Coronavirus is causing a lot of panic among individuals worldwide. While it is of the utmost importance that you contact your health provider anytime you feel like you may be showing symptoms, there are things you can be doing in your everyday life to make sure your immune system is running to the best of its ability.
Besides the recommended social distancing and working from home policies that our governments are implementing, positive immune responses to our lifestyle choices can be essential to staying healthy. First and foremost, making sure that you’re getting enough sleep every night is always one of the most important things you can do for your health. Without sufficient sleep, your body makes fewer proteins called cytokines. According to a study performed by the Sleep Foundation, cytokines target infections and inflammation within our bodies, they’re also produced and released during our sleep cycles.
One of the other most important aspects of our lives that greatly affects our immune systems is our diet. Excessive amounts of sugars and fats can cause gut imbalances that result in autoimmune problems and digestive issues. Ensuring that you are eating a good amount of probiotics daily will also guarantee that your gut has more good bacteria in it than bod. The bacteria in your gut is responsible for breaking down and destroying any foreign bodies that don’t belong in your digestive system.
Speaking of digesting and diet, intermittent fasting has been taking over the world as of late, and it actually can help reset your immune systems.
“Fasting for three days (having nothing but water) could essentially reset the immune system. Holding off on eating for at least 16-18 hours after your last meal allows your body’s attention to become “focused on the current immune cells, recycling them and getting rid of the damaged cells. This means that during the fast, your body is running lean and mean with its white blood cells,” said Dr. Valter Longo of the University of Southern California.
It’s important to note that any sort of fasting does also pose major risks, and it should only be done if you’re already healthy.
Mental health can also take its toll on our bodies immune responses, especially in terms of stress. During a worldwide pandemic where there’s constant updates on the severity of our planet’s situation, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. Make sure you’re taking time everyday to disconnect from the digital world and do something productive that doesn’t involve electronics, such as cooking, cleaning, organizing your photo collection, etc.
Stress has also been proven to cause inflammatory responses within the body, which can leave you more vulnerable for catching any sort of illness. Mindful practices such as meditation, yoga, and positive affirmations all greatly reduce stress and allow you to focus on your breathing and ability to remain present.
Stress also depletes your bodies natural production and absorption of the vitamins we intake daily, so consider taking some supplements to help further boost your immune responses. Vitamins C, B, and D, as well as zinc all greatly support your immune system and prevent infections and inflammatory responses within the body. Taking these daily gives your body the extra kick it needs to remain healthy.
Pay attention to the news enough so you know what’s going on and what new law policies are being passed for the time being, but be sure to disconnect from it all and take a minute to just be with yourself. Eat healthy, get plenty of vitamins, and of course, keep yourself as hydrated as possible before settling in for a night of peaceful sleep.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.