Boosting Immune Function!
Obviously with the current Covid-19 virus effecting thousands of people, staying healthy is at the front of many of our minds. So, what can we do to try to prevent illness or shorten the time frame if we do get it?
First and foremost, sleep! Sleep is when your body rests and repairs itself. With less activities on our plate we should be using some of the extra time on our hands to get plenty of rest. Outside of the recommended 7-9 hours I would encourage you, that if you have the ability to right now, use the this at home to determine what YOUR sleep number is. I’m not talking about the firmness of your mattress but rather about the amount of sleep your body needs to function optimally. Set a specific bed time every night and then do not set an alarm in the morning. Then see on average over a week or maybe two, how long you naturally sleep. Then record how you feel during the day as well. Are you more energized, do you have less cravings, is your mood more even keel, do you have less aches and pains? Use this knowledge when you do have to get back to a normal routine, and I assure you that day WILL come, to try to incorporate getting your optimal amount of sleep. Now, I realize this method is not applicable to everyone right now as some of us do still have to go to work every morning. But, you too can still use the free evenings to make sure you're going to bed earlier and getting at least 7-9 hours.
Increase your nutrients! In order to combat disease, of any sort, your body needs specific nutrients in sufficient amounts to fight off viruses and disease. This means increasing your fruits and vegetables from real, whole food options. This will automatically boost your immune system by getting more vitamins and minerals into your body. This is how your body can naturally fight off any virus or disease.
Supplement. While increasing your fruits and vegetables is ideal, we can’t always get all that we need from diet alone. Supplementing with extra vitamin C and vitamin D3 will help with boosting immune function. Vitamin C supplements in the range of 500-1000mg/day would help ward off viruses. Ideally having your Vitamin D levels checked prior to supplementation would be great for appropriate dosing. Blood levels should be above 30ng/dl but most experts say optimal levels are 50ng/dl or above. When choosing a good source of Vitamin D3, look for one that contains vitamin K2 as well for optimal absorption. Vitamin D helps increase calcium absorption but vitamin K helps tell the calcium where to go. However, if you are on a blood thinner you need to consult your physician before taking vitamin K.
Keep Moving! Moderate daily exercise has been shown to increase immune system function, decrease stress and may help flush bacteria out of your lungs. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes/week of moderate intensity exercise. Or you can decrease the time by doing only 75 minutes/week of vigorous intensity exercise. Now, gyms are closed but the outdoors is not. While we need to continue practicing social distancing, we can still get outside and walk, jog, bike etc. Not only will this count as exercise but if the sun is shining you’ll also be getting that extra vitamin D you need!
Lastly, and you probably knew it was coming, limit or totally get rid of sugar and processed food intake. The primary problem with a diet high in processed foods is that it is low in nutrients. When foods are processed, they are stripped of their nutrients, leaving you feeling full with empty calories and lacking in the nutrients needed to ward off disease. Some research also suggests that after consuming sugar the immune system function lowers for several hours, leaving you more prone to getting sick.
I hope you will take these tips and put them into practice. I promise you they will be effective in reducing your risk of getting sick and/or shortening the time frame if you do get sick. I also encourage you to enjoy the extra “down time” we currently have. Spend extra time with your family, work on those long awaited “projects” you haven’t had time to do or just sit and read all those books you wish you had time to read before. We will get through this and we will be stronger on the other side of it. If you have any questions or would like more guidance feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.