immune System
For starters, we’re all staying inside – getting less Vitamin D from the Sun, exercising and moving less, and potentially binge-eating comfort food as we depress ourselves watching the news on COVID-19. The antsy feelings brought upon by quarantining and social distancing can be enough to make us feel stressed, lonely, and weak.
Scientifically speaking, COVID-19 is a novel virus. If you’ve heard this term and haven’t quite understood what it means, a novel virus is defined as a disease or illness nobody has ever been exposed to prior to it becoming an epidemic.
Since we’ve never been exposed to COVID-19, nobody is immune to it – regardless of their health. However, per the CDC, those with weaker Immune Systems face the highest risk of life-threatening complications should they contract the virus. The infographic below provides visual insight on what happens to your immune system if you are exposed to it.
How To Optimize Your Immune System
Focusing on your diet, exercise, and vitamins are the best approaches to staying healthy.
Nutrition-rich foods (i.e. leafy green vegetables, nuts, and berries) are recommended now more than ever, but practicing healthy eating even after we pass this virus is also crucial.
Probiotics can be helpful, as well. Take it from Johns Hopkins’ Professor of Infectious Diseases, Dr. Morgan Katz, “[Probiotics] help to support the good bacteria that live in your body, which help to fight bad bacteria or viruses.” Still, be sure to consult with your doctor before experimenting with probiotics, because it is possible to have too much good bacteria in your system.
However, take note that not all “healthy foods” are equal. Avoid food and snacks containing high amounts of sodium, sugar, MSG, and trans fat. Ingredients like too much sugar can suppress the effectiveness of cells in your immune system.
Exercise is still important under quarantine. Yoga, Tai Chi, mixed martial arts, and general stretching are great stress relievers are tension lies within your muscles. It’s important to keep a balanced body internally and externally. Furthermore, quarantining does not mean you can’t ever leave your home. 30-60 minutes of daily exercise can go a long way, such as taking a solo walk, jog, or run through your neighborhood or nearby park. Just be sure to avoid public spaces and gyms – which should be closed, anyway. Outdoor exercise is also a great way to feed two birds with one seed: getting exercise and Vitamin D.
Furthermore, take your vitamins. Natural vitamins and supplements work best. Vitamins A, C, D, E all support your immune system’s functionality, and Magnesium, Selenium, and Zinc supplements do the same.
Still, vitamins and supplements alone won’t do all the work for you. It’s a common belief that vitamin C provides you with a super immune boost, but there’s no scientific data to support the word-of-mouth-powered fact. So, your Emergen-C hangover cure may not be as effective as you think it is. In fact, a 2016 survey found that daily vitamin C intake had no effect on cold incidence.
There is no known method to improve your immune system if you’re already compromised by COVID-19. However, you can take health precautions to help avoid contraction.
I’ll leave it at that. The infographic below will provide you with a greater visual breakdown of how to boost your immune system and stay up-to-date with your health. Keep calm, stay healthy, and carry on.
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