HOW TO STRENGTHEN YOUR IMMUNITY DURING THE CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC?
As the corona virus situation intensifies, you might be wondering: How can I keep myself healthy?
Primarily the answer lies in the Government’s advice on social distancing, hand washing, and staying home.
But beyond that what can you do to boost your own immune system?
Our Top 5 best immune boosting tips:
Diet plays a major role in boosting our immune system.
One of the best ways to stay healthy is to eat a nutritious diet. So start by filling your plate with immune-boosting nutrients. Our immune system relies on a steady supply of nutrients to do its job. So it’s really important to get a variety of different fruits and vegetables on your plate to make sure you’re taking in as many different kinds of vitamins and minerals to get your immune system ready.
For a starter dose of immune-boosting vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, try filling half of your plate with vegetables and fruits. Why not think about trying out some new recipes…. It’s a great way to pass the time, and get the kids involved too. Home economics is one of the most undervalued life skills, now’s a great opportunity for kids to learn how to cook and why we eat certain foods.
While, what you eat is a major factor. Being physically active, meditating and managing stress, and getting adequate sleep can make a major difference to how well your immune system works.
Engaging in regular physical activity is a great way to help manage stress and strengthen your immune system. In fact, research shows that "fit individuals" -- defined as those who take regular physical activity -- have a lower incidence of infection compared to inactive and sedentary individuals.
What's more, being physically active may help decrease the risk of chronic disease that could further weaken your immune system, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.
So How does exercise help?
For one, physical activity helps to flush bacteria out of the lungs, decreasing your chances of getting a cold, flu or other illness. Exercise also reduces the levels of the body's stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. Which, when high, can lower the immune systems fighting response? Exercise also stimulates the production of endorphins -- Happy Hormones as they are known. These are chemicals in the brain that are the body's natural painkillers and mood elevators. Who wouldn’t want more of these!!!
If you haven't tried mediation, now might be a good time to start. Many recent research studies have concluded that meditation may help keep our immune system functioning optimally.
Did you know that a daily meditation could slow your ageing brain??
The Stressful circumstances that we are experiencing right now can negatively affect the immune system, by increasing our bodies stress hormones. Research has shown that a regular meditation practice can lower this response.
To start meditating, simply bring your full attention to your breath. Sitting with uplifted posture may help, and eyes may be closed or open. When you notice your mind wandering with thoughts like, "What am I going to have for lunch?" come back to your breath without judgment.
Just 10 minutes a day has been shown to have a beneficial effect.
There are many good apps out there to help you get started, and many videos to choose from on you tube to suit everyone’s tastes.
Research has revealed prolonged or chronic stress can negatively impact the immune system by reducing the body's ability to defend against viruses and bacteria.
In addition, when under stress, it's not uncommon for people to engage in coping strategies such as drinking excessive alcohol, smoking cigarettes, eating a poor diet, or not getting enough sleep, which while at the time might seem like the best solution it can also negatively impact our immune systems.
If you notice yourself feeling stressed, and anxious at this time? That’s okay, it’s a very normal response to an intense situation. If we ignore our feelings they can build up unnoticed.
The first thing to do is acknowledge that it is okay to feel stressed, anxious and afraid. Start by doing the things that you know, help to ease these feelings. Reach out to those around you. It’s okay to ask for help.
Release the expectation that things should be normal right now. For example, if you are feeling stressed about providing the perfect home schooling schedule or web-based activities for your children, be assured the rest of that nation is also feeling that way!!
Flexibility is the key; staying too rigid in these strange and uncertain times will only cause you more stress.
Maintaining a sense of connection with friends and loved ones is important. Email, call or FaceTime relatives, organise a Gin and Tonic Hour with friends, the Great news is you can drink responsibly and Zoom and the children can benefit from staying connected, too.
SLEEP YOU NEED IT!!
Lastly, get some kip. Not doing so can negatively affect your immune system, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
To keep your immune system strong, the National Sleep Foundation advises aiming for seven to eight hours of sleep each night. But if your mind has been keeping you up or you simply can't get that amount, fill in the gaps with naps.
According to the NSF, taking two naps that are no longer than 30 minutes each — one in the morning and one in the afternoon — has been shown to help decrease stress and offset the negative effects that sleep deprivation has on the immune system. If that's not realistic, a 20-minute catnap during a lunch break or before dinner can help too.