The question on everyone’s mind right now around the world, is what can we do to protect ourselves from Covid 19?
Covid 19 is a new virus, which means it’s spreading fast and unlike the common cold – we lack immunity to it as our immune system has never seen it before.
With that said I think we need to be taking every precaution possible to remain in optimal health and avoid being exposed to the virus.
Here are a few things you can do that will help to protect your overall health and enhance the functioning of your immune system.
Increase your intake of fruit and vegetables.
For your immune system to function optimally, you need to be providing your body with adequate amounts of micronutrients, phytonutrients, and antioxidants. The best food sources for these are vegetables and fruit.
Set yourself a goal of including 1-2 handfuls of vegetables with every meal. Use this time as we are self-isolating as an opportunity try out new recipes and exciting ways to cook vegetables. Smoothies are also great way to boost the micronutrients in your diet!
You could also look at supplementing your diet with a multivitamin which will contain an array of micronutrients that are important for the healthy functioning of your immune system. Health by Habit have an awesome Women’s Multi that is packed with micronutrients important for our immune health, and also nutrients that support female health.
Reduce inflammation in your body by avoiding processed foods, refined sugar and alcohol.
I think we can all admit, over the last week we have all added a few extra items to our shopping trolley that we wouldn’t usually buy – purely “for emergency”. I for one bought 2 blocks of Whitakers chocolate, to keep in the cupboard “for an emergency” but guess what – we ended up eating them both within a 3-day period.
As tempting as it is right now, I highly recommend you avoid stocking up on processed foods, refined sugar and alcohol. Because let’s be honest, we are likely not going to save these foods for an emergency, high chances are that we will eat them within a few days of buying them.
These 3 food groups cause an inflammatory response in the body which keeps the immune system busy, meaning other more important issues in your body that may occur, such as bacterial or viral invaders are unaddressed. To keep your immune system on top of it’s game, I recommend you avoid these foods as much as you can.
Look after your gut health with pre & probiotics
80% of your immune system is your gut. The gut and more importantly the healthy bacteria that line the gut is what we call part of the first line of defense when it comes to our body defending off bugs. If it doesn’t do a good job and lets the bugs in that when our immune system has to work super hard to defend them. This is why it is so important that we look after our gut health. There are a couple of things you can do every day to improve your gut health.
- Eat fermented foods – fermented foods increase the number of good bacteria in your gut. Fermented foods include sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, yoghurt and kefir.
- Eat probiotics – prebiotics is food/fiber which feeds the good bacteria. Eat a wide range of plant-based foods that are high in fiber. Fruit and vegetables are the best source!
- Supplementation – Taking a probiotic supplement can help to restore good bacteria in the gut. This is especially important if you have recently taken antibiotics. Health by Habit have an awesome Digestion supplement that contains 3 different types of probiotics and also prebiotics.
Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and hot liquids. Water helps to remove toxins from our body and also helps to carry oxygen to important cells (i.e. immune cells), which helps to improve their functioning.
Aim for at least 1.5 – 2L of water per day. Drinking water is just a habit you need to get into. Make the effort to always have a drink bottle with you and sip it regularly. Also start drinking more herbal teas as they are a great way to increase your fluid intake.
Get plenty of rest and avoid stress
Cortisol – the hormone our body processed when we are stressed, heavily taxes the immune system. This is a stressful time so I totally get that avoiding stress is easier said than done. It’s inevitable that we are going to be experiencing stress right now, so the best thing we can do is take measures to control our response to it.
Think about the techniques and strategies that you can do that will help you to feel calmer and less stressed. Some examples are yoga, meditation, mindfulness, journaling, reading a book, painting or having a bath.
It is well documented in the scientific literature that, people who exercise regularly suffer fewer infections than those who don’t. However, you need to find a happy medium, as too much exercise can be stressful on the body.
I wouldn’t recommend you start anything new. Stick to the type of exercise and exercise intensity that your body is used to. Some examples include an at-home workout session, a walk or a pilates session. We are lucky that there are loads of workout videos online for us to access! YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are all awesome platforms where you find workouts to do at home.
If you don’t currently do anything for exercise, you could start going for short brisk walks outside. Getting out of the house and into the fresh air will also do wonders for how you are feeling and encourage your body to release those ‘feel-good’ hormones.