COVID-19 has dramatically changed our lives in the past few weeks, creating a new way of working and living. During these times of sudden change and uncertainty, the best way to navigate the new changes is by focusing on self-care and helping those around you while following proper health precautions. It‘s also an important time to bring your health and well-being to the forefront.
Follow these tips (at the discretion of your medical professionals) to help boost your immune system:
Nutrition: Avoid sugar. It can suppress your immune system by causing inflammation and increasing bad bacteria in your gut. Instead, fuel your body with protein, healthy fats, and fresh/frozen fruits and vegetables.
Vitamins: Taking your bariatric specific (or chelated) multivitamin/minerals as directed (especially Vitamin D and C, B vitamins, and zinc) keeps your immune cells functioning well so your body can fight both bacterial and viral infections with greater ease. Please consult with your doctor or registered dietitian to see what is recommended for your individual needs.
Sleep: T-cells, which are immune “fighter cells,” get a boost when we sleep. Seven to eight hours is what is recommended per night. To help improve your sleep habits, start with a consistent bedtime each night, avoid technology at least one hour before bed and create a calming routine, such as nightly shower/bath, sipping a warm cup of tea or warm water with lemon, and reading a book or writing in a journal. Getting some sun during the day will also help you sleep better.
Stress: Life can be stressful even when we're not living through a pandemic. Given the added uncertainty in these current times, people may feel a rise in their stress level. An important component to immune system health is finding positive ways to manage stress. Limit exposure to news reports that might bring about anxiety. Reach out to a friend (safely via phone or internet) to talk about your concerns. Listen to music and do other activities that bring you joy. Practicing breathing deeply and getting exercise, especially outdoors in fresh air, can be excellent stress relievers and immune-system boosters.
Probiotics: Many of our immune cells are located in the lining of the GI tract, so the strength of our immune system is directly linked to our gut health. Probiotics (good bacteria), and prebiotics (food for the good bacteria) can be helpful for most people as having a healthy microbiota (more good than bad bacteria in the gut) can help protect us from getting sick. Taking a probiotic supplement and eating prebiotic and probiotic-containing foods, such as apples, leeks, asparagus, yogurt with active live culture, kimchi, and other fermented foods can keep your immune system strong.