If you’ve been paying attention to the news you know coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 respiratory disease, is spreading at a remarkable rate. As someone who travels frequently, I’ve had to postpone my own upcoming travel plans in the interest of protecting my health and the health of others. Even with a self-proclaimed “immune system of steel” I am, like many of you, rightfully worried about contracting this new virus.
The reality is, many of us will come into contact with this virus, but we can lessen its impact on our bodies by giving our body what it needs to be strong and healthy. The best offense to a virus outbreak like this is a strong immune system so that you can fight off whatever comes your way.
Being healthy is my #1 priority and I take it very seriously. I’ve done a lot to invest in my overall health and wellness, which has resulted in me being illness free for years despite my extensive travels. My improved health is a direct result of taking a more holistic path and being very mindful of what I put into my body and how I treat my body.
Here are 5 ways to help you naturally boost your immune system!
1. Consume immune-boosting foods, teas, herbs & supplements. Here are some of my favorites.
What you eat on a routine basis sets the stage for the health outcomes you will experience now and as you age. Now more than ever, it is super important to fill up on healthy whole foods that are nourishing to your body when you are counting on your immune system to protect you from a contagious disease. Fruits and vegetables will be your body’s best friend right now. Avoid unhealthy junk foods as much as possible. Remember: Food can be your medicine or your poison. Please choose wisely.
- Elderberry: You can consume elderberry in many forms (gummy vitamins, syrup, capsules, dried) and it’s been revered for its immune-strengthening properties.
- Echinacea: Sip on some echinacea tea to keep your immune system at ease.
- Ginger root: I love ginger in all its forms and it has so many healing benefits. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory and immune system powerhouse that has a naturally occurring bioactive ingredient that lowers the risk of infections.
- Garlic: Long used for aiding in recovery from sickness, garlic has many potent medicinal properties & health benefits. It is known for boosting the immune system and helping the body fight off sickness & preventing it altogether. Add as much garlic as you can stand to your soups, stir-fries, chilis, and pasta sauces and wherever you can sneak it in!
- Turmeric: This bright amber spice is another one with incredible health benefits! It has been used for thousands of years as a medicinal herb and is known for its potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. I love sipping on Turmeric + ginger tea. Turmeric is also available in supplement form to provide a more concentrated punch.
- Cinnamon: Load up your steel-cut oatmeal with cinnamon, nutmeg, and other warm spices. Not only are you getting the healthy fiber from oatmeal, but the immune-boosting properties of cinnamon!
- Zinc: Zinc is a critical trace element needed for healthy immune function and a significant number of other bodily functions. Supplementing with zinc should be part of your daily regimen as most of us struggle to get all of the vitamins and minerals we need through our diets alone. A lack of zinc can make a person more susceptible to disease and illness. (Source: Medical News Today)
- Vitamin C: Most of you know Vitamin C is linked to preventing illness. It’s a powerful antioxidant that boosts the immune system by keeping your cells safe from harmful free radicals and boosting the production of disease-fighting white blood cells. Pineapples, berries, citrus fruits, mango, and melons all have high sources of vitamin C.
- Green Tea: Drinking green tea on a regular basis is great for overall health. The powerful antioxidants called polyphenols in green tea help protect the body against viruses, infections, and sickness. Add fresh lemon, ginger, and local honey to your green tea for an immune system boosting powerhouse!
You may be surprised to know that sitting with yourself and giving your brain a much-needed break could actually help you stay healthy. Meditation’s positive impact on the body is even being studied by the National Institute of Health and other research institutes around the world. Meditation helps you avoid or redirect stressful energy. Stress wreaks havoc on your immune system. By meditating and doing breathwork, you can reduce the impact of stress on the body during a critical time.
Read more about how meditation helps your immune system. It’s time to sit down, close your eyes, relax and zen your way to good health.
3. Staying Active:
While experts are advocating for social distancing and isolation, our natural impulses to Netflix & chill may take over. However, staying active is the best thing to keep your immune system working optimally. Our lymphatic system needs movement to work properly and remove toxins from our bodies. Instead of going to the gym, opt for more solo outdoor activities like long walks, jogging, yoga, hiking and spending more time in nature while giving your body and mind the boost it needs.
4. Staying hydrated:
Many of our body’s important functions rely on us being properly hydrated with water. Our lymphatic system, which plays a key part in immune health, is no exception. Our lymphatic system needs water to produce lymph fluid which is key to keeping your body free of toxins and infection. (Source: Live Well with Unity Health)
Now is definitely not the time to slack on your sleep. Lack of sleep impacts your immune system (and other bodily functions) in serious ways. Think about the times when you’ve burned the candle at both ends for extended periods of time, you probably also found yourself saddled with some random cold or virus at some point. A worn-down body is a body begging for infection. Your body needs sleep to fight infectious diseases and a lack of sleep can extend the time it takes you to recover if infected. Prioritize your sleep above all things and make sure you are getting the recommended 7-8 hours per night.
Be like Nosey & Dojo and get your SLEEP!😆
In addition to these holistic tips, please listen to health officials and the CDC and practice social distancing. We all have to play our part to reduce the spread of this deadly virus. While inconvenient, the quicker we self isolate the quicker we can go back to normal. Please be considerate of your community and take necessary precautions so you don’t needlessly increase the risk of transmission.
I wish you all love, light and good health in the days ahead.💛✨