You might think the pandemic has ended by the way many people behave. However, threats remain for many, including the unvaccinated and the immunocompromised.
Even if you are otherwise healthy, the novel coronavirus isn’t the only germ against which you need to protect yourself. Please follow these eight immune-boosting hacks as society reopens.
1. Eat a Healthy Diet
A plant-based diet rich in antioxidants and other vital nutrients is your best bet for providing your body with the requisite building blocks for ongoing health. The phytonutrients contained in plants neutralize toxins from pollution, bacteria and viruses.
You don’t have to live on salads alone, however. Increasing your seafood intake is ideal for getting more omega-3 fatty acids, also critical for cardiovascular and neurological health. Heart disease remains the number one killer of men and women, and this organ often becomes inflamed in those with severe COVID-19 infections requiring hospitalization.
You can cut your risk of dying from heart disease by a third by eating fish twice a week. You’ll also get plenty of lean protein for rebuilding damaged tissue.
2. Move Your Body
Exercise helps boost your immunity in several ways. Physical activity helps to flush bacteria and viruses out of your airways before you can get sick. Furthermore, the rise in body temperature you experience during a workout could restrain any germs from proliferating and making you sick.
Additionally, exercise causes changes in your antibody levels and white blood cell count. While researchers need further data, these alterations could boost your immune response.
Finally, working out keeps your levels of stress hormones in check. Excess cortisol can fuel inflammation, and controlling it through exercise may benefit your immunity.
3. Take Your Vitamins
You might have heard that you should take vitamin C or zinc supplements to reduce your chances of getting sick. This method does work, but when you take your dose matters.
For best results, take your supplements at the first onset of infection. Doing so won’t necessarily keep you from getting sick, but it can shorten the duration of your illness by as much as a day.
4. Go Outside More Often
After spending much of the past year indoors, you might be chomping at the bit to return to outdoor adventures. Fortunately, the CDC revised their advice on mask-wearing outside even before issuing new guidelines for vaccinated people. Relatively few cases of transmission occur in the fresh air.
Getting back to nature might help boost your immune health. Researchers investigated participants in the Japanese practice of forest bathing. They discovered an increased number and activity in natural killer cells, a type of immune cell responsible for fighting infection.
5. Maintain Proper Hygiene
Cases of the flu all but disappeared during COVID-19. Part of the reason stemmed from people staying in more often. Another explanation is that fewer people sought emergency care out of fear of contracting the novel coronavirus.
However, much of the change arose from improved hygiene practices. Please continue singing “Happy Birthday” twice as you lather up your hands after you might have exposed yourself to germs. Carry hand sanitizer on your keychain for those instances where you don’t have a sink handy.
6. Reduce Your Exposure
If you take certain medications that lower your immune response, you might not react to the COVID-19 vaccine as effectively as others. As a result, you could face increased risks if exposed to the virus.
While it isn’t a foolproof method, try limiting your exposure to short periods in enclosed public spaces or crowds. It only takes one germ, but the less time you spend swimming in a sea of them, the better. Likewise, no rule says you can’t continue to wear a mask while you go grocery shopping — doing so might offer protection against bugs besides the novel coronavirus.
7. Decrease Your Stress Levels
When your stress levels increase, your cortisol also rises. This hormone works to combat inflammation when it functions as it should. However, when you live under prolonged tension, you can develop cortisol dysfunction resulting in widespread inflammation.
The result on your immune system is akin to having multiple “fire alarms” going off at once. Your body doesn’t know what to battle first, meaning that germs can slip past your defenses.
8. Get a Good Night’s Rest
Cytokines are proteins that play a role in inducing sleep. However, they also increase while you rest and play a vital role in fighting infection. It’s possible that insufficient shuteye can damage your immune response.
To get your best night’s rest ever, create a peaceful respite in your bedroom. Use blackout curtains and white noise machines to shut out distractions that keep you awake. Leave your cellphone and other electronic devices charging in another room and invest in an old-fashioned dial alarm clock that won’t keep you awake with a neon glow until 3 a.m.
Please Use These 8 Immune-Boosting Hacks as Society Reopens
Even if you are fully vaccinated, the novel coronavirus isn’t the only germ against which you need to protect yourself. Please use these eight immune-boosting hacks as society reopens.
Kara Reynolds is the Editor-in-Chief and founder of Momish Magazine. Mom and step mom living her best life while managing anxiety and normalizing blended families. She enjoys pilates, podcasts, and a nice pinot grigio.
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