HOW CAN I BOOST MY IMMUNE SYSTEM ?

Fears about coronavirus are obvious and have ignited all kinds of online searches. Unfortunately, plenty of misinformation is circulating on the matter, specifically about how to strengthen the immune system. We’ve compiled for you what you should know, what works, and what doesn’t.

ABOUT THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

Our immune system is a complex network of cells, organs and tissues that work together to protect the body form infection. If genetics play a role, we know today that the strength of our immune system is mostly determined by factors that are not inherited: the germs we are exposed to over a lifetime, lifestyle factors such as stress, sleep, diet and exercise all play a role. So, to make it short, there is no magic pill or a specific food that can guarantee to boost your immune system or protect you from the new coronavirus. However, there are ways you can take care of yourself and give your immune system a chance to do a better job against a respiratory illness.

LOWER YOUR STRESS

Constantly worrying about the coronavirus, the economic crisis and the general problems of life is adding to your stress level, and we know that stress can make someone more susceptible to respiratory illnesses. The less you stress, the less likely will you be to develop flu symptoms, as your body will do a better job fighting off illnesses. To help you with that, you may want to learn techniques such as meditation or controlled breathing.

IMPROVE YOUR SLEEPING HABITS

A healthy immune system CAN fight off infections. A sleep-deprived immune system won’t work as well. Short sleepers (less than 6 hours a night) are more likely to catch a flu than those who sleep more than 7 hours a night. The less you sleep, the higher the risk. In order to improve your sleeping habits, start by sticking to a regular bedtime and wake-up schedule. Also, before sleeping, avoid screens, night-eating and exercising.

CHECK YOUR VITAMIN D LEVEL

Some promising research suggests that taking a Vitamin D supplement could help your body fight off respiratory illness. Why ? Simply because our body needs adequate Vitamin D to produce antimicrobial proteins that kill viruses and bacteria. If you don’t have the adequate level of Vitamin D in your body, you will be more susceptible to infection. Vitamin D can be found in fatty fish such as salmon, and in milk. Also, our Vitamin D levels tend to be influenced by sun exposure, skin tone and latitude.

AVOID EXCESSIVE ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION

Numerous studies have shown a link between excessive alcohol consumption and immune function. People who drink in excess re more prone to develop respiratory illness and pneumonia. Not only does alcohol alters the number of microbes in the gut micro-biome, it also damages the lungs ad the mucosal immune system.

EAT A BALANCED DIET AND SKIP UNPROVEN SUPPLEMENTS

A healthy diet and exercise are key to maintaining a strong immune system. Common foods known for their immune-boosting properties are : garlic, ginger, citrus fruit, turmeric, oregano oil and bone broth. However, strong evidence of that is lacking. Zinc supplements re also a popular remedy for fighting off colds. But overall, there are no scientific proofs supporting that any supplement helps.

Always remember the basic and proven health advice like washing your hands frequently and not touching your face.

Source: New York Times

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