Immunity – this is the question on everyone’s mind as we face a worldwide crisis. Your immune system is designed to fight diseases and viruses as well as heal wounds. We don’t yet know how to fully prevent or manage the damage caused by COVID-19.  Modern life (stress, sleep deprivation, and an unhealthy diet) creates inflammation and negatively impacts our immune system’s ability to do its job. However this is a time to think about what steps you could take to boosting your immunity for health and well-being.  

Here are the four areas you can change to help boost immunity: 
  1. Take more moderate exercise: Moderate exercise can reduce inflammation and promote the healthy turnover of immune cells. We recommend you the following options: jogging, biking, walking, swimming,hiking, pilates, feldenkrais or yoga.
  2. Supplements: Please note, there is no supplement(s) that can prevent C19.  Please select which supplements you take wisely. 
    1. Probiotics; There is evidence to suggests that a flourishing network of gut bacteria can help your immune cells differentiate between normal, healthy cells and harmful invader organisms
    2. Other immune boosting supplements include vitamins C, echinacea, zinc,  garlic and/or some immunity boosting multivitamins.
  3. Manage your stress levels:  long term stress can lead to a weakened immune system.  When the immune system is challenged your defences may be lowered. How do i manage my stress? There is much written about this. In a nutshell – 
    1. getting enough sleep 
    2. positive attitude
    3. accept that there are events you cannot control
    4. Don’t rely on alcohol, drugs, or compulsive behaviours to reduce stress.
    5. regular exercise 
    6. breathing exercises, mindfulness and/or meditation
    7. make time for hobbies & relaxation
    8. well balanced diet
    9. spending time with social supports
    10. seeking mental health support to learn techniques to manage stresses
  4. Dietary changes
      1. Eat more whole plant based foods.  What exactly does that mean?  Whole plant foods are fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that may give you an upper hand against harmful pathogens.  Several whole plant foods contain antioxidants, fibre (essential for gut health) , and vitamin C, all of which may lower your susceptibility to illness.
      2. Healthy fats, like those found in olive oil and some fish (like salmon), may boost your body’s immune response to pathogens by decreasing inflammation.  Anti-inflammatory oils may help your body fight off harmful disease-causing bacteria and viruses.
      3. Limit sugars: It is now well known from research, that refined carbs and added sugars contribute disproportionately to people being overweight or obese.  Sugars and carbs contribute significantly to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease, all of which can suppress your immune system. Lowering your sugar intake may decrease inflammation and your risk of these conditions.
      4. Stay hydrated. you’ve heard it before but to prevent dehydration, you should drink enought fluid daily to make your urine pale yellow. Water is recommended because it’s free of calories, additives, and sugars. 

You can make several lifestyle and dietary changes today to strengthen your immune system.   Although none of these suggestions can prevent becoming sick with a common cold or diseases , they may reinforce your body’s defense against harmful pathogens – which circulate at all times of the year. If you are unwell we recommend that you stay home, or ring Healthline (0800 611 116) or seek medical help.