The coronavirus pandemic is doing so much more than sending us into isolation – the stress of job losses, money worries, food and vital necessities being whipped off supermarket shelves and dealing with cooped-up children and parents is enough to make any of us ill. These are just some of the things that we are forced to deal with right now, and there has never been a time when we have needed our immune system to be up to the job of keeping us healthy and strong.
Some of you will be used to the idea of keeping on top of your immune health and will already be making sure that you are staying in tip-top physical shape to get through the coming months. For those of you who haven’t given it much of a thought before now, it is never too late to start but it’s really important that you do.
Here are our top 10 immune-boosting tips to make sure that you are doing everything you can to keep your immune system ticking over:
You’ve probably seen the adverts with funny little bottles of pro-biotic and wondered what they were all about. They are drinks that promote Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, the bacteria that live in our gut and help our immune health. Look for a probiotic that contains these, or try adding any of these fermented foods to your diet: sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, miso and kombucha.
Antibiotics by their very nature wipe out the bacteria in your gut so try to avoid them if you can – it takes from three to six months for your gut health to return to a normal healthy level after taking them.
Self-isolating can mean you are not getting outside as much as you need and your levels of Vitamin D can therefore drop. Make sure you start taking a supplement to increase it; this is vital for a healthy immune system.
The same goes for Vitamin C, which our bodies need to help fight off colds and other infectious diseases.
There’s a reason your mum always made you chicken soup when you were poorly – bone broth is incredibly good for your immune system! This is simple to make – try our Nana’s special soup recipe.
No, not that kind, these ones have magical properties when it comes to antiviral properties. Try Reishi, Shiitake and Maitake – you can buy them in powder capsules from most health food stores.
Manuka honey is a natural anti-inflammatory and supports your immune system. A little spread on your toast goes a long way to boosting your health, naturally.
While it’s tempting to sit and watch TV all day if you’re self-isolating, it’s the worst thing you can do for your immune system. Even moderate activity improves your circulation and your body’s response to infections.
Try not to let the stress and worry of your situation keep you awake at night, sleep is as vital to maintaining a healthy immune system as keeping active. Try to get seven to eight hours and go to bed at the same time each night as routine helps the body stay calm.
It may seem impossible right now, but try to keep your stress levels down. The stress hormone cortisol affects not just your gut health, but also the body’s natural defence against illness. Meditation has been shown to help lower cortisol levels, so even if you’ve never tried it before to calm the mind, do it to calm your gut – and help you stay healthier for longer.