With the world at a standstill, there is still a growing amount of fear and anxiety surrounding the pandemic of Coronavirus.
As a medical clinic, we can see that much of this fear is stemming from a lack of knowledge in the community. Like any challenge in life, it’s best to arm ourselves with the right knowledge so that we know how best to deal with such events.
Although Coronavirus has the greatest attention at the moment, as we move into the cooler months of the year, we will also see other virus and infections surface. These can include the common cold and flu.
For those who are wanting to arm themselves for what lies ahead, there are many natural measures that we can all implement into our lifestyles to help prevent us from becoming ill. At the basis of these measures, is building our immune systems.
How to Build Up Your Immune System During the Coronavirus Crisis
Building a strong immune system is your best defense against infectious illness and disease. Your immune health depends on the lifestyle choices you make every day. By supporting your body’s own natural ability to defend itself against pathogens, you will not only have resistance to colds and flus but to other infectious illness that comes your way.
Step 1: Have Great Hygiene
Having great personal hygiene is a sure fire way of building up your immune system this season. There are a certain number of actions you can implement into your daily routine, that will help the spreading of any viruses and bacteria, as well as keeping you healthy and strong.
- Limit personal contact (including handshakes, kisses on cheeks, touching etc)
- Wash your hands frequently (employees should aim to wash their hands when they arrive and every time they enter a premises, as well as frequently throughout the day)
- Try not to touch your face, and remind those around you to do the same
- Constantly and regularly disinfect surfaces (including doorknobs, handrails, POS systems, tables and desks)
- Disinfect water bottles and coffee mugs (especially if you use these everyday!)
For those who haven’t ever seen how to properly wash your hands, this is a great 5 step video to show you, your family and those around you, on how to properly wash your hands for proper hand hygiene.
Proper Hand Hygiene with Dr. Diana Chen | UCLA Health
Step 2: Keep Up Your Vitamin C Intake
Vitamin C which has been used intravenously to treat Coronavirus is also a number one immune enhancing vitamin.
A daily maintenance dose is between 500-1000mg but up to bowel tolerance. Loose stools are a sign of excess intake.
If acutely unwell taking up to 5000mg is appropriate in divided doses.
A good vitamin C supplement ideally should also contain bioflavonoids.
Vitamin C is readily available from fresh fruit and vegetables. Be mindful of the fact that it will reduce by 50% when cooked. Green leafy vegetables and herbs such as parsley are excellent sources of vitamin C.
Check out the diagram below with a list of certain foods that have great quantities of Vitamin C, that you can include into your diet for an increased intake
Step 3: Continue to Get Plenty of Sleep
With so much concern, you may have found it hard to completely switch off and get your regular 7-8 hours of sleep. Well, you’re not alone!
However, during this time it’s critical to get enough good quality sleep, to help support your immune system fight off infections and illnesses.
Why this is so important during the pandemic of Coronavirus, is that during a healthy sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines which help promote good sleep. These proteins and cells help your immune system to detect and destroy bugs and germs, helping your body fight off any infectious diseases.
If you’re having trouble winding down at the moment, we suggest you try the following natural remedies:
- Try a Melatonin supplement – Melatonin is a hormone your body produces normally, which signals your brain that it’s time to sleep (you can pick these up at your local pharmacy without a prescription!)
- Take magnesium 30 mins – 1 hr before bed. Magnesium has been found in studies to help quiet the mind and body, producing a relaxing effect. Magnesium has also been shown to regulate the production of melatonin (see bullet point above).
- Try a lavender room spray, body cream or scent in your room. Several studies have shown that smelling lavender for 30 minutes before sleep, can be enough to not only put your mind in a relaxing state ready for sleep, but it can actually improve the quality of your sleep.
Step 4: Focus on Eating Foods that Support Your Immune System
There are also many herbs that can support and maintain the immune system. These include the well loved Echinacea and Elderberry. Both these herbs support our immune response. Echinacea was recently cited in an academic journal for assisting in the reduction of respiratory illness for people during air travel.
Echinacea may also help reduce the duration and severity of other respiratory conditions such as sinusitis, allergies, conjunctivitis and swollen lymph glands.
Elderberry fruit has also been shown in clinical studies to help fight influenza. It can inhibit the virus’s entry as well as help strengthen a person’s immune system response to the virus.
For both of these herbs, it’s recommended to seek professional Naturopathic advice to get a personalised herbal prescription and access to professional high-quality herbs at the correct dosage. At Yeronga Chiropractic, come and speak to the wonderful Melissa for more information on your personal requirement!
Step 5: Eat a Broad & Balance Range of Foods
In times of crisis, it’s easy to opt for the ice cream container and curl up on the couch with a bag of potato chips. However in reality, these types of comfort foods will not support your immune system stay fit and healthy!
Eating a broad range of foods, such as fresh fruit and vegetables that contain good source of quality protein and micronutrients, will ensure your microbiome stays strong and healthy.
During times of sickness it’s best to cut out process and foods high in saturated fats or sugars. Such foods can include:
- High-fat dairy foods (ie. Milk, butter, cheese, sour cream, ice cream)
- Fried foods (ie. Fast foods, deep-friend foods etc)
- Baked goods (ie. Cookies, cakes, pastries etc) – we know Aidan will have a hard time putting these down!
- Processed snack foods (ie. Crackers, popcorn etc)
During this time, we should focus on feeding our good gut bacteria by providing our gut with a variety of wholesome foods. Around 70-80% of our immune system is in the gut, so keeping our microbiome healthy is super important!
Foods that are known to be POWERFUL immune system boosters include:
- Citrus fruits (ie. Grapefruit, oranges, tangerines etc)
- Capsicums (have lots of Vitamin C)
- Broccoli (supercharged with vitamins and minerals)
- Garlic (has long known value in fighting infections)
- Ginger (helps to decrease inflammation)
- Spinach (rich in Vitamin C)
- Almonds (packed with Vitamin E and good fats)
- Tumeric (is anti-inflammatory)
- Green tea (lots of antioxidants)
If you’re concerned about your health during this time or seek additional nutritional advice to support your immune system, contact us at Yeronga Chiropractic. Our fantastic Naturopath Melissa is available to speak to you about your concerns and will work in with your concerns surrounding Coronavirus to organise appointments accordingly.
- Matthias A, Lehmann RP, Bone KM. Echinacea in Health – Risks and Benefits. In: Watson, R, Preedy V (eds). Botanical Medicine in Clinical Practice. CABI, Wallingford, UK, 2008.
- Tiralongo E et al. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2012; 2012: 417267
- Golnoosh Torabian, Peter Valtchev, Qayyum Adil, Fariba Dehghani. Anti-influenza activity of elderberry (Sambucus nigra). Journal of Functional Foods, 2019; 54: 353 DOI: 1016/j.jff.2019.01.031
- 9 Natural Sleep Aids that Are Backed By Science: Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sleep-aids#section3
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