Our immune system relies on nutrient-dense whole foods to function well. Eating a well balanced diet that includes lots of colourful fruits and vegetables, lean forms of animal protein or plant-based proteins, wholegrain, starchy fibrous carbohydrates and small amounts of healthy fats is a great way to support your immune system and ensure that you’re getting a good daily intake of micronutrients, such vitamin C, A, B, zinc, and selenium.
Many herbs and spices have immune enhancing and antimicrobial properties, so what better time dig into your herbs and spices cupboard for additional support. Add garlic (use liberally), onions, ginger, and lots of spices (oregano, turmeric, rosemary) to your meals, or make a fresh ginger and turmeric tea to sip on throughout the day.
There are several micronutrients that are essential for immune health, but unfortunately many of us don’t get enough of these nutrients through diet alone. But even if you are getting enough, taking additional amounts of these can be a big help in preventing or fighting illness if you or someone around you is sick. These include:
Note: Please always consult your doctor or healthcare provider for individual recommendations on supplements.
We need adequate sleep for our body to repair and function at its best, so without it, optimal immune function is near impossible. Set yourself a regular sleep and wake time to regulate your natural circadian rhythm, and aim to get between seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. Reduce exposure to blue light from devices, such as phones, T.V. and computers in the evening, as these greatly reduce melatonin production which can then significantly affect sleep quality.
Working from home can mean we might run the risk of not getting enough fresh air or exercise, which is very important for our overall health and wellbeing. Aim to take a walk or run (approximately 30-45 minutes) daily or do a morning stretch to improve your mental health and get your body moving. Getting outside is also a great way to improve your vitamin D status too, which will then further strengthen your immune system. Otherwise look for workouts and yoga classes online, or fitness apps.
Now, more than even, we need to prioritise our daily self-care and relaxation to reduce stress. Use this time to try meditation, yoga, and daily journaling, bring back your long-forgotten hobbies, connect with loved ones, and listen to calming music, all to help you stay connected, relaxed, and maintain a positive mind-set.
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Note: This article is not intended to provide medical advice and any changes should be done in consultation with your healthcare provider.