7 Best Ways to Boost Your Immune System During Covid-19

The body’s immune system is integral to fighting off infection and disease.  At times like these, it’s more important than ever to make sure it’s not only working as well as it can, but also performing better than before. Just like a muscle in the body, you can boost immune system strength so it works better, and this could mean either avoiding illness altogether, or only experiencing mild symptoms if you do get infected.

There are several ways to build and boost your immune system, and understanding the importance of your immune system is the first step. 
7 Best Ways to Boost Your Immune System During Covid-19
*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author. This post may also contain affiliate and/or paid links. Rest assured that I only work with companies and individuals that I trust. While some of those companies and individuals may work in the medical field, this post is not intended to be a substitution for medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your mental or physical health.
7 Best Ways to Boost Your Immune System During Covid-19

The Importance of the Immune System

 The immune system isn’t just made up of white blood cells, but consists of a vast network of tissues, cells and organs that work in tandem to maintain overall health and protect the body against infection. The human body is an ideal host for all number of pathogens, viruses, and parasites to thrive if unchecked; the immune system acts as our defense against these microbes and any of their subsequent attacks.

Every part of the immune system plays a unique role: the white blood cells are the first line of defense against any malicious foreign invader, whilst the blood marrow produces our infection-fighting soldiers.

Other parts of the immune system include lymph nodes that act as filters for foreign particles, and the spleen which controls the amount of blood circulating through the body removing old or damaged red cells.
As you can see, there are many parts of the immune system that all play their part in various and equally important ways.


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1. Sleep

A good night’s sleep can do wonders when it comes to the body’s overall well being, improving both physical and mental health. Sleep is when the body is able to fully rest, recover and repair itself in readiness for the day ahead, and not getting enough shut eye can have bad consequences.

Indeed, studies have shown that sleep-deprived patients are at a higher risk of developing an illness after exposure to a virus, underlying the importance of getting in that recommended 7-8 hours of dream-time.[i]

2. Vitamins and Antioxidants

Like any good machine, our body runs well if it’s fueled properly, and getting the right intake of vitamins and antioxidants promotes a healthy immune system. Blueberries, spinach, kale, garlic and ginger are beneficial on many levels.

In addition to having powerful effects on your antibody response[ii] they are also some of the best brain foods available, so you’ll enjoy better physical and cognitive health by eating them on a regular basis.

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3. Drink Less Alcohol

When consumed moderately, alcohol doesn’t seem to have particularly bad consequences for the immune system, and indeed the jury is still out over whether that single glass of red wine actually presents antioxidant-related benefits to the body.

Either way, it’s clear that high levels of consumption do have a negative impact, since studies have shown the white blood cell count to decrease below normal levels when a significant amount of alcohol is in the bloodstream.[iii]

4. Minimize Stress

When the body is placed in a stressful situation, the chemical cortisol is released into the bloodstream, decreasing the performance of your immune system. In addition, anxiety can impact your sleep pattern, which, as mentioned above, can reduce your body’s ability to recover at night. Try to prioritize a healthy mindset, and perhaps introduce some form of daily meditation to provide a sense of order to any chaos you might have in your life.

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5. Zinc Supplements

It’s important to get enough zinc in your diet since this mineral supports normal growth, heals wounds and keeps the immune system strong. Most diets should include enough zinc to adequately support working immunity levels; however, if you find yourself more susceptible to illness than others, consult a medical professional to see if you have zinc deficiencies that need to be addressed.[iv]

6. Probiotic Foods

A healthy gut means a happy immune system since the two are closely linked: around seventy percent of your immune system resides in your gut with probiotic bacteria living in the digestive tract and supporting our immunity levels. You’ll see most benefits from fermented foods (such as kimchi) or yogurts that contain live bacteria cultures that will boost the immune system.

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7. Exercise

The body’s circulatory system plays a key role when it comes to your level of immunity, essentially acting as a transport network for white blood cells to move about the body. You can increase the efficiency of this pipeline by exercising regularly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages at least two and a half hours a week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes if at a more vigorous level.[v]  Read more about all the benefits of exercise here. 

