Constant reports of COVID-19 outbreaks might give you just a tiny bit of anxiety. The good news is that there is much more you can do to protect yourself and your family than just hoarding hand sanitizer and toilet paper (aka #panicbuying).
World Health Organization’s advice is pretty straightforward and simple: wash your hands, distance yourself from anyone who’s coughing or sneezing, avoid touching your face. (WHO also offers an excellent list of COVID-19 myth busters and tips on coping with stress for adults and children.)
In addition, there are a bunch of natural ways to help fortify your immune system. Here is the list of what has worked well for Charlie Banana® family over the years.
- Tea tree oil, when used topically, is believed to have antibacterial properties and may help kill a some germs. Apply a few drops to your hands after the hand sanitizer dries out, or use in oil diffusers for the benefits of aromatherapy. Adding a few drops to a bath or massage oils is also a good idea.
- White vinegar is great for cleaning and may help disinfect household surfaces. While vinegar might be less effective than commercial cleaners, it can still i have some effect on the flu virus. Mix with water (50-50 rate) and pour into a spray bottle.
- Apple cider vinegar contains natural probiotics and is rich in vitamin C. For a delicious “health cocktail”, mix 1 part of apple cider vinegar with 5 parts of warm water, then add 2—3 Tbsp. of raw honey.
- Lemons may help increase body’s resistance to the germs that cause common colds and flu. Squeeze a lemon into a cup of hot water and add a tablespoon of honey for a yummy drink infused with vitamin C and antioxidants.
- Probiotics promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria and may help improve immune function. Sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, miso, kefir, kombucha and pickles are all good natural sources of these beneficial bacteria.
- Black elderberry also may offer a benefit of immune support due to the high levels of vitamin C and antioxidants. Both gummies and syrup are a good choice.
- Ginger is known for its potential anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties. It’s easy to reap its benefits by taking ginger shots, drinking ginger tea or simply adding ginger to your food.
- Turmeric has been reported to have anti-inflammatory effects and can be easily introduced to your diet in a form of a juice shot, tea or spice (curry for dinner, anyone?)
Image courtesy: Erin Bassett
- Garlic enhances the flavors of many foods — and it may also help boost your immunity. It has been reported to reduce the risk of getting a common cold and the severity of the symptoms. (Legends say, it also helps repel vampires.)
- Staying calm might be difficult in these challenging times, but minimizing stress can really help your body maintain its immunity. Do yourself a favor and limit your news intake. Stick to trusted sources that focus on information instead of drama. And know that this too shall pass.
- Exercising regularly has been reported to increase the immunity to some illnesses. Even while your gym is closed for the quarantine, you can still add a few rounds of squats and push-ups to your daily routine — or throw a dance party with your children!
- Eating a balanced diet gives your body the resources it needs to withstand diseases. Make sure to include plenty of vegetables and fruits into your diet (sorry, kiddos, candy didn’t make the list).
- Sufficient sleep ensures that your body produces enough cytokines, a type of protein that counteracts infection and inflammation. So use the time you save on commute and get those extra ZZZzzz.
Image courtesy: Emma Parkinson