How to Boost Your Immunity to Fight COVID-19

Female eating yogurt

 

Posted March 25, 2020 by University of Vermont Health Network

 

We are just reaching the peak of flu season, and with the addition of COVID-19, finding ways to boost your immune system has never been more important. 

As someone who lives with a partner that has a compromised immune system, I wanted to learn some tips and tricks on how to remain at my healthiest during this time. Not only is nutrition important, but having a lifestyle that is balanced with physical activity and good sleep practices will help you remain healthy.

6 Immunity-Boosting Vitamins and Minerals

Good nutrition practices are key to a strong immune system. According to the Cleveland Clinic, people should try not to rely on supplements (unless medically necessary). Rather, we should all try to get our daily dose of vitamins and minerals directly from food sources.

Here is a list of important, immune-boosting vitamins and minerals and the foods in which they may be found:

  • Vitamin A – think orange! Carrots, squash and of course … oranges! 
  • Vitamin C – citrus fruits, leafy greens, strawberries 
  • Vitamin D – fatty fish (e.g. salmon and tuna) and fortified milk 
  • Vitamin E – almonds, spinach and broccoli 
  • Iron – lean poultry like skinless chicken and fishes 
  • Zinc – shellfish including oysters and crab, lean meats and poultry, yogurt and chickpeas

Tip: Stock your freezer with frozen fruits and vegetables if you're worried about food going bad. 

Exercise Boosts the Number of Cells That Attack Bacteria in Your Body 

Physical activity is another easy way to help boost your immune system.

Trying walking or running outside, or try an at-home workout. Many fitness apps are now available for free as organizations open their services during the COVID-19 outbreak. Peloton, Planet Fitness and DownDog, to name a few, now offer free online access to their programs. YouTube is also a great source for in-home workout videos. A number of local fitness centers now offer online classes, too.

Sleep Improves Immunity, So Get Some Good Rest 

To round out your immune-boosting day, try to end it with a good night's sleep. It is important to practice healthy sleep habits. For example:Power down your electronic devices an hour before bed. 

  • Make sure the temperature is at a cool setting and that your blinds are drawn.
  • Use a white noise machine. If you don't have one, , download a white noise app on your phone!
  • Keep to a routine – that is, go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time each day.

The more rested you are, the better you feel! 

For information and updates about how the UVM Health Network is fighting the Coronavirus, please visit https://www.uvmhealth.org/coronavirus

Natalie Robison, MS, ACSM-CEP, is an Employee Wellness Screening Specialist at the University of Vermont Medical Center. 

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