Fight the Coronavirus [10 Ways to Boost Your Immune System]

Fight the Coronavirus [10 Ways to Boost Your Immune System]

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Coronavirus is harder on a weak immune system
Make sure you maintain hygiene.
Eat more fruits and vegetables.
Get enough sleep.
Do moderate exercise regularly.
Take nutrient supplements.
Use fresh garlic in your food.
Include probiotics in your diet.
Eat more flavonoids.
Reduce alcohol intake.
Practice mindfulness meditation.

For millions told to self-isolate during the Coronavirus pandemic, the shift in routine is dramatic. With change comes ambiguity. Many are resilient, maintaining a positive spirit. Those that can, are working from home, with family’s doing their best to occupy their children.  Hundreds of thousands are volunteering to help public health services.  

But what about the many that are unable to work from home and are left worrying about their future? Some governments have risen to the occasion with financial assistance, others have left the self-employed facing financial ruin and poverty. 

Millions are in health and financial survival mode. If you’re not strapped for money and can afford groceries, it’s essential to try and lead a healthy lifestyle and use your time wisely. Sitting around and moping will only make matters worse. 

It’s easy to drift towards eating junk food, drinking alcohol to drown the pain of uncertainty. Even worse, if you have the money, allow yourself to zone out on recreational drugs. Doing so, may numb the pain for a while, but long-term use will only lead to lack of purpose, productivity, paranoia and depression. Alcohol, drugs and inactivity, all weaken the immune system, which is discussed later on in further detail. 

If you’re in lock-down, it may go on for a while, but unlikely to go on forever. It’s easy to slip into conversations, moaning about what’s going on.  But complaining, won’t solve your problems. It means taking responsibility to make the best of things, by positioning yourself to survive financially, physically and mentally.

It may mean finding radical ways of occupying your time and being open to new (legal) ways of earning a living. For example, by volunteering to help public services, you may inadvertently find new opportunities. Serendipity brings about new ideas and connections with people. Perhaps join a helpline and even get paid, working from home.

What can you do to prepare your body in the fight against Coronavirus and strengthen your body’s immune system?

Coronavirus is harder on a weak immune system

It is already well documented and publicized that Coronavirus (COVID19) can infect people of all ages. But people with an underlying health condition and a weak immune system, are more susceptible to severe illness.

“Most persons infected with COVID-19 experience mild symptoms and recover. However, some go on to experience more serious illness and may require hospital care. The risk of serious illness rises with age: people over 40 seem to be more vulnerable than those under 40. People with weakened immune systems and people with conditions such as diabetes, heart, and lung disease are also more vulnerable to a serious illness”.

How Corona Virus Spreads, World Health Organization

Social distancing is essential

The World Health Organization and all governments advice on social distancing during this pandemic. Where there is a lock-down, stay at home. 

Social distancing measures are steps you can take to reduce social interaction between people. This will help reduce the transmission of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

  1. Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of Coronavirus
  2. Avoid non-essential use of public transport when possible
  3. Work from home, where possible.
  4. Avoid large and small gatherings in public spaces
  5. Avoid gatherings with friends and family.
  6. Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services

Social Distancing, Gov.uk

10 Ways you can do to boost your immune system

As a new virus, Coronavirus is different from Influenza. Scientists don’t understand what is needed to fight the CoVID19 strain. It can take one year to eighteen months to develop a vaccine. If the virus infects your body, it’s up to your state of health and immune system, to resist the effects and create antibodies.  

Doctor Irminne Van Dyken, MD has given excellent advice as to how to boost the immune system

1. Make sure you maintain hygiene.

Viruses access the body through the first line of the immune system’s defences — the skin, the eyes, nose, and mouth. Maintaining hygiene at all times is critical. Protective face-masks, alcogel, and rubber gloves are definite first measures. Often overlooked, is cleanliness at home, including your clothes. If you go outside in the vicinity of others, you don’t live with, shower, change and wash your clothes upon your return, by keeping the home clean with disinfectant, wards off bacteria and viruses. Maintaining a robust immune system also means avoiding contamination from other infections, apart from COVID19.

It’s easier to fight one battle at a time.

2. Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

The human immune system is a network of stages and pathways, and every step of this complex system depends on micronutrients. Many of the micronutrients needed by the immune system to function, come from plant-based foods. Doctors strongly advise prioritizing fruit and vegetables in your diet. 

Foods with a low nutritional value will not provide the necessary nutrients to boost the immune system to fight Coronavirus. If you need a reminder, processed foods, fast foods, refined sugar, and refined carbohydrates fall into the category of foods with low nutritional value. 

If you only eat foods with low nutritional value, your body will need to rely on the nutrients that are available in the body. If there’s a prolonged lock-down period lasting months, the body will use up its reserve nutrients. Your immune system will become weakened.

Choose your food wisely.

3. Get enough sleep

It’s easy to drift into a new routine when you’re stuck at home. If you start going to bed later and getting up later, you lose sync with your natural Circadian Rhythm, that’s sensitive to light and dark periods. 

Studies have shown, you need at least six hours of sleep a night. If not, you’re more likely to catch a virus, such as a cold. Playing with your sleep cycle can affect your immune system.

“Short sleep was more important than any other factor in predicting subjects’ likelihood of catching cold,” Prather said. “It didn’t matter how old people were, their stress levels, their race, education or income. It didn’t matter if they were a smoker. With all those things taken into account, statistically sleep still carried the day.”

Aric Prather, PhD

4. Get Regular moderate exercise

People that exercise moderately on a regular weekly basis report fewer colds. Body fitness has a significant benefit to the immune system. When you workout, the immune cells circulate the body more frequently and are more able to fight bacteria and viruses.

Don’t overdo it. Prolonged intense exercise can have adverse effects on the immune system. Ninety minutes of intense exercise can impede the immune system for up to 72 hours— that’ why professional athletes stagger their exercise periods. Recovery is essential, as well as matching your exercise rate to your level of fitness. If you’re in doubt, consult with a professional trainer.

5. Take nutrient supplements

Make sure you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals in your diet. Good quality multi-nutrient supplements should include the recommended vitamins and minerals you need for your daily intake.  Century, Wellman, and California Gold, are reliable supplement brands, to name a few.

The essential supplements related to fighting upper respiratory infections and colds are as follows:

Vitamin D 

Studies have shown that people that have sufficient levels of Vitamin D have a better chance of fighting a virus-related illness and a lower risk of upper respiratory infection. The human body produces vitamin D when the skin is exposed to direct sunlight for 10-30 minutes a day.That’s all good if you’re living in a country with regular sunlight during the Spring and Summer, and you’re not closed indoors during a lock-down. Make sure you’re taking the recommended daily amount of Vitamin D supplements.


Vitamin D – Recommended Daily Intake – US Department of Health
0–12 Months, male and female (with Adequate Intake): 400 IU (10 mcg)
1-70 Years Male and Female (Including pregnancy and lactation): 600 IU (15 mcg)
>70 Years, Male and Female: 800 IU (20 mcg)

Vitamin C

Major Studies have shown that Vitamin C can decrease the severity and duration of a cold. It is common for athletes or people that have regular, intense workouts to have depleted levels of Vitamin C. Studies have also shown that Vitamin C may is likely to have an antiviral effect and is why vitamin C has attracted interest as a possible treatment in treating the effects of COVID-19. However, make no mistake, it is not a substitute for a working vaccine.

Vitamin C does not decrease the frequency of colds in the general population, but it has halved the frequency of colds in people under heavy short-term physical stress. There is no effect of taking vitamin C in doses up to 8 grams per day after a cold has already begun.

Wikipedia

Vitamin C – Recommended Daily Intake – US Department of Health
 * If you smoke, add 35 mg to these recommended values
Birth to 6 months: 40 mg
Infants 7–12 months: 50 mg
Children 1–3 years: 15 mg
Children 4–8 years: 25 mg
Children 9–13 years: 45 mg
Teens 14–18 years (boys): 75 mg
Teens 14–18 years (girls): 65 mg
Adults (men): 90 mg
Adults (women): 75 mg
Pregnant teens: 80 mg
Pregnant women: 85 mg
Breastfeeding teens: 115 mg
Breastfeeding women: 120 mg

Zinc

Studies have shown that Zinc reduces the risk of pneumonia and colds, especially in the elderly and children. Zink is more active on the onset of a cold, within the first 24 hours. If you take the recommended levels of Zinc as a daily supplement, you will automatically be covered. The recommended amount of Zinc intake is 20 Mg per day.

