Although eating good foods does not mean you may not get sick, medical experts have said taking the steps could dramatically strengthen the immune system and improve your overall health.
Apart from food, there are other activities that can help boost the immune system these crucial these times.
1: Don’t smoke Smokers have an increased risk of catching infections and suffering severe complications from them. Smoking damages the lungs and people with unhealthy lungs have been said to have a high risk of contracting coronavirus and other infections. Smoking is also the major cause of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Hence, you might want to desist from smoking, especially at this period of increased health risk.
2:Get adequate sleep Sleep is important for health in general, and as a bonus, it may also benefit our immune function.
For instance, a study showed that those with insomnia had, on average, less immune response to the influenza vaccine, while another study in twins showed those with worse sleep had altered expression of genes related to immune function.
In another study, 153 volunteers were inoculated with the rhinovirus (the virus that can cause the common cold). It was found that those who slept less than seven hours were three times more likely to develop symptoms than those who slept more than eight hours. Again, the science in this area may not be robust, but when it comes to overall health, proper sleep helps. In times like these, you should prioritise sleep hygiene. If you’re isolated at home, that likely means more time on electronics like tablets, phones, and TVs. This may be a good time to invest in blue-light blocking glasses and to look for non-tech related activities to do in the evening, like puzzles, crosswords, or reading an actual book (not an ebook!).
3:The right amount of exercise Observational studies show that those who exercise tend to suffer fewer infections than those who do not. While those studies have confounding variables, the general consensus is that overall exercise is likely beneficial.
Stay active, but remember that now is not the time to start a new high-intensity exercise routine. If you already enjoy strenuous exercise, consider decreasing the frequency or intensity by 10-20 per cent (this is not scientifically backed but it’s recommended by some experts). Also, try to focus on home or outside exercise. Shared gym equipment, like weights and cardio machines, may be surfaces that transmit the virus.
4:Stress management While acute stressors may temporarily enhance immune functions, chronic stressors can likely diminish immune function. Worrying about job loss, financial markets and debts, or focusing on the uncertainties of the future can raise cortisol levels, which may negatively impact on immune function. While we can’t make this stressful situation disappear, we can all take measures to control our response to stress.
Meditation, mindfulness exercise, and getting outside and going for walks are all examples of activities that can potentially lower blood pressure, blood sugar, and make your days much more pleasant.
5:Drink alcohol in moderation In times of stress, some people turn to alcohol as a coping mechanism. While meditation, nature walks, and mindfulness exercises are likely healthier ways of coping, for some, they aren’t enough, and alcohol adds a little something extra for them. However, studies show a relationship between chronic heavy alcohol consumption and increased susceptibility to infections. Perhaps most pertinent for the discussion about COVID-19, some of these studies showed an increased risk among heavy drinkers of acute respiratory distress syndrome, the lung complication responsible for most of the COVID-19 related deaths. Hence, now is the time to limit your alcohol intake, with some medical experts suggesting two drinks for men and one drink for women per day.