Supporting our immunity during the COVID -19 outbreak: What the professionals are saying |20 March 2020
Aside from good hygiene practices and avoiding public gatherings (social distancing) there is another aspect that is very much in our control when it comes to reducing our risk of catching infections and in helping us to recover from them as well: supporting our immunity.
This is one area that is being spoken about even more at the moment with the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) and with the recent confirmation of cases in Seychelles, we’ve rounded up some of the most important ways in which health professionals around the world advise us to support our immunity.
Recommendations are generally the same as always; healthy, high-quality, wholesome food, including fruits, vegetables and other plant-based food.
Locally accessible plant-based food include vegetables like moringa oleifera leaves (bred mouroum), tomatoes, potatoes, pumpkin; whole-grains like brown rice, oats; legumes like lentils, beans, chickpeas, peas; nuts; seeds, fruits; and plant-based oils.
Include food that contain Vitamin C that are available in Seychelles like citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit & lemon), potatoes and bell peppers. Also include food that contain Vitamin D like fatty fish (canned tuna), eggs, fortified milk and orange juice.
Also recommended is prebiotic fibre foods for gut bacteria and probiotic foods to supply the gut with good bacteria.
Locally accessible prebiotic foods include bananas, garlic, onions and whole-grains like oats, and for probiotics there is apple cider vinegar which is suggested for adding to dressings and marinades and Greek yoghurt.
The right type and correct amount of exercise has been suggested to boost our immune systems. The key here is balance – not too little but also not too much that reduces recovery.
Examples of at-home workouts include cardio exercises like walking or running in place and strength training exercises like those that are calisthenic based, for example pushups, pull-ups, stationary lunges etc.
At this time, with many gyms / physical fitness centres shutting down in Seychelles due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and being advised to avoid public gatherings, it is suggested to do at-home workouts.
We’ve all heard that stress can suppress the immune system. This is why it’s important to have in place a regular stress-management practice to help with chronic stressors.
There are many options for this, including:
- Deep breathing exercises
- Going for walks in nature or doing any other forms of exercise
- Meditation / Mindfulness practice
- Doing things you enjoy
- Talking to a family member or friend
Sleep deprivation also suppresses the immune system, making people more vulnerable to getting infections. Sleep is also important for recovery periods.
Below are a few habits that can help us to promote better sleeping patterns:
- Put away electronic devices before bedtime; read a hardcover book instead
- If you smoke or take alcohol, decrease intake of alcohol or nicotine, especially closer to bedtime; this also includes intake of caffeine
- Ensure the bedroom is dark and quiet
References: Irish Times, The Fit Clinic, Livestrong
Compiled by F.P.