Most of the guidance that the government and the news media send out to the public is to wash your hands and practice ‘social distancing’. Both of those ideas are good ones to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus. But they are incomplete. Your immune system and it’s health could be the most important factor. Especially for the elderly. The Government’s advice ignores some of the most important actions you can take to protect yourself and your family.
How to Strengthen Your Immune System.
If you read the analyses of people who have died from the Coronavirus, they cite two high risk factors:
- Advanced Age
- Underlying conditions (other illnesses)
Although there is nothing you can do about advanced age, that doesn’t seem to be as much a risk factor as the underlying conditions. There are lots of stories of very old individuals (90+ year old’s) making a complete recovery. And there are lots of stories of young people with underlying conditions succumbing to the virus.
Here are some simple things you can do to improve your immune health while you ‘social distance’ or ‘shelter in place’ at home. For more tips on foods that can help with your immune system, check out our blog post on nutrient dense foods.
1. Step Outside
Fresh air can act as a natural disinfectant and can kill viruses. Sunshine and your skin combine to make Vitamin D which is a big virus fighter. During the Spanish Flu in 1918 hospitals became overwhelmed and many patients were housed in tents outside. Those that were brought out in the sun every day suffered only a 13% rate of death versus a 40% rate for those in a hospital.
Your body needs sleep to restore and regenerate. During sleep your immune system releases proteins called Cytokines. Cytokines help you fight off infections and inflammation. Your body also doesn’t produce as many antibodies and infection-fighting cells when you don’t get enough sleep. Lack of sleep also contributes to the appearance of many ‘underlying conditions’ such as obesity, heart disease or diabetes. Strive for 8 hours of deep, restful sleep a night.
3. Consume Immune System Vitamins
Besides Vitamin D from sunshine, it’s important to make sure your immune system receives the fuel it needs to operate at peak efficiency. Here are some Vitamins that can really help:
Cod Liver Oil is the best source. You can also put Vitamin A in your body with eggs, orange and yellow vegetables and fruits, broccoli, spinach and leafy vegetables.
Most people think of Citrus fruit for Vitamin C. Definitely one source. Kiwis and cantaloupe in particular. Just avoid fruit drinks which are full of sugar. Other sources include broccoli, cauliflower, kale, peppers, sweet potatoes and tomatoes.
Green, leafy vegetables (starting to see a trend here?), fruit, nuts and seeds, seafood (salmon and mackerel), and legumes (beans, chickpeas).
Shellfish such as oysters, crab, shrimp. Meat, especially beef liver. Other meats include beef, lamb and pork.
A multivitamin can also help with these vitamins and minerals. If you are taking a Vitamin D supplement, try to have Vitamin K with it.
Working on your immune system is one of the best things you can do to help defeat the Coronavirus. And it gives you something to do when you’re locked in your home! For more tips from experts on how to strengthen your immune system, check out our free eBook at ProtectMySenior.com.