How to stay healthy, boost your immune system and stay sane amid the COVID-19 panic.

If we want a healthy immune system we need to eat healthy food to support it. Read my post What you need to know about nutrition to eat a healthy diet, where I point out that “A healthy diet and good nutrition supports your immune system, so it helps keep infections at bay and allows you to recover more quickly from illness.

There’s no one food that will boost our immune systems

We know that Vitamins A,C and D, and the nutrients zinc and iron are all important. Eggs and oily fish are good sources of Vitamin A. Fresh fruits and vegetables will supply you with bioavailable Vitamin C as well as protective phytochemicals (antioxidants). However, if you feel the need you can always take a supplement to boost your intake. The action of sunshine on skin produces Vitamin D but if you don’t get enough sun then a supplement can top up your reserves. And 3-4 serves of red meat each week can help keep your iron and zinc topped to optimum levels.

You need sleep

Sleep is very important to keep your immune system up to scratch. According to the Mayo Clinic “…lack of sleep can affect your immune system. Studies show that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as a common cold virus. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.” So put away those devices, switch off the TV and get an early night.

How to stay sane amid the mayhem

Focus on what you have control of and do it, i.e. all the protective measures, no handshakes, lots of handwashing, social distancing, eating healthily and taking care of each other. Panic buying is unnecessary and creates more fear than the virus itself. Let’s band together as a caring (yet socially distanced 😊) community and try to get through this together instead of displaying this “every man – or woman – for him/herself” attitude that has sadly been in evidence lately. There’s enough for everyone if we share it. There won’t be if we hoard it!

Information by Accredited Practising Dietitian Catherine Saxelby