There’s a lot of health information flying around out there right now, including some silly, impractical and downright dangerous stuff. So what to believe? Well, if someone is telling you about a miracle cure or prevention for COVID-19, you can pretty much assume it’s false. And those supplement ads popping up all over your feed? Yep, you can ignore them too.
You might feel like there’s nothing to be done but stay in bed until it all goes away, but there are a few things you can do to help strengthen your immune system and help protect yourself from many types of illnesses, all the time, not just during a once-a-century event. And none of them involve a face mask.
Eat The Rainbow
This one goes out to everyone hoarding pasta and beans (spinach pasta doesn’t count, people). A diet high in a range of fresh fruit and vegetables, and low in processed foods, is THE best way to keep yourself chock full of all the vitamins and minerals you need to keep illnesses at bay. Period. Your mum might be telling you stock up on vitamin C, but that’s going to do way less good for your body than some fresh fruit during your work-from-home morning tea break. So despite stocking up on all the tinned tomatoes you could, you’re still going to have to hit the shops every week for fresh food, capiche (unless you’re sick, in which case, send a friend)? Or grab the hand sanitizer and head to your local farmer’s market for even fresher produce. Heck, some local grocery businesses will even deliver vegetables to your door, so by all means, stay indoors.
Get Some Zs
All that time you’re spending indoors this Friday night? Instead of binge watching Netflix (although we’ve got some great shows to watch here), get yourself a solid eight hours of sleep—research shows that sleep-deprived people can have suppressed immunity, meaning that they're more at risk of catching viruses, while giving your body adequate rest means it can recover and repair itself. If there was ever a reason to hit the sack at 8.30pm every night, this is it.
Now is not the time to ditch your exercise routine, far from it. Keeping up a decent level of fitness will help your body stay in tip top shape, ready to battle anything that comes at it. We’re not going to go deep into the relationship between moderate exercise and immunity (here, just read this), but we will say that getting 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day is a no brainer. If you’re stuck at home, or just avoiding the gym, here’s a bunch of Youtube workouts to help you stay in shape.
Yes, we’re all a little bit freaked out right now, but there’s a kicker to being overly strung out—you can wind up doing yourself physical harm, and your immune system will be one of the first things to take a hit. So ban talk of the c-word in your group chat, get offline, check out this list of mindfulness and meditation apps or go watch some penguin videos for a while—and just breathe.
Try Some Sauerkraut
Gut health is actually pretty important to the rest of your bodily functions, which is why we all now know what sauerkraut and kombucha is. You can take a capsule or supplement, add some kimchi to your next salad or snack on (some naturally fermented) pickles—they’re all full of probiotics which will keep your natural gut microbes in balance, and keep you feeling well. For those looking for a hobby to help while away the hours, consider making your own kombucha or maybe the lesser-known easier cousin, Kefir. Free drinks that are good for you? Sign us up.
Wash Your Damn Hands
Yeah, we know—you thought we were going to tell you about some miracle pill to take, and instead we’re just repeating the 2020 mantra. But really, there is no supplement, pill or hand sanitizer that’s going to do as much for you as grabbing the soap and washing your hands for 20 seconds. All. The. Damn. Time. Also, wipe down your phone while you’re at it because that thing is nasty.
We also suggest giving yourself killer abs with these laugh-a-minute Netflix comedy shows.
Image credit: Melody Jacob