While vaccines and the COVID-19 vaccine booster shot remain the frontline defense against the coronavirus, there are ways to help vaccines fight off those viruses or make it easier on your body to get through an infection.
"Like the Army, the immune system is an intricate network of units that act together to combat invaders," The University of Maryland Medical System stated in an article on boosting immune health. "In this case it's bacteria, viruses and other 'enemies.' Since it is a system of many parts, not a single unit, it cannot technically be boosted. It can be strengthened to run efficiently in order to fight off diseases."
While there is no magic shot or pill that can cure COVID-19, there are steps you can take to make your body's defenses as strong as possible. These steps, along with vaccines, boosters, PPE and other safe practices for fighting the virus, can help protect you against COVID-19.
Healthy Living Strategies
- Exercising regularly – Experts recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week.
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet – High in fruits and vegetables, use the MyPlatetechnique to determine portions and the types of healthy foods that are best for nourishing your immune system.
- Maintaining a healthy weight – Aim for a BMI of 25 or lower. The best way to lose weight is with exercise and a healthy, balanced diet.
- Getting quality sleep – Set a schedule and a routine for sleep and practice good sleep hygiene.
- Reducing stress – Develop good coping mechanisms – including activities in your daily life that help you handle stress, like virtually connecting with loved ones if you're quarantined, going outside, practicing meditation regularly, exercising, making art or other hobbies.
- Quit smoking – If you smoke, you can get support to help you quit.
- Drinking alcohol only in moderation – Limit the amount of alcohol you drink, or don't drink it at all. Limit the amount you keep in your house, including the number of glasses/bottles you drink.
- Taking steps to prevent infection – This includes washing your hands frequently and social distancing.
Immunity Support Supplements – In addition to lifestyle and behavior practices, the following supplements – used in moderation – keep the immune system functioning at its best.
- Vitamin C – May help prevent viral, bacterial and other infections by shortening the duration of colds and acting as a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory.
- Vitamin D – One of the most important immune system-strengthening nutrients that can reduce the risk of colds and flu; this should be taken on a regular basis.
- Vitamin A – When used on a short-term basis, can help support the body's ability to fight infections, especially with respiratory infections.
- Zinc – Can help reduce the number of infections and the duration of the common cold when taken within 24 hours of onset.
- Selenium – A key nutrient for immune function and easily obtained from foods like the Brazil nut. It's an antioxidant, which strengthens the body's defenses against bacteria, viruses and cancer cells.
- Raw honey – Good at relieving minor pain and inflammation of mucous membranes, like the nose and mouth. It has antioxidant properties and some microbial effects. it is helpful for coughs and sore throats and can be added to tea or hot water with lemon.
- Garlic – Fresh, aged extract and garlic supplements may reduce the severity of viral respiratory infections and function in preventing viral infections of the common cold.
- Probiotics – They contain "good bacteria" that support gut health and influence the regulation of the immune system. Can also decrease the number of of respiratory infections, especially in children.