The best way to prevent a viral infection is by keeping your immune system healthy. Since there's no real treatment for viruses—aside from supportive care for symptoms—a lot of you are looking for natural ways to boost your immune system.
The good news is that there are several things you can do. Many of them are free, and some involve in investment in healthy foods and/or supplements. Of course, this post is meant for information purposes only. Check in with your doctor before taking anything new!
Things You Can Do For Free:
Wash your hands.
Handwashing is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of all infections. Make sure to use warm water and soap and wash for at least 20 seconds.
Don’t touch your face.
Viruses that affect your respiratory system (like the coronavirus), enter your body through mucosal membranes, which are found in your nose, mouth, and lips. Keeping your hands away from your face is an extremely effective way to reduce your risk.
Sugar competes with your body’s ability to absorb vitamin C. The more sugar that’s in your body, the less vitamin C is allowed into your white blood cells. Ditch it, in all forms, for now.
Smoking also interferes with vitamin C absorption. If you can’t quit, make sure you’re getting AT LEAST an extra 50 mg of vitamin C per day (on top of the current recommendations).
Cut out alcohol.
Alcohol negatively interferes with your gut bacteria and reduces your immune function. Excessive alcohol consumption reduces the number of T cells, C cells, and macrophages – important structures for proper immune function. You need these cells to fight off microorganisms and prevent an infection.
Moderate exercise helps regulate your immune system and reduces your risk of infection (when compared to a sedentary lifestyle). It also helps reduce chronic inflammation and skews the immune system from what’s called a Th1 to a Th2, which not only reduces your risk of getting a respiratory infection like the coronavirus, it also reduces the risk that the infection will be severe if you do get it.
Meditation helps reduce stress, and lower stress levels are connected to better immune function. Aside from that, meditation also directly influences the immune system by increasing antibodies (molecules that help neutralize pathogens and viruses) and the number of white blood cells.
Do something relaxing.
Panic and fear increase stress hormones, which lower the number of white blood cells in your body and suppress your immune function. As a result, your ability to fight off infection declines. If you’re freaked out, get off social media, stay away from the news, and do something relaxing that helps lower your stress levels.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
Up your natural intake of vitamin C (good food sources include citrus fruits, tomatoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, strawberries and red and green peppers), avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates, keep your blood sugar stable.
Intermittent fasting triggers the body to start producing new white blood cells. It also promotes autophagy – a cellular cleansing response that helps your body detox naturally. You don’t have to go crazy, aim for a 14 (if you’re a woman) to 16 (if you’re a man) hour overnight fast.
Things You Can Invest In:
Liposomal vitamin C.
Liposomal delivery is one of the most effective ways to take vitamin C. Aim for 1,000 mg per day. Vitamin C is most effective when taken as a preventative. (If you need a good Liposomal Vitamin C supplement, send me a message).
Probiotics help maintain your gut integrity and increase your numbers of good bacteria, which help fight off potentially harmful pathogens. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a probiotic supplement. You can purchase raw, fermented sauerkraut and eat two tablespoons per day.
Bone broth and collagen are rich in glutamine, one of the most important amino acids for your immune system. Glutamine helps stimulate immune function and speeds up the healing process of an illness if you do get sick.
Increases cellular immune response and acts as an antiviral. It’s available as a spray that you can spray in the back of your throat a few times per day.
Curcumin, the main compound in turmeric, has been shown to alter the ability of viruses to infect host cells. It may also reduce the virus' ability to replicate. Curcumin works best when combined with black pepper, so choose a turmeric product or supplement that contains both.
Keep in mind that these are things to do to PREVENT infection, which means they are most effective if you do them before you get sick. Boost your immunity—and protect your sanity—by implementing some, or all, of these changes now.