Fighting COVID-19 from the inside out: Keeping your immune system healthy

Holy Cross Health and Wellness Update

It is known that one of the best ways you can fight off a virus or other illness is to keep your immune system healthy and strong, said Charlie Rowe, who recently became coordinator of Holy Cross's Health and Wellness Ministry.

She provides the following tips for fighting COVID-19 from the inside out, by keeping your immune system healthy.

Remove sources of anxiety. Stress and anxiety weaken the immune system; without them, the body is better able to fight invasion. Some ways to reduce or eliminate stress and anxiety:

Exercise. Even a small amount of exercise is beneficial. Many people find a walk in nature an especially good way to de-stress. Some use yoga (but consult with a healthcare provider first).

Meditation is helpful to some. Even a series of slow breaths will help. Simply allow a few moments to do this, and it will help the body to slow down a little.

Socialize – even if at a distance. Spend a few minutes daily on Skype or FaceTime, or even by phone, with those you would have otherwise been in more direct contact with, or with those that you simply wish you could be with. These moments can fill the gaps now left in our lives from social distancing.

Non-anxiety Inducing Entertainment. Select activities and entertainment that are not anxiety-inducing, those that do not produce anxiety and stress responses. This may be the time for lighter fare, such as comedy, when watching television.

Sleep well. Many say that they feel better if they go to bed between 10 PM and 11 PM and get up before sunrise. Others have other preferences, but it is good to consider what works well for you. Sleep is so crucial because this 8-hour period of time is when your body concentrates on healing and strengthening itself; it is important to make it as conducive to this healing as possible.

Food and Beverages. Another way to strengthen the immune system is to rely on healthy food and beverage choices. This is always important, but it should be given extra consideration now. Following are some foods that are said to help:

  • Garlic (and its relatives: chives, onions, leeks).
  • Culinary herbs

The two items above are said to have strong anti-viral (and related) properties. It is safest to use these as fresh, whole entities rather than as high-potency concentrates (the latter is best done under healthcare supervision).

  • Fresh vegetables and fresh fruits
  • Water, and healthy beverages and foods with high water content (without caffeine or alcohol)

Supplements. Certain supplements are said to strengthen the immune system. These should be taken only after you consult with your health care provider, if you can; either way, they should be used with care. They are often in their own separate section (“Immune System Health”) in grocery stores. If you decide to supplement, research carefully, select what suits your body and lifestyle, and use organic when possible. Following are a few examples.

  • Zinc (food-source zinc is easier on the stomach)
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B6 (chicken is a good source, as is cold-water fish, like salmon)

Additional resources

Be well! Charlie Rowe, coordinator, your Holy Cross Health and Wellness Ministry

Tags: Health and Wellness, Charley Rowe, Fighting COVID-19, Immune system health tips

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