10 Easy Ways To Boost Your Immune System During The COVID-19 Pandemic
Having a strong immune system is the key to healthier, happier days, but what about during a pandemic? The novel coronavirus is still here as we enter the summer season. With more sunshine, more of us will feel inclined to spend time outside enjoying the warm weather and fresh air.
While social distancing and wearing a mask/facial covering are strongly recommended (and now a requirement in many areas) due to the viral outbreak, practicing good hygiene (e.g. frequent hand-washing) and keeping your immune system in optimal shape are integral in protecting yourself and your health. Here are some simple tips to strengthen your immunity that start from home.
EASY WAYS TO BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
1. Stay hydrated
It’s important to drink enough water to stay healthy on a regular basis, and more so now that it’s summer and we are in the middle of a pandemic. Drinking enough water helps your body naturally eliminate bacteria and toxins that can make you sick.
Blood flow relies on proper hydration to circulate well and transport nutrients, cells, and more to keep the body functioning optimally. Dehydration slows this, and other, functions down, leaving you susceptible to illness.
Stay on top of hydration by drinking the recommended 64 ounces per day. Water with a squeeze of lemon, or water with a few berries thrown in, are delicious, healthy options. And the summer season is the perfect time to give our favorite fruit some love. Watermelon has a water content of 92%, so, snack on a watermelon slice or pour some cool watermelon juice to sip on.
2. Eat more plant-based and whole foods
What goes into your body plays a major role in the health and strength of your immunity. Diets high in sugar, processed foods, unhealthy fats, alcohol, and even caffeine have been shown to have negative effects on your immune system while eating more whole foods, especially plant-based foods, can improve your chances of not getting sick.
The immune system relies on antibody-producing white blood cells that fight off infections, bacteria, and other foreign objects that can make you ill. Following a plant-based diet and eating nutritious foods high in vitamins like citrus, spinach, red bell peppers, and ginger as opposed to foods high in fat and sugars directly affect the white blood cells’ ability to function and, ultimately, keep you healthy.
3. Get your vitamins and minerals
It’s widely known that citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit are high in vitamin C. But eating a piece of fruit every now and then isn't enough to stay healthy. The key to an optimal immune system is eating a balanced variety of nutrient-dense foods.
While the best way to get your vitamins and minerals is by eating a variety of healthy, nutritious foods, it may be beneficial to add supplements to your diet especially when vitamin deficiencies are present. Some vitamins and minerals that are key to a healthy immune system include the following:
- Vitamin C - sweet red peppers, citrus fruits, tomatoes
- Vitamin D - salmon, tuna, mackerel, sunshine
- B Complex Vitamin - whole grains, legumes, mushrooms
- Vitamin E - avocados, nuts, seeds, almond oil, avocado oil
- Zinc - oysters, red meat, poultry, nuts
- Iron - spinach, soybeans, lentils
4. Stay active and break a sweat
Getting movement and exercise consistently is an important pillar of a healthy lifestyle, and helps to keep the immune system in top shape. Regular fitness is encouraged by health officials because exercise has been found to boost the immune response, lower the chance of illness, and reduce inflammation. With some of the current restrictions in place, and with the fridge being a tempting destination while we're at home, it's easy to get off-track. Making a conscious effort to stay active and maintain a healthy weight can help minimize viral contractions and its effects.
Easy activity recommendations include 30 minutes of moderate exercise like jogging, brisk walking, hiking, or rebounding on a mini trampoline five times a week. Bodyweight workouts or home workouts like yoga and pilates are also great ways to incorporate regular movement into your routine.
5. Get enough sleep
The amount of sleep you get has a strong influence on your immune system. Cytokines are a type of protein that fight infection and inflammation in the body, and their peak production and release occur during sleep. Not getting enough sleep leaves the immune system weak and susceptible to a bad viral infection. Furthermore, infection-fighting T cells decrease in number when you don’t get enough sleep.
Staying on top of your sleeping habits allows the body to repair itself and be better prepared to fend off foreign visitors. Plus, it has other health benefits including improved mood and reduced risk for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. So, go ahead and get that beauty sleep.
6. Draw a bath
Taking baths is an enjoyable indulgence, but it may be a pleasant surprise to learn that bathing brings a number of health benefits, too, including improving your immune system. Baths, particularly warm baths or steam baths, relax the body, stimulate blood flow, and fight inflammation.
Drawing a bath is also beneficial when you have a bad case of the cold or flu. Steam helps blood flow in the face which alleviates symptoms including nasal congestion, sore throat, and a bad cough.
Fork & Melon makes the perfect luxurious, non-toxic bubble bath when you want to boost your health with a warm bath of long-lasting bubbles. Learn more about the health benefits of a bubble bath here.
7. Incorporate massage therapy
Massages aren’t just for relaxing. Researchers from Cedars-Sinai discovered that participants who received a 45-minute Swedish massage had significant activity changes to their white blood cells, which are vital in boosting the immune system and fighting off pathogens.
Getting a massage also increases blood flow and helps the body flush out toxins - another reason why regular massages are beneficial, and a great excuse to book a monthly massage at your local studio (when it opens).
Want to massage at home? Fork & Melon Rich Hydrating Cream is soothing for all skin types and great for relaxing tense muscles. Use it to massage into your arms and legs, or recruit your partner to rub your back and shoulders.
8. Manage your stress levels
Chronic stress has detrimental effects on your immune system and overall health. It wears down the body and leaves you prone to illness and disease. But did you know that some stress is actually good for you?
In order for the flight-or-fight mode in our system to be active and ready to go, it needs to be in use. So, what does that mean? You can’t get rid of stress, but you can manage it, which can improve the way you sleep, reduce your cortisol or stress hormone levels, and strengthen your immune system.
Connecting with loved ones, participating in hobbies, and practicing meditation/prayer are mindful habits that can help keep your stress levels low.
9. Get fresh air and soak up the sun
It's been rough staying inside for so much of this year. A lot of us have been cranky, feeling down, or simply not feeling our best, which in many cases can be directly correlated to being stuck inside for long periods of time.
Taking time to enjoy fresh air and soak up some sunshine outside is a double boost for your immune system. Getting clean oxygen to the lungs can improve the filtration of impurities, enhance blood circulation, and reinforce white blood cells that fight sickness in the body, while UV rays from the sun help the body produce vitamin D. Don't forget your mineral-based sunscreen when you're outside.
10. Detox your skincare and beauty routine
What you put on your skin can have an impact on your immune system. Beauty and personal care products that contain questionable chemicals like parabens, sodium laurel sulfate (SLS), and "fragrance" can be toxic to the skin and harmful to the body if used regularly and/or absorbed in higher amounts.
At Fork & Melon, using clean, healthy ingredients is a top priority. Our formulas are non-toxic and do not contain sulfates, parabens, or synthetic fragrance. Our Rich Hydrating Cream For Body & Hands locks in moisture to keep your skin hydrated. It contains our signature watermelon seed oil, which is chock-full of healthy nutrients.
Taking care of your body inside and out is vital for a healthy immune system. With no clear timeline on when the coronavirus pandemic will subside, it’s best we all do our part, not just for ourselves but for those around us, to be mindful and stay healthy.
Want to start detoxing your beauty routine, draw a healthy bubble bath, or give yourself an immune-boosting massage? Shop our non-toxic hand & body care.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Our products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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