Since March we have been told to use hand sanitizer, wash our hands, wear a mask, stay 2m apart all to protect us from Covid-19. One thing I have noticed though is the government have not been telling us how to boost our immune systems to give our bodies a fighting chance.
Someone with a weakened immune system is likely to be more vulnerable to passing bugs than someone with a healthy one. Unhealthy habits such as poor diet and lack of sleep can weaken the immune system leading to more colds and illness. That is not only fact but also common sense.
So in a pandemic, instead of pushing for a vaccine, why not make people’s immune systems stronger? Or both?
I am not saying this will ‘win the battle’ but it will substantially help those who get Covid have a better fighting chance to reduce symptoms or recover quicker or even both. I am also not saying there isn’t any information out there either but it’s far and few between and it’s good to have as much information out there to read as possible.
So how is it we can boost our immune system to make it as strong as we possibly can?
Firstly food. The food we consume plays a major part in our immune system. There is loads of research that explains how certain foods can boost your immune system. They contain things like antioxidants and vitamins.
The foods with that will best boost your immune system are;
Blueberries –They contain flavonoids which are a type of antioxidant that can help reduce damage to cells and boost your immune system. They are riddled with various vitamins so a handful of these are day are going to amazing for the body.
Garlic– Not just an old wives tale believe it or not. Garlic has antiseptic and antifungal properties and contains nutrients including vitamins B1, B6 and C, iron and phosphorus. It can also help speed up recovery once a cold sets in, reducing the duration of a cold by up to 61% studies have found! Which is insane. I usually add a teaspoon of Lazy Garlic or 1 whole clove (be clear that is 1 segment not an entire bulb) whilst cooking. It adds great flavour to any dinner.
Almonds– I am not a great fan of whole almonds but ground almonds instead of flour go down a treat in my house. Almond is a highly nutritional nut and a rich source of vitamin E, calcium, phosphorous, iron and magnesium. It also contains zinc, selenium, copper, and niacin. Compared to all other nuts, they are richer in nutrients and beneficial components. Although not rich in Vitamin C the vitamin E gives great support to the immune system too.
Broccoli– I don’t even know if I need to give you the facts on this one. Broccoli is one of the best vegetables you can have! It is absolutely packed with Vitamin A, C and E and so many minerals too. I try to always do roast, slow cooker meals or meat meals with a side of broccoli.
If you’re new to this sort of thing those are 4 staple items you can easily take on board. There are lots of different ways to eat each of them too. Remember you to incorporate these regularly into your diet. One handful if blueberries once isn’t going to do much.
Secondly exercise. If you’re a bit of a couch potato it’s unlikely you’re going to have amazing blood circulation. There may be other contributing factors but ultimately exercise increases blood circulation and has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Strength training, HIIT and walking/ hiking are the three that have been scientifically backed to help. Having a better circulation and less inflammation allows your body to be stronger and be able to fight infection. It’s not just about your body having the energy to fight but the physical strength.
One thing you do have to watch out for is being over ambitious and doing yourself an injury or pushing the body too hard resulting in fatigue and performance decline.
Thirdly Self care. Self-care is so incredibly important for your immune system. I learnt this the hard way. You have to take the time to stop and do something to relax you and that you enjoy. Self-care is very individual. It is not having time to do the laundry etc. It’s about taking a hour out to have that long hot soak in the bath with a book and a glass of wine, or taking that extra afternoon off to simply lay in bed and watch Netflix. It’s all about unwinding and being calm and happy and stress management, ultimately, is key. Don’t feel bad about it. I think it may have recently been more highlighted than in the past as Mental health is in the news more and more and is socially acceptable. Take the time for you whatever that may be.
Fourthly vitamins. The three best vitamins to boost your immune system according to scientists are Vitamin C, B6 and E. ‘Vitamin C is one of the biggest immune system boosters of all. In fact, a lack of vitamin C can even make you more prone to getting sick. Foods rich in vitamin C include oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, strawberries, bell peppers, spinach, kale and broccoli. Daily intake of vitamin C is essential for good health because your body doesn’t produce or store it.
Vitamin B6 is vital to supporting biochemical reactions in the immune system. Vitamin B6-rich foods include chicken and cold-water fish such as salmon and tuna. Vitamin B6 also is found in green vegetables and in chickpeas, which is the main ingredient in hummus.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body fight off infection. Foods rich in vitamin E include nuts, seeds and spinach.’- Cleveland Clinic
Unless you are not eating your 5 a day you don’t really need to supplement Vitamin C apparently. The general advice is ask a Dr if you need to supplement it.
These are the top things you can do to boost your immune system that have hundreds of thousand of scientific research behind them. They are also the four easiest things you can do that really do not have to cost the earth.
I am not a scientist and this research is easily found in books and online and is widely accessible to all.
Fingers crossed the majority of us do not get Covid, if you have it, I wish you a speedy recovery and if you’ve had it I wish you do not get it again.
Sending lots of well wishes !