How to Support your Immune System, now Lockdown is Over
Lockdown is easing, after many months of uncertainty and fear.
While it’s great for our mental health to be able to have the freedom to catch up with friends, it’s still wise to take precautions around our physical health. Covid-19 is a novel virus, which means, we don’t actually know what will happen once the public are in close contact with one another again.
The guidelines suggest we still socially distance by 1 metre, but photographs of beaches and pubs over the weekend, suggest the reality is different!
Psychologists have warned that the lockdown can take its toll on our mental health with reports of loneliness, fear, isolation and changes to routine all causing stress, anxiety and worry.
And it’s important to be aware that a depressed state of mind can have a negative impact on the immune system. So while we may not be able to control what goes on ‘out there’, we can all support our immunity by eating well, exercising and using supplements. Here are some suggestions:
You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘ you are what you eat’. When routines have disappeared and fear is at the door, its tempting to grab comfort food, and a little of what you fancy does no harm, as long as it’s in balance with a good basic diet. The 80/20 rule is useful – eat 80% healthy, vibrant, life-giving foods and 20% of other foods.
An easy way to get your five-a-day (or ten-a-day depending on which reference you choose!) is to eat the rainbow. Make sure each meal is colourful with fruits and veggies and you’ll be well on your way to getting a wide range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Add good sources of protein such as lean meat, oily fish, eggs, fermented tofu or lentils and some complex carbohydrates such as brown rice.
In an ideal world we’d get all the nutrition we need from our food, but with depleted soils and foods stored for long periods of time, this is hard to achieve. There;s nothing wrong with taking short term doses of supplements, particularly if you want to strengthen your immune system.
Vitamin D is a crucial part of the immune system and some people advocate increasing vitamin C levels in the body to stave off infections. Zinc is like the building block of health, so it’s worth trying that too. And if you’re still nervous about going out into busy shops and towns, you can have everything delivered to you from an online pharmacy.
You might find yourself reaching for endless cups of tea and coffee to break up your day, or even more alcohol than usual, but these can be dehydrating and make you feel even more anxious.
Three healthier options are water (you can add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for taste and vitamin C), fresh juices – this is a fantastic way to get an energy boost and save vegetables and fruits from going to waste, not to mention the incredible hit of minerals you’ll get! Herbal teas can also be an enjoyable and healthy way to stay hydrated. Lemon balm and chamomile are particularly useful if you’re feeling stressed or anxious and mint can soothe digestion.
Long term stress can have a negative impact on immunity, so it’s important to banish stress as much as you can. Living during a pandemic IS a stressful event, so don’t feel guilty for having these feelings. If it’s appropriate, get professional health – a health and wellness coach that specialises in anxiety and stress can help you work through your feelings and gain a more helpful and resourceful mindset.
Adopting a mindfulness or meditation practise can be calming and gentle exercise such as yoga or tai chi can be learned at home via videos. And make sure you carve out time for the things you love – whether it’s painting, listening to music, petting an animal or curling up with a boxset for a guilt free evening – be sure to schedule these activities into your week.