Six instant immunity boosters

There is no getting around it now. Coronavirus is a thing. And it’s likely to become more of a ‘thing’ before it goes away. The WHO (World Health Organisation) has declared it a pandemic, the US of A have closed their borders to Europe for 30 days, the NBA has suspended its season, the French PM is in self isolation, and Tom Hanks and his wife Rita are have been diagnosed with COV-19 in our very own Gold Coast hospital (proud moment).

There seem to be two main schools of thought – panic big and panic early, and my own position, which is to take sensible, but not OTT precautions, and to watch and wait. The reality is that COV-19 is highly contagious, but also has a very, very low mortality rate in healthy people under 80. For most people, it’s like a moderate or even low-level flu.

In my Barre Body studios, we’ve done the obvious in terms of taking extra cleaning measures and issuing hygiene guidelines, including a really cute PDF printable ‘How to wash your hands’ guide set to the tune of Stop Right Now by the Spice Girls (fun, right?). But we’re not panicking or recommending people stay away as exercise is one of the most important immunity boosting things you can do.

Let’s take a look at what you can do to give yourself the best chance of staying well by boosting your immunity.

1. Get moving

Obvs I would say this, but in all seriousness, it’s really, really important to keep moving your body as moderate exercise helps to flush out bacteria from the lungs and airways  and boost your white blood cells and this can help to reduce your chance of catching a cold or flu.

2. Eat immunity boosting foods

Foods such as citrus (hello vitamin C, you good, good thing), berries, capsicum, broccoli, garlic, ginger, spinach, yoghurt, almonds, turmeric, green tea, kiwi fruit, chicken (not just soup for the soul, but magic for vitamin B6), sunflower seeds and shellfish are all pretty wonderful at boosting your immune system. Eat more of them for sure.

3. Consider a supplement

Aside from the obvious vitamin C and zinc, my personal favourites are Comvita Olive Leaf Extract and Bioceuticals ArmaForce. Anecdotally, from my own experience, and on the recommendation of many, many Barre Body teachers (who all strive to stay well as it’s their livelihood), these really do work to help avoid and reduce the severity of colds and viruses.

4. Rest well

Yep, another obvious one. Try to get good sleep. Like 8 hours, every night. It’s good for you as just a few nights of poor sleep can compromise your immune system. Nuff said.

5. Manage stress

Do what you can (within reason) to reduce the amount of stressful situations you find yourself in. It’s easier said than done when for most of us, stress is a natural part of life, but do what you can. Take walks. Breath. Meditate. Have a cup of tea. Take a bath. Have some quiet time each day.

As best you can, try not to ‘over-worry’. It’s not easy to do in times of high stress, but as best you can try to be present and if you catch yourself thinking worrying or stressful thoughts, focus on your breath and repeat this mantra:

(Inhale) All is well
(Exhale) in this moment

6. Focus on gut health

Up to 70% of your immune system lives in your gut. Yes – for realz. So it’s very important to cultivate good bacteria by eating fermented foods (like yoghurt, kombucha, sauerkraut, kim chi, kefir) and taking a high-quality probiotic. These good bacteria help to strengthen the integrity of your gut system and boost your immunity.

And of course, because everyone who’s anyone is talking about it, wash your hands and wash them well. Download and print this pdf and pop it up in your bathroom. The most missed areas when it comes to washing hands are between the fingers, the nails and the backs of the hands. Get down and dirty (pun intended) and really wash well.