Stress hormones strain the immune system so it can’t do its best at protecting us from those nasty bacteria, says Dr. Tammy Born of the Born Clinic, Grand Rapids, Mich. Reduce the amount of stress in your life by practicing mindfulness, keeping in touch with friends and family through virtual means while social gatherings are restricted and by checking the news less often while the pandemic rages.
Get enough shut-eye
Adequate sleep helps keep your immune system strong and proficient at fighting off illness, according to WebMD. Aim for 7-9 hours a night to give your body the best fighting chance against foreign invaders.
Boost your vitamin C intake
For decades, vitamin C has been touted as the ultimate protection against the common cold. While there is no evidence that vitamin C can ward off COVID-19, it will build up your immune system and help it fight the virus, says Dr. Born. The vitamin also helps you maintain healthy skin, which can serve as a barrier against infection. You can boost your vitamin C levels by eating plenty of citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi and broccoli.
Take zinc supplements
Zinc helps the body’s white blood cells fight off infection. Consequently, a zinc deficiency can make people more susceptible to colds, the flu and other viruses. Taking zinc supplements now can be a good idea, says Dr. Born, just make sure not to take more than the maximum recommended daily amount of 40 mg per day so you don’t experience side effects.
Get more vitamin A
Numerous studies have linked vitamin A deficiencies to weakened immune systems, particularly in warding off infections. Boost your body’s capacity to fight infection with these vitamin A-rich foods: egg yolks, dairy products, mango, broccoli, peaches, butternut squash, carrots and sweet potatoes.