The Role of Weight Loss Supplements

The other benefit of exercise is that, alongside a healthy diet planvi, it helps to maintain an ideal body weight, and this is especially important in relation to COVID-19: obesity seems to worsen the effects of the disease and puts you at greater risk of complications from it.

If you are struggling with your weight, then perhaps consider some weight loss supplements. Phenocal is a popular brand on the market, made of all-natural ingredients that enhance your weight loss efforts by reducing the appetite and boosting energy levels. Taken regularly, it can make it easier to manage your weight and enjoy better overall health.

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Whilst there are many ways to boost immune system strength, there is no silver bullet cure-all that will do the job by itself. Using a combination of the above methods and maintaining a healthy weight with the help of a supplement such as Phenocal will give your body the best chance of fighting off infections.

Of course, it’s also vitally important that you practice good hygiene at all times, such as proper handwashing, and follow the recommended social distancing guidelines.


Author Bio:

Nathan Hodges is a passionate writer. He writes about health, fitness, nutrition & diet. His work gives a curiosity engaged to the readers.


References:

[i]https://www.orlandohealth.com/content-hub/7-ways-to-boost-your-immune-system

[ii]https://www.orlandohealth.com/content-hub/7-ways-to-boost-your-immune-system

[iii]https://www.health.com/condition/infectious-diseases/coronavirus/how-to-boost-your-immune-system

[iv]https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-21372790

[v]https://www.health.com/condition/infectious-diseases/coronavirus/how-to-boost-your-immune-system

[vi]https://www.healthwebmagazine.com/diet-nutrition/healthy-diet-plan-html/

 

Coronavirus and Postpartum Depression – Are You at Risk?

Does postpartum depression put you at a higher risk for contracting coronavirus?

The new coronavirus, COVID-19, is officially a global pandemic and causing all kinds of anxiety and uncertainty.  It can be especially hard on new moms who are already dealing with mental health issues.   Moms with postpartum depression might see an increase in their symptoms during this time.  Yes, it’s a stressful time for everyone, but could moms with mental health issues actually be at a higher risk?

If you have postpartum depression, find out if you are at risk of contracting coronavirus. 
Coronavirus and Postpartum Depression: Are you at Risk?
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

Coronavirus and Postpartum Depression

Coronavirus and Postpartum Depression


Those most at risk for contracting coronavirus include the sick, elderly and people with a weakened immune system Many mothers with postpartum depression may suffer from a weak immune system, which is what puts them in the high-risk category.  Depending on how recently a mother has given birth, her immune system may not have had a chance to recover properly.  And certain behaviors caused by postpartum depression can affect our immune systems as well. 

Symptoms of a weakened immune system:

    • Frequent and long lasting illnesses and infections
    • Fatigue
    • Digestion issues (diarrhea, nausea, constipation)
    • New or increased allergies
    • Joint pain or inflammation

Think about whether or not you seem to catch every cold or still get the flu despite getting the flu shot.  Do your symptoms drag on for a long time? Do your wounds take long to heal?   These are all warning signs that you could have a weak immune system.  And if you’re likely to catch a cold from someone sneezing nearing you, then you’re also likely to catch coronavirus.

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How does postpartum depression cause a weakened immune system?

Stress

Stress is the number one culprit when it comes to a weakened immune system.  High levels of stress can increase our cortisol levels and decrease our lymphocytes (the white blood cells that help fight off infection).  This imbalance within our bodies makes us more susceptible to viruses, like COVID-19.  Moms with postpartum depression and anxiety often find themselves under a lot of stress.  It’s never easy to manage the kids and a household, while trying to maintain our own mental health. Therefore, they are at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus.

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Sleep Deprivation

New moms, especially those with symptoms of postpartum depression or anxiety, are not getting nearly enough sleep as they need to.  Chronic sleep deprivation can affect our immune system in a negative way.  Normally while we sleep, our body works to produce certain antibodies that help us fight infection.  Sleep is also our body’s time to recharge and refill.  But when we don’t get enough sleep, our immune system goes into overdrive.  Then it doesn’t work when we need it to the most, like for fighting off the coronavirus. 

