How to Boost Your Immunity during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Posted by Fiona Gavine on the 24th April 2020


It seems lockdown means different things to different people.  Apparently if you are older then you will be exercising more than normal and sadly if you are younger then you are likely to be feeling lonely.  It also appears that we are not actually using all this free time to cook healthily and create new and different meals; unfortunately there has been a steady rise in ready-meal sales.

Lockdown isn’t the panacea to a new slimmer, healthier you even if you can afford the time to be at home – but – it also needn’t be the end of the world as you know it.

One Allan Park stand for each of the 5 Pillars of Health; nutrition, hydration, sleep, movement and peace.  I have been involved with the Clinic since its inception and utterly and wholeheartedly live by these Pillars.  Well known TV doctor Rangan Chatterjee talks eloquently about 4 Pillars; Relax, Eat, Move and Sleep – the sentiment is the same.  The more you listen and read this stuff the more it is absorbed. Try it?

Medically we seek help when we feel unwell, ill, or are in pain but our bodies work better when regularly ‘serviced’.  Considering the Pillars of Health advocated by One Allan Park and others online can be useful without us feeling like we have failed if we didn’t manage Joe Wicks at 9am after our early morning meditation….

What can you realistically do to ensure you are a ‘better serviced’ machine?

All the petrol in the world won’t make the car faster if the windscreen wipers don’t work and the oil filter is clogged – think of yourself in these terms – it works!

My top tips from a Lifestyle Medicine and Health Coaching perspective are relatively simple and possibly even old fashioned!  We don’t have a treatment and prevention protocol for Covid 19 but if we truly take control of our health positively we can stay well, emotionally, mentally and physically.

  • Adhere to the NHS recommendations available – handwashing, social distancing etc
  • Boost immunity – Covid 19 and other viruses attack our defences – lifestyle factors have a massive impact on immune function and most are modifiable.
  • Stress reduction – stress negatively alters the immune system and our immune responses; practice stress reduction strategies daily – if you are not sure what might work for you – just ask!
  • Sleep – good quality sleep is fundamental – get into a good routine, set your alarm, keep standard hours, got to bed physically tired in a cool, dark room without your ‘tech’,
  • Exercise – moderate and regular physical exercise does help boost the immune system by raising our infection fighting white blood cell count.  An established physical exercise routine will improve cognitive function, prevent respiratory infection and develop physical resilience.
  • Nutrition – brightly coloured foods every day!  Eat that rainbow – aim for 5 different vegetables and 2 fruits daily (bear in mind functional medicine actually advocates 10 a day!)  Try to include nitrate dense foods such as beets, spinach, garlic, nuts and seeds
  • Hydration, Hydration, Hydration! –water and herbal teas are best.  Try peppermint, ginger and eucalyptus or simply add some lemon, ginger or cinnamon to hot water.  Limit caffeinated drinks and alcohol.
  • Vitamin C does not come under the ‘evidence based’ medicine but there is a phenomenal amount of research supporting good quality supplements at higher doses for immune defence.  Vitamin C is water soluble and leaves the body quickly!  Try to split your intake to twice a day.
  • Vitamin D – another valuable support for the immune system.  Get outside, without sunglasses in the morning.
  • Zinc – said to reduce the frequency of infections and another vitamin with a key role in boosting immunity
  • Selenium – fantastic trace mineral for boosting the bodies defence against bacteria and viruses.  Just 4 Brazil nuts each week would help!
  • Self-Care – active rest – a walk, cooking, baking, watching an online nature programme, read a good book and importantly limit your time on News channels and social media.  Take the best bits that suit your personality and take time-out.

Over- the- counter medicines do NOT actually help the immune system but may help temporarily with some symptoms.  Remember your ‘Pillars of Health’ and support your own immune system as best you can.  I absolutely understand the mismatch between being ready to change and having the confidence to do so.  Baby steps and the 80/20 rule are the most helpful.  Do your best 80% of the time and try to make small changes!  Big changes invariable are unsustainable.

My own working life in Wellbeing and in Complementary Health has evolved alongside One Allan Park and in terms of Lifestyle or Functional Medicine I would be pleased to offer any existing clients of One Allan Park a free telephone consultation on Lifestyle or Health Coaching.  Please don’t allow Corona virus define 2020 for you if at all possible.  Free sessions for the first 20 clients to call.