Boosting Your Immunity During an Outbreak
Practicing physical distancing, good health and hygiene is the best care we can give our loved ones who may have compromised immunity towards the Novel Coronavirus at the moment. This also involves an active responsibility to take care of our own immune and defense systems towards such viruses – whether it means getting adequate rest, movement, incorporating immune supporting dietary habits and more.
Yes, hand-washing can decrease our chances of spreading the virus; so do follow the evidence-based advice to wash for 20 seconds or more using soap and water, along with other preventative measures. However, read up on a few strategies to boost our health and immunity so that we can help take care of ourselves and our community better during the outbreak…
Get sufficient sleep and rest
By not sleeping enough, we increase stress and suppress our immunity. Sleep deprivation disrupts the production of antibodies and immune cells which are paramount during times of infection or inflammation. While there’s still a lot to learn about the new coronavirus, studies show that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus.
Consume immune supporting foods
The strength of the immune system varies from person to person and its ability to fight off infection fluctuates depending on many factors on a day-to-day basis – diet being one factor we have most control of. To continually support the immune system, consider adding foods such as citrus fruits, onions, green leafy vegetables, green tea, and herbs like ginger, garlic and cloves. If your immune system is already weak, it can also be helpful to supplement with key vitamins and minerals that may have become depleted. There is evidence pointing to the fact that various micro-nutrient deficiencies (such as calcium, zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C and E) can alter the immune response. The most effective way to get vital nutrients are via natural foods and whole food supplements (not synthetic). Feel free to contact us for recommendations.
Probiotic and prebiotic foods also help support the good bacteria that live in your gut, which help to fight bad bacteria or viruses. You can read more on the role of food via our blog article titled “Food for Thought & Immunity.”
Reduce Inflammatory foods
Processed foods, sugar, processed meats, certain vegetable oils, gluten, and alcohol tend to be inflammatory foods that tax the immune system. Removing these from your diet can help the body utilize its energy to improve immune function. We now know that food and the gut microbiome has many implications on long term health and disease prevention. Contact us if you’d like to learn more.
Low and moderate-intensity exercise naturally lowers cortisol levels and helps with immune function. Our immune system is designed to fight off infection and disease, and the most effective mechanisms of the innate response against viral infections are done by the activation of natural killer (NK) cells. These NK cells are known to be triggered during physical exertion. However, too much exercise beyond our capacity can be stressful on the body, so it’s a good idea not to push the body to the point of burnout at times of viral outbreaks. Call us to find ways you can get active while practicing appropriate social distancing protocols. Solo cycling could be a good way to get around the pandemic during this time. We have also listed online class packages and services available during this time.
Got a balcony or access to the sun? It’s also vital to get some sunshine during this time as Vitamin D is implicated in modulating the immune system.
Try Mindfulness Activities
Fear and panic only increases our susceptibility towards illness and disease. To alleviate our stress levels, it’s key to ensure you take breaks when you need them, engage in relaxing hobbies, call friends and family, and to employ calming or relaxing stress-reduction activities that activate our parasympathetic system such as Meditation, Yoga or Ayurvedic/spa therapies. Health Qigong has many proven immune boosting properties too. Give us a call on 077 733 7430 for free recommendations on where to start.
Nasal humming and singing is now found to be good for endogenous nitric oxide production that can improve ventilation and antimicrobial activity in sinuses.
Stay away from toxins
Toxins from cigarettes, pesticides, aromatic hydrocarbons, heavy metals, air pollution, and food additives can cause stress on the system and need to be considered for long term health interventions. Detoxification protocols can reduce toxins burden on our body; contact us via 077 733 7430 if you’d like to learn more and we will connect you to the right professionals.
Unplug from news and social media
It’s important to understand the status of the pandemic, however, too much information gathering could have the unintended effect of driving up fear and anxiety. While you unplug from the news for a while, try a mindfulness app such as Headspace or 10% Happier to help you let go. We highly recommend Sam Harris’ Waking Up app if you’d like to go deeper.
Look after your mental health
If you take basic steps to prepare for the possibility of an outbreak, you may feel a sense of relief. And for those of us unable to mobilize these efforts and are prone to panic or anxiety, there are many local organizations and volunteer services that are willing to assist: Crisis Support Service (1333), Sumithrayo (011 269 6666), National Mental Health Line (1926), Shanthi Maargam (071 763 9898). More about taking care of your mental health can be found on our article here.
Consider remote working options
Ask your employer about a work-from-home option, and if you’re a manager or founder, consider new tools and technologies for remote working, and proactively prepare contingency plans for potential disruptions. Google Business Group Sri Lanka can assist you with advice on free tools and services (contact Indu or Sajini via [email protected]). SixerVideo are providing video interviews via their platform free-of-charge during the crisis. oDoc and Ayubo.life offers video consultations with doctors, and HealthNet delivers medicine to your doorstep.
Popular supermarket chains and our health food partners such as Eat Right, Saaraketha and JustGoodness have online delivery services for your requirements. ReadMe highlights a few organizations on this article. Volunteer group CCRT is assisting with essential deliveries for vulnerable individuals who are self-isolating during the outbreak as well.
Workout at home
Exercising at home might prove to be a good idea for a while, and there are plenty of resources and apps available for you. Many trainers are also now offering online workouts during this outbreak. We’ve compiled a list of workouts on our YouTube channel too. Workout.lk also provides online home workout plans and a delivery service so you can order your fitness gear right to your doorstep.
The truth is that there’s no short-cut to building immunity – it is complex, involves many factors and is a long term process although there is a lot we can do change our resilience to external and internal stressors on a day-to-day basis. It is true that most of us find it hard to think about incorporating healthy practices when we are in a state of anxiety. But that is precisely why this state of mind is also an fantastic opportunity to see and do things differently. We now have evidence that the most at-risk population from the novel Coronavirus are those with immunodeficiencies and chronic health conditions. We can start working on maintaining a healthy immune system as a long-term goal so that when pandemics strike again, we are as prepared as possible to withstand these external circumstances. And the decisions we take now individually will also help us collectively better handle such situations in times to come.
Living a healthy lifestyle is not necessarily about extending your lifespan, but about living a better quality life at every step. Let us strive to sustain these habits we learn long after the pandemic.
Got questions on how we can support your health and wellness goals? As always, feel free to contact Workout.lk via 077 733 7430 for free recommendations and advice – from diet plans, food and workout gear delivery, health consultations, corporate programs and much more. Make sure to follow our Facebook page or Instagram as we are organizing more upcoming online virtual webinars to keep you healthy, empowered and informed.