As coronavirus runs roughshod across the country, having an immune system functioning at its peak is critically important.
Vitamins and supplements may promise to boost immunity, but there’s not much evidence to support these promises. Instead, give these tried-and-true approaches a go:
- Exercise. Low- and moderate-intensity exercise lowers cortisol levels and helps with immune-system function. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes a day. Gym are closed, so go for a walk or run in your neighborhood. Just don’t overdo it. A recent study found high-performance athletes have an increased risk of infection.
- Reduce stress. Stress can hurt your immune system, so try not to panic about coronavirus. Engage in activities you people find relaxing, such as meditation or yoga.
- Sleep. For adults, that means getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
- Eat plain yogurt. For an easy way to boost immunity, pump up your probiotics intake. Plain yogurt helps support the good bacteria that live in your body, which help fight bad bacteria or viruses. Not a yogurt lover? Other foods that can help include garlic, ginger, onion and sauerkraut.
- Watch your diet. Stick to a healthy, balanced diet filled with colorful fruits and vegetables—think: dark green leafy veggies and berries—to ensure you’re getting enough important vitamins and minerals, including zinc and vitamin D. You should be able to get enough of these vitamins and minerals through your diet. But vitamin D deficiency is fairly common, especially among black folks, so experts recommend supplements if your levels are low. Too much vitamin D isn’t good for you, either, so be sure talk to your physician before you start taking it.
- Don’t smoke. Smokers and those with respiratory disease have a higher rate of serious illness and complications from coronavirus.
- Make sure your vaccines are up-to-date, especially the flu vaccine.