Supporting your immune system and maintaining a healthy weight can protect you from Covid-19

If you come into contact with coronavirus, and it enters your body via your mouth, nose or eyes, it will try to replicate as fast as possible, and your immune system will get to work on a mission to destroy the virus before it can really take hold.

If you want to avoid the life-threatening complications that mean you end up in intensive care, you need to ensure your immune system is strong because the worst Covid-19 complications – the ones which send people to intensive care – are often caused by an immune system which initially responds ineffectively, then completely overcompensates in its attempts to control the viral invader.

So, it pays to take whatever steps you can to shore up your immune system so it can work well on your behalf. And the good news is there are simple lifestyle changes that can keep your immune system in good shape to protect you against coronavirus and which will also improve your longevity and quality of life.

Easy ways to support your immune system

1)  Eat a Mediterranean-based diet

This way of eating is rich in olive oil, nuts, oily fish and legumes, is regularly voted by health professionals as the healthiest diet on the planet. Changing the way you eat to reduce the amount of junk food and processed foods and instead, fill your plate with a wide variety of fresh vegetables packed with natural plant nutrients will bolster your immune system.

2)  Feed your gut bacteria

One of the reasons why the Mediterranean diet is super healthy is because it boosts levels of the “good” microbes in your gut which have been shown to play an essential role in the body’s immune response to infectious pathogens like coronavirus. They turn fibre and other nutrients in your diet into chemicals called short-chain fatty acids (SCFs), which reduce inflammation throughout the body. So make sure you eat plenty of fibre and pulses, as well as fermented foods like sauerkraut or live yoghurt.

3)  Lose weight

Anyone carrying excess weight is at a greater risk of becoming ill if they get Covid-19. The more overweight you are, the lower your lung capacity so if Covid-19 attacks your lungs you are more likely to end up in intensive care. Being obese also means you are likely to have a less efficient immune response, and added health complications such as high blood pressure, heart disease and type 2 diabetes which seriously increase your risk of Covid-19 complications. But losing weight can swiftly boost your chances of recovery, and rapid weight loss via The Fast 800 has been shown to be a powerfully effective way of going about it.

4)  Try intermittent fasting

Cutting your calorie intake two days a week (in a 5:2 pattern), or extending your night-time fast (so you eat in an 8, 10, or 12 hour window) have been shown to help reduce the gut fat that might be weakening your immunity 1. It also helps reduce systemic inflammation which is a sign of a malfunctioning immune system. That’s why it’s good to incorporate a bit of fasting into your diet plan whether you are a healthy weight or not.

5)  Get good sleep

Good quality sleep is essential for the production and release of key components of your immune system and getting a good night’s sleep is a great way to keep infections at bay 2

6)  Be active

Regular physical activity might be good news for your heart, your bones, your muscles and your mood, but just 20 minutes a day is enough to give your immune system a good workout too 3. Aim to get a good mix of different exercises – raising your heart rate through cardiovascular activity, and building strength through muscle-toning routines.

7) Learn to chill

Chronic stress has a direct and damaging effect on your immune system. It boosts levels of the hormone cortisol, which leads to chronic inflammation and reduces levels of special white blood cells your body uses to help fight off infection. All the above measures will help reduce stress, but mindfulness is a great skill to learn.

References

  1. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMra1905136
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26118561
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0889159116305645?via%3Dihub

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