Like most people all over the world at the moment, we’re starting to get used to the new normal of life stuck indoors. The initial shock of our new lifestyle has worn off and the supermarket shelves are starting to look a bit more reliable. So what changes can we make in the coming months to try and keep ourselves and our families healthy? What habits can we work on building to help boost our immune system?
10 ways to boost your immune system during a pandemic
1 Pay attention to nutrition
Paying attention to nutrition should be a priority, especially during these times. A balanced diet including the five food groups, fruit, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy, will help to maintain good health and boost your immune system.
For advice on following a balanced diet you could read this Eatwell guide from the NHS website
Personally, I’m enjoying everyone being around for mealtimes for a change. And I’m looking forward to trying out some new nutritious recipes to give us all a boost. I’ve also asked my children to come up with some recipe ideas they might like to cook for us all.
While we’re not able to get out to the shops so often these Top 10 Healthy Storecupboard Recipes by BBC Good Food look likely to be a helpful resource.
2 Choose nutrient-rich foods
Nutrient-rich foods should be essential for your shopping list. Foods such as beans, lentils, whole wheat foods and foods high in fibre are a good choice. As well as being nutritious, they can be prepared in a number of different ways and mixed with lots of other foods to provide variety.
Healthline has a list of 15 powerful foods that boost the immune system.
3 Eat more fruit and vegetables
Fruit and vegetables are excellent nutrient-dense foods that will help to keep you healthy. Aim for at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruit and vegetables count.
Brightly coloured fruit and vegetables usually contain the highest amounts of immunity-building antioxidants. Try to eat more foods such as berries, sweet potatoes, kiwi fruit, kale, grapefruit and carrots.
4 Drink plenty of water
Drinking lots of water will help keep your body hydrated. Aim for 6-8 glasses per day. Avoid sugary drinks and alcohol as much as possible as these can have a dehydrating effect.
Check out my post 9 Benefits of Drinking Water for more good reasons to keep hydrated along with 9 top tips to help you drink more water each day.
5 Maintain good hygiene
Washing your hands thoroughly and regularly is crucial advice during this pandemic. The recommendation is to wash your hands for 20 seconds using soap or an alcohol based sanitiser. This will not only help to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. It can also interrupt transmission of other viruses and bacteria that could become a burden on your immune system.
It is also a good idea to focus on keeping your house clean. Pay particular attention to door handles, phones, light switches and other areas that are touched often.
6 Avoid close contact with others or touching your face while out
Health professional advice states you should try to avoid touching your face while you are out. Touching your face can lead to the spread of viruses and bacteria which can affect your immune system.
It is also recommended to maintain a 2 metre distance from others while out. Respiratory droplets from a cough or sneeze can travel up to six feet and be inhaled into the lungs of people within range. Help protect yourself by staying out of that range.
7 Start a home workout routine
Self isolation does not mean hibernation. Exercise can boost your immunity by getting your blood circulation going and improving your strength and stamina.
Even if you are stuck at home you can still keep fit by following an online home workout program or DVD. There is so much choice out there for people of all fitness levels.
Many fitness studios and gyms are offering home workout classes with free trials during lockdown. Check out this list of 25 fitness studios and gyms offering live workouts ranging from hi intensity to dance and yoga.
It’s worth remembering that excessive exercise can lower your immunity so be careful not to overdo it. Exercise enought to break a sweat and get your heart pumping, but don’t work yourself to the point of exhaustion.
8 Get a good night’s sleep
Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep each day. Sleep is essential to help the body restore and regenerate itself. A well rested body is a healthier and stronger body.
9 Consider taking natural supplements
Natural supplements can be effective in boosting the immune system. Supplements like ginger, garlic oil, essential oils, lavender, coriander and more have healing and immunity boosting properties.
Vitamin C is the most commonly recommended vitamin for fighting colds and preventing flu. It might be worth considering taking a vit-C supplement to ensure you are getting the recommended amount each day.
Probiotics can improve your gut health and as a result, strengthen your immunity. According to Healthline some probiotics have been shown to promote the production of antibodies and could even reduce the frequency and severity of respiratory infections.
Yogurt, miso, tempeh, kimchi and kombucha are excellent probiotics to include in your diet.
10 Maintain a healthy weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is important for building a healthy immune system. Studies have shown that people who are overweight are often more susceptible to illness. By shedding your excess pounds you will improve your overall health and immunity.
With the enforced change to routine that most of us are experiencing at the moment I think it is the perfect time to introduce some new healthier habits into our lives.
By adopting some of these measures, you’ll boost your body’s immunity and start to feel heathier in general. And hopefully, when we come out the other side of this pandemic, our new, improved habits will have become a way of life.