In these days in which we are facing a global spread of the COVID-19 virus, and since developing a vaccination and approving it will take more than a year, we can all take measures to strengthen our immune system. In that case even if we get the virus, our innate defense mechanisms will function at their best, helping the body fight the infection efficiently and recover faster.
Here are a few scientifically proven steps you can take to make sure your immune system functions at its’ best:
Needless to say, the first and foremost step you should take is avoiding contact with people who test positive to COVID-19. Also, be very meticulous with hand washing (a few times during the day, and every time you go back home).
1. Reduce stress- stress weakens our immunity, and stress reducing techniques such as Meditation, Yoga, Tai-Chi, and Journaling can be very helpful
2. Be with people you love, communicate with loved ones- strong and supportive relationships can boost immunity significantly
3. Stay active- moderate physical activity supports optimal immune function
4. Use your nutrition wisely- eat plenty of plant based, organic grown foods. Vegetables, whole grains (whole rice, brown rice, whole grain pasta, whole grain bread), Legumes and fruits all contain powerful anti-oxidants, that help the body in eliminating invaders.
5. Alcohol- only in moderation. Large amounts of alcohol impede our immunity, try to stay with 1 glass or red wine.
6. Feed your gut bacteria- our healthy gut bacterium help support the immune system. “Happy Microbes” in our gut actually secrete anti-inflammatory substances that boost immunity. So make sure to feed them well by adding fiber (plant based foods) and foods with live cultures like sauerkraut, Tempeh, and Kimchi.
7. Avoid sugary foods and beverages- Sugar disrupts immune cells’ function, and the effect is significant. Avoid eating candy, chocolate, sodas (soft drinks) and juices. Read labels carefully at the grocery store since many prepared foods and spreads also contain sugar.
8. Avoid fried foods- avoid junk food and fast food as much as possible. It puts extra work load on your body and depletes immune resources
9. Stop smoking- at least temporarily. Smoking stunts the cilia, microscopic hairs that throw inhaled viruses and germs out of our body. Without the work of the cilia, one is much more exposed to respiratory infections. Stopping to smoke will reactivate the cilia and add to your protection.
10. Use spices that are anti-inflammatory and support immune function such as turmeric, ginger, oregano, garlic
11. Take Vitamin C- it was shown to reduce severity of Influenza infections, and it is completely safe to use. 2000 mg per day in 2 divided doses is a frequently recommended dosage
12. Vitamin D- if you have low vitamin D levels, taking a supplement is important for your immunity. For personal advice of dosages please contact your family doctor.
Taking these measures can help you support you immunity, and go through this period with more confidence in your body’s ability to protect itself from invaders.
Be well and take care!
Dr. Nir Brosh M.D.