STRENGTHEN YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM TO DEAL WITH COVID 19
Recent blogs have focused on helping us, and our kids, cope with COVID 19. What can we do to help our immune systems function more effectively? Some of the following may be familiar already, but a quick review and re-focus may be of genuine help ( https://theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/mar/08/how-to-boost-your-immune-system-to-avoid-colds-and-coronavirus ).
Step by step:
- Strengthen the “good bacteria” in your gut. These bacteria fight off infections, including viruses. Eat a diet that is varied and has a lot of high fiber goods. More plant foods and fermented foods can help, such as yogurt, pickles, sauerkraut, or kimchi are examples. High fiber foods include vegetables and fruits like peas, broccoli, berries, beans, cereals/breads high in bran, artichokes.
- Good skin care, as the skin is a first line of defense. Be careful with sun exposure, moisturizers and perfumes.
- Exercise mobilizes white blood cells in the immune system. General guidelines are for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic exercise (hiking, cycling, or gardening), or 75 minutes a week of vigorous activity (running, faster swimming, aerobics classes). One study found that 125 non-smoking cyclists had the immune systems of younger people even when they reached 55-79 years old. For elders, it’s never too late to begin an exercise regimen, even if it’s more moderate.
- Reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. In purely physiological terms such conditions elevate levels of stress hormones (like cortisol). These hormones impact the functioning of our immune systems.
- Limit your alcohol consumption. Alcohol reduces the immune system’s effectiveness. Drinking to provide relief from stress may give temporary relief, yes, but longer-term, larger-picture it is not beneficial. Develop alternative ways to reduce stress.
- Enhance vitamin C intake, preferably by diet, not supplements. Same with vitamin D, preferably by some sun exposure, though not to the detriment of your skin.
- Exercise and better nutrition will also enhance sleep probably. And, better sleep improves the functioning of our immune system.
- All of the above, will also reduce inflammation in the body, which has a lot to do with such diseases as cancer and coronary conditions. Reduced inflammation also enhances the immune system.
The members of IPN are experienced therapists who will support and encourage all of the above healthy choices to enhance immune system functioning. We are available by tele-health during this challenging time.
Alan M. Solomon, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Torrance, CA. A member of the Independent Psychotherapy Network, he can be reached at 310 539-2772 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright 2020 by Alan M. Solomon, Ph.D.