Echinacea

Double-blind, random control trials, using echinacea supplements and placebos, have shown that Echinacea reduces the number of repeated colds and reduces the risk of upper respiratory infections. Echinacea has antiviral and anti-inflammatory effects and is good for the immune system in general. Recommended Echinacea dosage:
For Prevention: 2,400 mg per day
For Treatment: 4,000 mg per day

6. Use fresh garlic in your food

Garlic is known to have antiviral properties and strengthens the immune system. Studies have shown that taking 180 mg of Allicin (the active ingredient in garlic), for twelve weeks, reduces the intensity and duration of the common cold.  

7. Include probiotics in your diet

Studies comparing people that took probiotics to those that took a placebo have shown a significant effect on reducing the number of days of illness. Lactobacillus (found in both dairy and plant-based products) and Bifidobacterium genre, are probiotics, you can add to your diet.

Natural Probiotics are found in Sauerkraut Kimchi, Miso, and Natto (Fermented Soy Beans). You can also take them in supplement form.

  • Sauerkraut Probiotics
    Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi Probiotics
    Kimchi
  • Miso Soup Probiotics
    Miso
  • Natto Beans Probiotics
    Natto


8. Eat more flavonoids

Flavonoids are the most common group of polyphenols found in plants and responsible for so many of the vibrant colours present in fruits, vegetables. Meta-Analysis Reports have shown Flavonoids reduce upper respiratory tract infections by one third and decrease the sick-day count by 40%. A recommended dose of 1,000 to 5000mg per day of Flavonoids can help prevent upper respiratory tract infection.
Flavonoids can be found in tea, citrus fruit and juices, berries, apples, and legumes. One 250mg glass of green tea contains the recommended amount of Flavonoids. 

9. Reduce alcohol intake

Another thing you can do to avoid weakening the immune system and reduce inflammation is to reduce your intake of alcohol. Even better, avoid alcohol altogether.

Dr David Nutt is an English neuropsychopharmacologist specializing in the research of drugs that affect brain inflammation. 

” Alcohol is responsible for chronic inflammation, a significant factor in many long-term health conditions, from diabetes to cancer and liver cirrhosis—Alcohol can turn on your immune cells, and inflammation is the immune system’s response. Without a doubt, alcohol is the most destructive drug to the brain”.

David Nutt, Director of the Neuropsychopharmacology, Brain Sciences, Imperial College, London.

In a recent report in Drug Science, Policy and Law
Alcohol hangover: The health impact with a historic and Chinese perspective Prof David Nutt*, Yuan-Cai Liu*, Mo-Si Chen,

“It is well known that heavy alcohol consumption, like that experienced by alcoholics, can cause inflammation in the brain and can influence the immune system”.

Alfonso-Loeches and Guerri, 2011.

In these difficult times, many are isolated and feeling down due to social distancing. It’s easy to turn to the bottle, to drown sorrows, and numb the effects of anxiety. If you can’t avoid drinking alcohol, at least reduce the amount to recommended daily intake.

“It is recommended to limit alcohol intake. Intake should not exceed 10g per day for women and 20g per day for men.”

European Union recommendations for alcohol.

10. Practice Mindfulness Meditation

Regular meditation strengthens the immune system, helping to fight infection. Daily meditation practice relieves stress, improves attention, increases the immune system, and even reduces pain. 

“More than 300 empirical studies have shown a relationship between psychological stress and parameters of the immune system in human participants”.

Meta-analysis, NCBI

One study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows psychological stress increases in respiratory infection and clinical colds.  

“The rates of both respiratory infection (P<0.005) and clinical colds (P<0.02) increased in a dose-response manner with increases in the degree of psychological stress”.

New England Journal of Medicine

If we listen to the advice of the health authorities, most people will get through this pandemic. Maintain social distancing and do your best to strengthen your immune system. For those that fall prey to this predator, our thoughts and prayers go with you.

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