With the widespread news of the Coronavirus reaching greater implications over recent days and weeks—individuals and countries have pivoted from simply taking precautionary measures to implementing full scale blueprints for handling virus spread.
As professional sports leagues and music venues continue to cancel or postpone events—preventative measures have transformed from passive to assertive. Although the full impact of the virus has not yet been medically substantiated, we must err on the side of caution in a proactive rather than reactive manner. While some groups may consider particular measures to be overkill—history has taught us to be conscious of the unknown.
While the virus appears to be lethal to the elderly and immune deficient groups, people should take their due diligence to limit the risk of obtaining and spreading the virus at all costs. Though preventative measures do not completely ward off the virus—we must take every step possible to limit contracting the disease, both for the sake of ourselves as well as for others.
Hi, I’m Sean Torbati. Although many of us consider ourselves to be health conscious—news of impending virus attacks has caused individuals to take extra steps for limiting the spread of illness. While self-quarantine measures are the most extreme, other measures can be implemented to help boost our immunity.
Let’s take a look at some common ways we can enhance our immune systems while helping to decrease the spread of the risk of illness. While these steps are not specific to the COVID-19 Coronavirus—they can help to improve immunity and fight off potential ailments.
Have a Positive Mindset
Living in an age of digital communication and media consumption—it’s easy to become inundated with an array of media coverage on current events. While these outlets help to inform us, in excess they also can incite panic and anxiety tendencies.
During these times it’s important to stay informed, but we must also take care of our psychological well-being. One 2018 study illustrates the importance of psychological well-being on the human body’s resistance towards infection.
Having a positive psychological outlook on life helped to result in a boosting of the body’s immune system. Health metrics related to saliva, blood, and plasma all improved in individuals with a positive mindset. Furthermore, mindset played a role in improving quality of life and enhancing resistance towards infectious diseases—even in those suffering from diseases such as HIV/AIDS (1). If you feel overwhelmed or panicked due to excessive media coverage—take additional time to relax, unwind, and unplug from abundant media coverage.
A positive mind can go a long way towards leading a healthy, sustainable life.
With the ongoing media coverage, some public spaces have received a negative reputation—most notably gyms. While being around other people in confined spaces can increase likelihood of disease attainment—regular exercise can produce a tremendous array of health benefits related to immunity.
One study found that simply participating in regular exercise can help to improve vaccination response, increase T-cell count, and boost the function of natural killer cells in the immune system (2).
Furthermore, the US National Library of Medicine cites that physical activity can provide a number of health benefits which in turn can boost immunity including (3):
- Flushing bacteria out of the lungs and airways thereby reducing risk of obtaining cold, flu, or other illness
- Increasing white blood cell circulation helping to improve illness detection
- Raising body temperature helping to possibly prevent bacteria growth
- Slowing down the release of stress hormones
If walking into a public gym concerns you at the moment, there are other ways of getting regular exercise including bicycling, running, or simply going for a daily walk. The point is to simply get moving.
It goes without saying that a healthy diet is a main staple in a long and fruitful life. Following a healthy diet can also be one of the best ways of boosting your immunity naturally. Research has shown that gut microbiota has the ability of strongly affecting the health and well-being of the host.
One study found that diet has the ability of impacting gut colonization and the host expression of genes associated with the innate immune system (4). Foods high in micronutrients have the ability of potentially enhancing immune function.
On the flip side, studies have shown that following high calorie diets cause the body to react in a manner similar to a bacterial infection. Long term high calorie diets also can lead to arteriosclerosis and diabetes (5).
Wash Your Hands
The recent spread of viruses has placed an emphasis on washing hands and sanitizing surfaces. Although it seems like a trivial and oftentimes overlooked part of daily life—health experts have cautioned that not washing hands can be one of the easiest methods of spreading illnesses.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that handwashing is one of the easiest ways to substantially reduce the risk of spreading disease (6). A study performed on 20 volunteers with contaminated hands either washed their hands with just water, non-antibacterial soap, or didn’t wash their hands. The results showed that water alone decreased the presence of bacteria to 23% while soap decreased the presence to 8%.
Even though many of us may wash our hands—you might not be doing it long enough. The CDC recommends scrubbing hands for 20 seconds at a time ensuring to clean all portions of the hand (7). In times of virus outbreak, the importance of hand washing becomes ever more important. Performing simple precautions can go a long way towards the safety of the public.
What Should You Do?
In times of chaos, one must practice due diligence and take every effort possible to minimize their risk of exposure. Although some steps may initially appear to be drastic, we must all take proper precautions for ourselves and others.
Practicing the steps above can help to boost your immunity in a natural manner. Avoiding illness can be a difficult task, but keeping our health at optimal levels is our best deterrent against potential risks.
If you have any additional questions about raising your immunity—please feel free to reach out to me for support. I’m here to help you lead a healthy and happy life.
Sean Torbati - PN Certified Nutritionist | EXOS Phase 3 Training Specialist
Co-Founder, Ambrosia Collective