10 Effective Ways to Boost Immune Function & Prevent Viral Infection
While the collective hysteria is building around this ever evolving Covid-19 pandemic, it is important to remember that prioritizing your health, and living in a manner that keeps your immune system functioning at the most efficient level, is always the best way to prevent infection. From the 3.5% of cases worldwide that died as a result of the virus, more than half had a comorbidity. Hypertension being the most common, followed by diabetes and coronary heart disease. All of which are lifestyle diseases. Meaning, focusing on whole body health, regardless of Covid-19, is an intelligent and responsible way to ensure that you and your loved ones are protected against all bacterial and viral pathogens to the best of your ability. Here are 10 simple (and mostly free) things to implement for good general health, prevention of comorbidity and robust immune function.
FASTING – A daily fasting window of 12-18 hours will promote autophagy, a normal physiological process with abundant health benefits. From the Greek word “auto” (self), and “phagy” (eating), it promotes the destruction of cells that are infected by foreign pathogens. ⠀ ⠀ SLEEP – T-cells and certain proteins called cytokines are released by the immune system while you sleep. 8 hours per night increases your immunity to the common cold by 32%, vs. those who get only 5 hours.⠀
DIET – The foods we consume modulate our immune system in a myriad of ways, and have the ability to efficiently reduce the risk of infection. All forms of sugar, vegetable and seed oils, alcohol and refined carbohydrates can reduce eicosanoids that alter hormonal signaling to the immune system and leave us exposed and at risk.⠀ ⠀ SUNSHINE – Sunlight promotes regulatory T-cells that defend the immune system against pathogens. UV light triggers the production of vitamin D, which helps us uptake essential nutrients and promotes proper signalling of the immune system. ⠀ ⠀ MOVEMENT – Exercise elevates T-cell and NK cell production, increases circulating neutrophils and monocytes and reduces lymphocytes.⠀ ⠀ STRESS MANAGEMENT – Chronic stress dysregulates immune function through pro-inflammatory responses. Diet, sleep, sunlight, movement and fasting don’t do a damn thing if your stress levels are chronically elevated. ⠀
BOOZE – One of the more significant effects of alcohol is how it compromises the structure and integrity of the GI tract. Your gut wall houses 70% of the cells that make up your entire immune system. Consumption disrupts the delicate environment required for the survival of these cells and the necessary microbes that communicate with them.⠀ ⠀ SUPPLEMENTATION – Proper immune function requires adequate macro and micronutrients like protein, fat, vitamins A, D, E, K, B6, B12, folate, selenium & zinc. Ensure that any deficiencies are remedied through diet & supplementation.⠀ ⠀ HYGIENE – Wash your hands well and often (for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water). ⠀ DON’T TOUCH – Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth and any other entry points 🙈 before washing up!
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