Whenever there’s a health threat, we tend to rush around looking for ways to prevent infection. There’s always plenty of information on social media, the trouble is what is accurate and what isn’t? When there’s a lot of hysteria around, it’s not easy to sort the true facts from the sensationalism. One fact remains indisputable; a healthy immune system dramatically lowers your risk of infection, whether it’s colds, flu or the coronavirus.
What I’d like to do in this post is focus on the positive, because there is good news coming out about this situation, we’re just not hearing about it because all the negative stuff is drowning it out. Humans have what it called a ‘Reptilian’ brain. Designed to keep us safe, when this part of the brain is active, we hear only the doom and gloom and filter out the good stuff. It served us well when we lived in caves, but can be detrimental to our mental health nowadays.
The best thing we can do to keep ourselves healthy right now, in addition to the hand-washing, social distancing and elbow bumping 😊, is looking after our immune system. In simple terms our immune system has self-defense mechanisms called T-cells, which actively go in search of enemies, such as viruses, and destroy them.
How to Boost Your Immune System Fast
The best way to help a flagging immune system is through diet, but that may not be the only way if you’re in need of a quick boost. In this case it would be a good idea to invest in some supplements while, at the same time, taking stock of the foods you eat. Supplements will give your immune system a helping hand, but they’re not a substitute for a good eating plan in the long term.
Supplements to Boost Immune System
Vitamin C is one of the most important immune system booster vitamins. Vitamin C has the capacity to resist infection and slow the progress of viral diseases if already infected. It does this by supporting various cellular functions of both our innate and adaptive immune systems. Our innate immune system is the first line of defense against pathogens, such as viruses, whereas our adaptive system can provide immunity against a disease already experienced, helping to protect us from further outbreaks.
Humans are unique in that they cannot manufacture vitamin C. So we have to absorb it through food or supplementation. Vitamin C is a safe vitamin as it is water soluble, and excess amounts can be excreted. 500 mg a day will be adequate for most individuals.
Zinc is a mineral that is found in all the cells of the body. It stabilizes the immune system, providing balance. People lacking in zinc tend to have less resistance to disease. Zinc can be dangerous if taken in large amounts, so limit zinc supplements to the RDA on the bottle and don’t exceed 40 mg.
Vitamin D3 (make sure it’s D3, not D2) can be formed by sunlight on the body. If you don’t get sufficient sun, a supplement of 400 IU of D3 would be a good idea. Vitamin D3 can prevent many diseases and is vital for good immunity.
Vitamin B complex is several beneficial substances under the one label. There’s a few of these such as B6 and B12. Taking a good vitamin B complex should cover all bases, although vegans need to have extra B12 as it’s not available from plant foods.
Probiotics help the digestion of food and support gut health by boosting the beneficial bacteria that live in the intestines (microbiome). Since the gut plays such an important role in our total immune system (some say 80%), if you have any stomach problems, a good probiotic may help. As probiotics are living organisms, they should be kept in a cool place. Look for those that contain Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus and Saccharomyces.
I’d like to say a word here about mental health. Being cooped up at home, especially if you live alone, can be depressing. One of the best thing’s I’ve found to do is to stop watching the news. We are getting daily updates on all the new cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) as well as the number of deaths for each country. I ask you, how is this information helpful? In my opinion all it’s doing is spreading fear and anxiety, leading to those awful scenarios in supermarket aisles. You can get updated information from better sources, for example the World Health Organization website.
Here’s a useful video which will help break any negative state, deal with depression and lift your spirits.