As humans, we are built to find sanity amid chaos. Right now the entire world is in a state of panic due to the pandemic known as the Coronavirus or Covid-19. Want to take charge of your mental health AND the overall feeling of wellness in these uncertain times? Build your immune system! As someone who lives with anxiety that’s what I’m going to do to maintain my health.
My approach is through the holistic practices I was brought up with as well as the knowledge I gained in my studies at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.
To be clear, I’m not claiming that these tips or product recommendations can prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure human disease.
These tips are to bring awareness to a holistic approach to increase your immunity. It’s never a bad time to build up your defenses because as the saying goes, “put on your own oxygen mask first”. The healthier we can keep ourselves the better we will be for our community and the people who may be more compromised than ourselves.
At the end of the day, I’m not giving you a magic formula. If you drink water, eat a balanced diet, find time to relax, and get a goodnight’s sleep you will always be a leg up on everyone else whether there is a novel virus sweeping the planet or not.
Some holistic ways to build your immune system during the Covid-19 outbreak, flu season, and beyond.
Drink Warm Water
Hydration is the key to life. When a virus is going around, drinking water warm every 15 minutes, without ice, is an effective way to wash bacteria down that may be trapped in your throat. If you start to feel a scratch a simple saltwater wash or try hydrogen peroxide. Just mix two parts water with one part hydrogen peroxide or use this mouthwash. Gargle, swishing the solution all around the mouth. Tilt the head back and continue gargling for 30 seconds. Spit the solution out. Don’t swallow either solution. Stay hydrated!
Cook with Garlic Cloves and Ginger
Lots of events are being canceled which means we will all be spending more time in our homes. If you are shopping for groceries, stock up on garlic and ginger. Here’s why: garlic is a popular natural remedy for a wide array of conditions. It may have antiviral activity against influenza A and B, viral pneumonia, and rhinovirus, which causes the common cold. Ginger has specific compounds called gingerols and zingerone, which have been found to inhibit viral replication and prevent viruses from entering host cells. A recipe I’ve been loving lately that incorporates both – Easy Ginger Garlic Noodles.
Drink Peppermint Tea
Peppermint is known to have powerful antiviral qualities meant to naturally treat viral infections. Its leaves and essential oils contain active components, including menthol and rosmarinic acid, which have antiviral and anti-inflammatory activity. Including a cup of peppermint tea into your nightly ritual could help significantly decrease inflammation levels which is great but most of all it will just help you chill out if you’ve been glued to Facebook news all day.
Take Herbs to Increase Immunity
- Licorice has been used in traditional Chinese medicine and other natural practices for centuries. A chewable form is an easy way to work this herb into your every day vitamin haul. Even if you’ve always hated the flavor, keep in mind, the active substances in licorice (glycyrrhizin, liquiritigenin, and glabridin) have powerful antiviral properties that can be effective against many severe acute respiratory-related viruses’ that cause pneumonia.
- Elderberry is made into a variety of products, such as elixirs and pills, that are used to naturally treat viral infections like the flu and common cold. You can find this on drugstore shelves in gummy forms, like these, which also has Zinc, a very important mineral during cold/flu season. NOTE: People who are allergic to grass pollen may have allergic reactions to elderberry.
- Oregano Oil is a popular herb in the mint family that’s known for its impressive medicinal qualities and antiviral properties.
- Holy Basil (aka tulsi) has been shown to increase immunity, which may help fight viral infections. In a 4-week study in 24 healthy adults, supplementing with 300 mg of holy basil extract significantly increased levels of helper T cells and natural killer cells, both of which are immune cells that help protect and defend your body from viral infections
Eat Potassium-Rich Foods
Potassium is one of the main minerals that help your body working the way it should. It aids in rehydration as well as keeps the pH of your blood and all the other fluids exactly where they should be. This is necessary when keeping your immune system in check during the flu season. If you are stocking up for a quarantine, add these fruits and veggies to your grocery list.
- Banana – 442mg
- Avocado – 708mg
- Spinach – 558mg
- Broccoli – 468mg
- Strawberries – 276mg
- Tomato Paste – 2455mg
- Dried Figs – 242mg
Get As Much Sleep as Possible
In times like the ones we’re in it can be impossible to fight the voices in your head caused by the uncertainty of the next few months. Two things that help me are 5-HTP, an amino acid that increases melatonin production, along with a noise machine. To build your immune system, 8 full hours of rest are vital.
Recovering fashion blogger and Founder of NYC-based creative consultancy, Hashtag Lifestyle.