The Pain Exchange

Nutrition during Covid-19

Boosting your immune system to fight infection

Never has there been a more important time to strengthen your immune system so that it is more resilient. Rest assured that it is an extremely complex system that has been fine-tuned over the millions of years of our evolution to be able to fight infection and protect us.  It is a system that keeps us alive every day of the week and so anything we can do to enhance its ability to fight infection will help in the fight against the new virus Covid-19.

Immune resilience is hugely supported by eating a balanced and healthy diet, getting good quality sleep, exercising daily and managing stress.  Whether you are male or female please take comfort from the fact that whilst our genes load the gun, it’s our environment that pulls the trigger.  What this means is that by living a healthy lifestyle, you can greatly boost your health and resilience.

Here are five ways in which you can boost health:

1. Eat a balanced diet:

Fruits and vegetables: Eat a rainbow everyday if you can from what is available to you in the supermarket (green, orange, red, yellow, purple etc).

Avoid processed foods and ready meals:  Now that we are all at home and not rushing about so much, we have more time to prepare foods from scratch that are more nutrient dense than those we buy ready prepared from the supermarket.

Avoid highly refined carbs:  These are foods that are going to compromise our immune system.  Cut out or minimise sugar, avoid pasta, bread and potatoes.  Instead have colourful root vegetables like sweet potato, parsnips, beetroot and carrot.

Don’t be afraid of healthy fat: Healthy fats like avocadoes, nuts (not peanuts), extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, butter and ghee should be regulars in your diet.  Chicken and fish are also great sources of healthy fats and protein.

Boost your anti-inflammatory fats: These are omega 3 fats that come from fish, particularly oily fish and eggs.

Eat your calories, don’t drink them:  Tea and coffee can be dehydrating so instead of drinking ten cups of tea, for example, you swop some of these for water.  Avoid fruit juice and fizzy drinks.

2. Drink hot fluids like herbal, immunity-enhancing teas throughout the day. 

Normally I would say drink plenty but right now hot drinks help to wash any virus particles caught on the mucosal surfaces of your mouth into your stomach acid and if herbal, also provide resources to help support your immune system.  Use fresh herbs that you have or any herbal teas such as peppermint or sage that you might have in your cupboard.

3. Stay calm and manage your stress with techniques that work for you because anxiety is your immune system’s enemy. 

From meditation and mindfulness, to exercise and activity, to family time or more self-reflective re-evaluation of your life, lock down provides us a rare opportunity to stop and recalibrate. Try breathing techniques, yoga or meditation to give yourself peace of mind, get yourself grounded in nature, practice living in the moment and not the future. Rest, rejuvenate, find things to laugh about. 

4. Get outdoors if you can. 

Luckily for us in the UK we’re still allowed to exercise outdoors once a day. Make the most of that time and take time to smell the roses…

5. Cut the chemicals! 

This recalibration time is perfect for reducing the number of harmful chemicals around you. Think household cleaners, garden products and personal care products like skin and hair care and make up. You don’t need to fill your house with harsh disinfectants and anti-bacterials at this time - simple soap and water is enough to kill the virus. So too is coconut oil rubbed into your hands.

Take great care of yourself and look forward to next time when I can update you with some more immune-boosting tips.

Love Fleur x