Unless you’ve been living under a rock you must be aware that we are living amidst a crazy, once-in-a-century pandemic that has people panicking to the point of fist-fighting over toilet paper at grocery stores. While social distancing and hand-washing are the best ways to avoid getting the coronavirus, there are ways to boost your immune system so that your body can fight it off more efficiently in case you do catch it. This is what I’m doing to boost my immune system right now:
How To Boost Your Immune System:
1. Maintain a whole-foods based diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds in order to get a good variety of antioxidants and phytonutrients, which will help your immune system function at its best. I have stocked up on frozen fruits and veggies in case I have to self-isolate and cannot get access to fresh produce.
2. Take immune boosting supplements: vitamin D, Omega-3, and vitamin C. Vitamin D has been shown to boost the immune system and prevent acute respiratory infections. If you’re in a warmer climate you can get adequate vitamin D from going outside every day, but if not then you’ll need to supplement in the colder months. You’ll also need to supplement if you’re older as vitamin D production via sun exposure declines with age. Since it’s fat soluble, I like to add my vitamin D to a spoonful of Omega-3s to help my body absorb it better. Omega-3s also help to regulate your immune system, both to keep it from becoming overactive and to boost its activity when appropriate (like when you’re fighting an infection). This vegan DHA and EPA supplement is the one I personally use.
You probably already know that Vitamin C is a tried and true immune system booster. In addition to taking a supplement, be sure to include plenty of vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables in your diet. Camu camu powder is a great source of vitamin C and easy to blend/mid into food or beverages.
4. Eat fermented foods and/or take probiotics. Beneficial microbes are necessary for optimal functioning of your immune system. While probiotic supplements are helpful, you’ll get even more good germs if you also eat foods like kimchi, yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, beer kvass, fermented vegetables, apple cider vinegar, and kombucha.
5. Eat plenty of zinc-rich foods like hemp seeds and pumpkin seeds. Zinc is essential for immune function so you don’t want to skimp on this nutrient right now!
6. Eat a couple of Brazil nuts a day – Brazil nuts are very high in selenium which has anti-viral effects and is essential for proper immune function. Just don’t overdo it as you don’t want to end up with selenium toxicity, 2-3 per day is more than enough!
7. Eat plenty of antimicrobial foods and herbs like garlic, ginger, turmeric, oregano cinnamon and cloves. Sprinkle ground cinnamon and cloves over your oatmeal, add garlic and/or oregano to your dinner, and sip on some ginger tea or a turmeric latte.
8. Get adequate sleep. Sleep deprivation impairs your immune system so hit the sack early.
9. Get outside. Go for a walk, breathe in the fresh air, enjoy nature. Moderate exercise boosts your immune system. Chemicals released by trees and plants stimulate white blood cell production, making it easier for your body to fend off foreign invaders like viruses. Being outside in nature also lowers your stress levels, and since stress dampens your immune system you definitely want to lower it!
While these tips will help your immune system fend off the coronavirus more effectively, you still need to take steps to avoid catching and spreading it in the first place. Please follow government guidelines and practice social distancing, and stay home if you have been exposed.
Do your part to flatten the curve.
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Article written by Kiran Sidhu, Holistic Nutritionist. To schedule a 1-1 nutrition consultation, select “book an appointment” from the menu bar and choose the service that best fits your nutrition counselling needs.
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