The world can seem like a scary place right now, with coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading like wildfire in more and more countries. Here in Hong Kong, we’re lucky that the number of cases are relatively low for a population of our size and that everyone is doing their part to #FlattenTheCurve, but that doesn’t mean we should let our guards down.
Besides wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, washing hands frequently and keeping things clean and sanitised, it’s equally important to stay healthy and keep our immune systems in top condition.
Below, we’ve rounded up five ways to boost your immune system naturally to help protect yourself from catching coronavirus.
Yes, it’s clearly time to load up on fruits and veggies, but not all are created equal in boosting your immune system. Reach for tried-and-true citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits and clementines, eat more leafy green vegetables like bok choy and kale, and load up on garlic to kill germs (and naturally keep people at a safe distance). Add some nuts and seeds into your diet (including walnuts, brazil nuts and sunflower seeds) and try to sprinkle anti-inflammatory turmeric into as many things as you can (curry being a no-brainer).
According to the National Sleep Foundation, you need 7-8 hours of sleep per night to keep your immune system in tip-top condition. Any less, and you’re at risk for not just influenza, but heart disease, diabetes and obesity too. If you’re having trouble getting enough hours in, a few daytime naps (each no longer than 30 minutes each) could help make up the deficit.
Exercise in moderation
Before you go all-out on exercise, know this: working out too much and at too intense a level can actually get you sick, so stick to low-intensity, moderate exercise to boost your immune system. Avoid crowds by heading outdoors for a hike or slow jog, or stay indoors and press play on one of the many home workouts available on YouTube.
Ditch the drink
Although times like these can have us reaching for the bottle, try to swap your alcoholic drink for a warm cuppa tea instead. Herbal teas including elderberry, echinacea, ginger, and liquorice root tea are packed with antioxidants and vitamins, which are known to boost the immune system and fight disease and infections.
Read a book, meditate, snuggle with your dog or cat (even if s/he hates it), or do all of the above—anything you need to de-stress and take your mind off the current state of affairs. Keeping your eyes glued to the COVID-19 news feeds can be exhausting and take a toll on your mental health, so be sure to take care of yourself with some healthy (and happy) distractions.
No one knows how long this pandemic will last, but the good news is, COVID-19 is definitely forcing us to practice better personal hygiene than ever before, and perhaps, adopt healthier habits for the long run.
To all our readers in Hong Kong and beyond, stay healthy!