Written by Zane Mason
With the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, it’s especially important to understand that no supplement, diet, or other lifestyle modification other than physical distancing, also known as social distancing, and proper hygiene practices can protect you from COVID-19.
Currently, no research supports the use of any supplement to protect against COVID-19 specifically.
Having a strong immune system will not stop you from getting the Coronavirus or any virus for that matter but it might improve your chances of recovery, the time it takes you to recover and the severity of the symptoms you will experience. A strong immune system is like an army that protects your body, or your homeland, against invaders and prevents invaders, such as viruses and bacteria, from coming in, taking over and trying to take down your homeland. So lets try keep our army as strong as we can!
1. Reduce Stress
When we’re stressed out our body produces stress hormones like cortisol which taxes our immune systems. One of the most important ways to boost immunity is to reduce stress. As we can’t always control the things that cause us to stress we can change the way we respond to them. One way to lower the stress hormone cortisol and to control anxiety which is common at the moment is to focus on your breathing. 4-7-8 breathing is a breathing technique you can try. Here is a link to it https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324417#outlook
Another approach is to supplement with Adaptogens. Adaptogens are herbs that help your body and mind to cope better with stress. My favourite two are ashwagandha and rhodiola rosea.
2. Get enough sleep
By not sleeping enough, we increase stress and hurt our immunity. If we’re drinking caffeinated drinks all the time we may not even realize just how tired we really are. Because sleeping is important to rebuilding a struggling immune system, we need to let ourselves sleep as much as we need. Try to get at least a minimum of 6 hours sleep a night with 8-9 hours being optimal. Everyone is different and some people might need more sleep than others.
3. Supplement Vitamins and Herbs
To support your immune system, you can eat immunity supporting foods like garlic, ginger and citrus fruits but if your immune system is already weak, it can also be helpful to supplement with immune boosting herbs like Holy Basil, Echinacea and Ashwagandha. Also supplementing with key immune supporting vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C, Vitamin D and Zinc can help strengthen your immune system.
Recommended dosages are 250-500mg for Vitamin C, 2000iu (50mcg)-4000iu (100mcg) per day vitamin D3 and 15-30mg Zinc per day. Also consider the forms of the vitamins you buy as some absorb better than others. Vitamin C: Pure ascorbic acid is fine unless you have a sensitive stomach then go for Calcium ascorbate. Vitamin D: Look for Vitamin D3. Zinc: Look for Chelated Zinc or Zinc Picolinate.
4. Keep your Gut healthy
Many people are not aware that keeping your guy healthy is a key to a stronger and more effective immune system. Your gut wall houses 70 percent of the cells that make up your immune system. Here are a few ways to help keep your gut healthy:
1. Take probiotics and eat fermented foods
Some research has suggested that taking probiotics can support a healthy gut microbiome, and that it may prevent gut inflammation and other intestinal problems. Consuming the following foods regularly may improve gut health: fermented vegetables, kefir, kimchi, kombucha ,miso, sauerkraut and tempeh.
2. Eat prebiotic fiber
Probiotics feed on nondigestible carbohydrates called prebiotics. This process encourages beneficial bacteria to multiply in the gut.
People who want to enhance their gut health may wish to include more of the following prebiotic-rich foods in their diet: asparagus, bananas, chicory, garlic, Jerusalem artichoke, onions, whole grains
5. Reduce Inflammation
Sugar, processed meat and vegetable oils tend to be inflammatory foods so they best to cut down on to help your immune system.
6. Exercise, but not too much
Exercise can be one of the best things to do to boost immunity. But we have to be careful because too much exercise is stressful on the body and can be tough on our immune system. We need to find a balance between exercise and rest. Make sure you have rest days and compliment your training with good and adequate nutrition.Also make sure you include enough protein in your diet from whole foods to support your bodies recovery from exercise, to build, repair body tissue and fight viral and bacterial infections.
Immune system powerhouses such as antibodies and immune system cells rely on protein. Too little protein in the diet may lead to symptoms of weakness, fatigue, apathy, and poor immunity. If you struggle to get enough protein in from whole foods consider using a quality Whey protein or Pea protein supplement. Pea protein is great if you are sensitive to lactose or are a Vegan.