Your immune system is your body’s first line of defense against viruses and other infectious diseases, so now seems like—to put it lightly—a good time to start optimizing it. Our co-founder and product formulator Marius Morariu is a holistic nutritionist among other things, and passed along his favorite tips for a healthy immune system. Of course when it comes to COVID-19, first and foremost, you should adhere to hygiene practices like washing your hands frequently with soap and social distancing. We recommend following updates from the WHO and CDC as we learn more about this particular challenge.
1. Eat your vegetables and avoid sugary, processed foods.
Though it’s tempting to stock up on frozen pizzas and ice cream to get through these stressful times, the way you eat directly impacts your immune system. If you’re worried about having to self quarantine, stock up on frozen vegetables and fruits, since they are almost always as nutritious as fresh ones. Mushrooms last a long time and shitake mushrooms in particular may help boost your immune system.
2. Get plenty of sleep.
Sleep is vital to keeping your immune system strong. In fact, research suggests that people who sleep less than six hours a night are much more likely to get the common cold virus. One huge proponent of sleep is Arianna Huffington (full disclosure—she's also a client) who, through her company Thrive Global, has been speaking out recently about the importance of sleep in the wake of COVID-19.
3. Eat probiotic foods
Probiotic foods can help support healthy bacteria in our gut that can in turn help fight viruses and infection. While Marius' top choice is a vegetarian enteric-coated probiotic supplement, foods like pickles, sauerkraut, and kimchi may also encourage a strong immune system, so get snacking! Plain Greek yogurt and kefir are also good probiotic sources, but dairy, a source of casein, may not be the easiest on the respiratory tract for some. For certain individuals with sensitivities or allergies, avoiding dairy may help ease the job of the immune system and could even lessen mucus.
4. Monolaurin supplements might help
When it comes to the coronavirus, there are no known herbs or supplements that have been proven to combat it, and taking immune-boosting supplements may not be the best approach for many, especially if they have an auto-immune issue. That being said, some of us here at Tracie Martyn take a coconut-based supplement called monolaurin that could potentially destroy the envelope of the virus. It occurs naturally in mother’s milk. We don’t recommend taking any supplements without checking with your doctor or health care practitioner however, and studies have not been done to establish its efficacy.
5. Don’t panic!
We know—easier said than done, but panic and stress raises your cortisol, which is an immune-suppressing hormone. Find ways to de-stress, whether it’s meditation, breathing exercises, or hey, a little at-home facial with natural skincare. If you prefer not to go into your yoga studio, Down Dog is making their yoga apps free, so you can keep up a home practice!