In a pre-covid world, people would self-isolate with a cold, but then rejoin their normal lives once the bug had passed (even if they still had the occasional post-bug cough). However, in a covid landscape, coughing at work or school is something that might earn you a scowl, or anxiety about the potential of occasionally coughing in public – even when you’re well. To ease some of that social anxiety, here’s some health and lifestyle habits to help you or someone you know kick those lurgies faster.
Vitamin D is important in keeping your immune system ready to fight infections. When possible, get outside and soak up the sun with your family. Foods that contain Vitamin D include oily fish, and eggs, but the skin’s exposure to sun produces the largest amount in the body. If you’re not getting enough sun try taking a Vitamin D supplement.
- Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that helps rid the body of free radical waste that is produced during normal bodily functions. A deficiency can weaken the immune defences of the respiratory tract by damaging the mucous membranes that form a protective barrier against bacteria and viruses. Top food sources: all orange and dark green fruit and vegetables.
- Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is responsible for keeping the number of infection-fighting white blood cells and antibodies needed to ward off bugs.
- Vitamin E for an extra healthy immune system – this antioxidant has been known to improve upper respiratory immunity.
Iron, zinc and selenium help nourish the immune system and cells active and healthy. Mineral-rich foods include e.g. nuts, seeds, meat, fortified cereals, kale, broccoli, quinoa, and pulses. For the little people in your life you can always hide the good green vegetables in a pasta bake!
Getting enough sleep is one of the key ingredients to keeping strong and healthy. Rest is important to keep your heart and other organs functioning correctly. Try to stick to a routine as much as possible and allow yourself and your children to get plenty of rest while they are sick (even if this means they’re up a little later in the evening).
Regular exercise promotes good cell circulation, improves mood, energy levels, heart health and prevents weight gain. Kick a ball around at the local park or take an easy stroll around the neighbourhood after dinner to keep the bugs at bay!
6. Keep hydrated
Drink plenty of water – It helps maintain regularity and flushes out toxins.
7. Less Sugar
Refined sugars negatively impact the body’s defence structure. Sugars increase inflammation and damage cells. Avoid refined sugars as much as possible. To curb a sweet craving, eat more foods with protein and fats to stabilise sugar levels.
8. Minimise stress
When we’re stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens is reduced to make us more susceptible to infections. The stress hormone cortisol can suppress the effectiveness of the immune system.
Erin O’Hara combines her knowledge of Naturopathy and Science to provide an integrative and evidence-based approach to wellbeing.