By: Monique Danae, HNC | March 16, 2020
Chances are you are looking for ways to build up your immune system & not catch the latest virus (*cough cough* COVID-19).
OR maybe, you have been emotionally, mentally, or physically stressed & now you are SICK, fighting some type of cold, virus, or allergy
- Manage your Stress & Anxiety. Did you know that higher levels and duration of stress actually suppress your immune system? Find a video that makes your laugh, call a person that makes you smile, read a book, take a deep breath, call your therapist, pray, etc.
- Get plenty of sleep. not too much. not too little. Adults should aim for 7-8 hours a night. Go to sleep early. Take a 90 minute nap during the day.
- Get some fresh air & stop smoking.
- Limit sugar, junk food and alcohol intake
- Use a neti-pot/nasal irrigation with warm salt water
- Practice good hand hygiene: Wash your hands with soap and water (or hand sanitizer). Cough & sneeze into the crook of your elbow to protect others from infection.
“The ten worst sources of contagion are our fingers”– Mayo Clinic
Herbs & Oils
- Echinacea is great for use at the first sign of a cold, flu, or other infection. It activates your immune cells, kills bacteria, and interferes with the spread of the virus in your body.
- Oregano & thyme helps to open airways, disinfect and stimulate healthy digestion.
- Diffuse or apply eucalyptus, peppermint, chamomile, ginger and lemon oil
- Treat throat symptoms with slippery elm, marshmallow, plantain, honey, echinacea, goldenseal, oregano, cayenne in your tea, soup or throat sprays.
Foods & Fluids
- Focus on drinking lots of water, tea, broth, and soup
- Eat cooked kale, broccoli and berries
- Carrots, sweet potatoes, calendula, winter squash — orange-colored, vitamin A, rich foods support immune and mucus function.
- Avocado, nuts, seeds, wild salmon — healthy fats actually decrease inflammation and support the immune cells
- Vitamin C … but you already knew this!! — Citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers & even hot peppers
- Garlic, onion, ginger, hot peppers, oregano, thyme — these pungent aromatics & herbs help to improve the flow of mucus and enhance digestion for the elimination of pathogens
- Yogurt, miso, kefir, kimchi — these fermented foods provides helpful bacteria and stops the pathogens from feeling so welcome in your body
- Medicinal mushrooms (Shiitake, Reishi, Chaga) help to strengthen immune function, provide anti-inflammatory properties and some even improve lung function. It is best to cook these. I recommend adding them to broths, soups & stews.
- Elderberry/elderflower is a natural antihistamine that helps to relieve cold, viral/flu, and allergy symptoms. I recommend making a virus-fighting elderberry syrup with honey, ginger, and cinnamon or checking out Zarbee’s products.
- Exercise regularly! If you are feeling sick, aim for low-impact, low-intensity aerobic exercising like brisk walking. If you are feeling well, great! Keep up a routine of aerobic and resistance training to keep your immune functioning optimally.
Please don’t be afraid to reach out to one of the following professionals if you have persistent concerns and individual questions regarding this topic: Primary Care Physician, Registered Dietitian, Licensed Health Care Professional, etc.