How to Support Your Immune System During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Right now we know there’s a lot going on in everyone’s life with the pandemic and social isolation.  All of this change and uncertainty is taking lots of time and energy, and it is putting more demands on everyone right now. Thinking about this context, I wanted to share why I am not talking about boosting your immune system as we face COVID 19.

So many health coaches have been sharing tips and strategies to help you “boost your immune system” because people are concerned about staying healthy during the Coronavirus pandemic. I want to provide a different perspective.

3 Reasons I’m not Talking about How Boost Your Immune System

First, I want to make it really clear one of the reasons I’m not sharing immunity-boosting tips right now is I don’t want to give anyone a false sense of hope or a false sense of security. There is no food or supplement that you can take that will protect you from getting COVID-19 (source). The best way to stay healthy is to follow the WHO guidelines to wash your hands and practice social distancing. 

This illness is so new that there isn’t enough research to support recommending any particular foods or supplements (source).  Any information you’re seeing is based on assumptions and best guesses from research about other viruses, which may not respond in the same way as COVID-19. So, if someone’s telling you that you should be taking a certain food or supplement, remember there’s no evidence to support their claims. In fact, it seems that some medications and supplements might actually make it worse.

Second, there are things you can do to support your overall immune system effectiveness. These aren’t quick fixes to boost your immune system function. They are longer-term lifestyle changes. You can improve your overall immune system function by changing what you eat so your diet is higher in fruits and veggies and lower in sugar and processed foods. You can also support your immune system by creating routines and healthy habits to ensure you’re getting enough good quality sleep. It is also important to be sure you’re getting enough exercise on a regular basis to support your overall health and wellness. So, if you want to improve the function of your immune system you may need to make changes in many areas of your life and sustain those changes over time.

Third, people have a lot going on. They are navigating an unpredictable and uncertain situation. They are trying to create a new normal while working at home and teaching this kids from home. Making changes to what you eat, how much you exercise and your sleep requires some time and energy and focus. Many women are struggling with managing their current situation. Making big changes may be too much to expect right now. In fact, change can overwhelm our system and cause our stress level to go up. Higher stress is actually not good for your immune system. It makes it tougher to fight off any illness you might get. So rather than increasing your stress level, I would rather suggest some smaller, more sustainable changes.

5 Things You Can Do That Will Actually Support Your Immune System

As I said, there are no quick fixes that will change your immune system. You can’t make yourself more resistant to illness in a day or a minute or a week.

At the bottom of the page, you can download a great little guide with suggestions of things you can put into place to support your immune system, as part of your overall health and wellness. This is what I recommend to clients to help with their immune systems overall.

1. Get enough sleep. Create routines and habits to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Leave enough time to get a full night’s sleep. Here are some ways to improve your sleep.

2. Managing your stress. Finding ways to deal with the emotional stress of the current situation and the added pressures and demands that we have on us right now. Here are some simple strategies.

3. Eat more whole (unprocessed) foods and less highly processed foods. You should avoid any foods that produce negative reactions in your body. If you don’t feel well after eating something. If you get a headache, digestive issues, fatigue or any other reaction consistently when you eat a certain food, stop. Find out where you can find whole foods.

4. Making sure that you are getting enough water to drink. Hydration is always important for your health and wellness. Remember, this is about hydration you body. Sipping on water regularly will not prevent you from getting infected (source to dispel this myth).

5. Exercise. Moving your body helps to manage stress and support overall wellness.

These are a few tips you can use to support your immune system, but keep in mind, there’s not a quick fix. 

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