How to boost your immune system and fight an infection - Part 4: Understanding

Apr 07, 2020

Worried about Coronavirus and looking for ways in which you or your family can boost your immune system to be able to fight the virus successfully?

With our own UK Prime Minister now in intensive care with Coronavirus, there has never been a more poignant reminder of the importance of each of us taking the appropriate steps to boost our immune system. 

It's not only important that you boost your immune system to resist catching Coronavirus, but also to help give yourself the best chance of recovery, should you catch it.  This will not only help you and those who care about you, but also help reduce the strain on the emergency services treating those infected.

This is part 4 of a five part series focusing on how you can boost your immune system and fight an infection.

There are four phases that we can talk about with regards to dealing with an infection:

  • Phase 1 - Prevent
  • Phase 2 - Resist
  • Phase 3 - Treat
  • Phase 4 - Recover.

If you know anybody that is at risk, please share this blog if you think this could help them. This series is intended to be educational. Please talk to your healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle.

There's five things that you can do to help you boost your immune system and fight an infection. These are conveniently remembered by the mnemonic VIRUS:

  • V - Vagus Nerve
  • I - Inflammation
  • R - Resilience
  • U - Understanding
  • S - Sleep.

Part 4 - U is for Understanding

It's really important to understand what habits are helping and hurting your immune system to help you protect and strengthen it.

Why?  Because without the knowledge and applying that knowledge, you're not effectively armed and prepared to fight what could be the fight of your life.

Based on what you've learned so far in Parts 1-3, do you know what habits you have that are helping and hurting your immune system?

What helps you:

  • Healthy eating, including food high in omega-3, including salmon, sardines, trout, tuna, mackerel, herring and halibut, as well as walnuts and avocados and prebiotic foods, such as apples, beans, cabbage, artichokes, onions and leeks, as well as asparagus and root vegetables
  • Regular exercise
  • Reducing stress as well as stress management techniques
  • Ensuring you get enough quality sleep
  • Regular social connection.

What hurts you:

  • Sugar, which feeds the bad bugs in your gut, depleting your immune system.  It also causes inflammation
  • High glycemic, low fibre foods, such as white bread, white rice, white potatoes, white pasta, which turns to sugar
  • Processed foods, which can upset your microbiome
  • Gluten, which can breakdown the gut lining, and consider other food allergens that may be causing inflammation in your gut
  • Excessive alcohol
  • Poor sleep habits
  • High levels of stress and anxiety
  • Not applying stress management techniques
  • Negative internal self-talk
  • Not connecting with others.

What positive steps can you take from today to help protect and strengthen your immune system?

It's also important to understand your why.

  • Why do you exist - what's your purpose in life?
  • Why do you matter? Why do you care?
  • Why is it important for you to boost your immune system? Who will benefit from you doing so?

Understanding your why will help ensure that you match your behaviours to achieve your why - to do what is necessary to boost your immune system. Focus not only on the importance of you boosting your immune system for yourself, but also what positive impact this will have on others, such as your loved ones, your family, your friends, your work.  Clearly defining your why also gives you something to fight for.

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