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Isolation

Both postpartum depression and anxiety can cause a new mother to distance herself from others, long before the CDC recommended it for the prevention of the spread of Coronavirus.  Moms normally take extra measures to keep baby away from crowds and strangers, in order to protect their fragile immune systems.  But all this time spent in isolation results in the opposite for moms.  Without being exposed to normal, everyday bacteria in the outside world, moms haven’t been able to build up any immunity to it.  Our immune system needs a lot of practice in order to keep it in good, working condition.

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Fluctuating Hormone Levels

While the underlying cause of postpartum depression is still unknown, some theories suggest it could be due to changes in hormone levels after giving birth.  We know this to be the cause when it comes to the baby blues, which is why it’s so common and doesn’t last long.  Postpartum depression is a much more complicated illness, however.  Either way, lower levels of estrogen may contribute to weakening the immune system.  All women who experience a hormonal imbalance of estrogen might be susceptible.  This includes women who are postpartum, peri-menopausal or who have had a hysterectomy.

Unhealthy Eating Habits

Our body needs a steady source of vitamins and minerals in order to stay healthy.  But moms with postpartum depression or anxiety don’t always have the greatest eating habits.  Whether it’s binge-eating junk food or skipping meals all together, these bad habits can weaken our immune system and make us susceptible to the coronavirus.  If food was an issue during your pregnancy (due to hyperemesis gravidarum, gestational diabetes, anemia, etc.) you may already have some type of vitamin deficiency.

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How will coronavirus affect a mom’s mental health?

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    • Those with postpartum OCD might be overwhelmed about keeping germs away, hand-washing and disinfecting everything they touch (more than usual, that is).
    • Stress.  Lots of stress.  Stress about running out of food and supplies.  Stress about entertaining the kids while they’re off school.  Financial stress, marital stress, etc. 
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What to do about it

The coronavirus is so new that not much is known about it yet.  Studies are being conducted on the effects of coronavirus on pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding moms, but they are still in the early stages.  Experts are working hard for answers but until then, it’s up to us to try to keep it contained. 

Here are some things that moms with postpartum depression can do during the coronavirus outbreak to help maintain their mental health.
    • Stop reading all the global news stories. Instead,  stick to the local news coverage, which will keep you updated on the issues that affect you the most.
    • Follow the CDC’s recommendations for prevention of the spread of coronavirus, and bear in mind that these are updated as more information becomes available. 
    • Eat healthy.  Stock up on fruit and vegetables and choose homemade meals over home delivery during quarantine.
    • Use an immune health supplement. Boost your immune system with a combination of Echinacea, Zinc and Vitamin C.
    • Drink lots of water.  Regularly drinking water not only boosts your immune system, but helps to flush out any unwanted bacteria in your body. 
    • Get plenty of fresh air in wide, open spaces.  Avoid crowded parks and playgrounds and take a stroll through nature instead. 
    • Practice deep breathing and meditation. Not only does meditation help to calm stress, but taking long, deep breaths will actually improve your lung function.  Strong lungs will help in the event that you need to fight off coronavirus. 
    • Focus on the positive. This worldwide pandemic is one for the history books!   As scary as the times are right now, we are living in a moment of history.  Try journaling your experiences, or take photos.  Look for ways that you can help out someone else, even if it’s just by making a phone call to check in. 
    • Continue practicing self care.  Increase the amount of self care you do daily, if that’s an option.  In order to keep yourself from getting cabin fever, you’ll need to find time to yourself each day. 
    • Try online therapy. If your mental health is truly suffering during the coronavirus outbreak, this is something you can always do from home. 
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The thought of a global pandemic killing thousands of people across the world is truly terrifying.  With the intense amount of media coverage on the coronavirus, it can get very overwhelming for a mother with postpartum depression.  It’s terrifying because so much of it is out of our control. 

We need to focus on the small things that we can control.  Don’t waste your time hoarding toilet paper.  Instead, work on getting your immune system ready by eating healthy, getting enough sleep and finding ways to reduce your stress levels. In time, this too shall pass.