You’re doing all the recommended precautions to keep safe from COVID-19 — and that’s smart! But you can protect yourself even more by taking a few easy, inexpensive measures that power up your internal defenses to help your body fight off any virus you encounter — before it causes you real problems. And these four smart and simple tricks will not only boost your immunity, they’re fun to do!
Nibble on blueberries.
Snacking on one cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen) daily could cut your risk of any viral infection by 33 percent, and help you bounce back 40 percent faster if you do become ill, suggests a review of 14 studies published in the journal Advances in Nutrition. Study co-author Will Hopkins, Ph.D., explains that blueberries are naturally rich in compounds (flavonoids) that energize virus-fighting immune cells.
Bask in the sunshine.
You’re 64 percent less likely to develop respiratory tract infections if you keep your blood levels of vitamin D-3 topped up, either by getting 20 minutes of midday sun daily, so your
skin can produce its own D-3, or by taking a daily 2,000 IU supplement, say Boston University researchers. Turns out this nutrient activates 290 genes that help white blood cells quickly find and destroy any viruses that sneak into your lungs. Note: Check with your doctor before supplementing.
Relax in a hot soak.
A hot bath won’t kill viruses — but it will activate your body’s relaxation response, tamping down your production of immunity-weakening stress hormones for up to 12 hours at a stretch. No wonder Finnish researchers say making time for a relaxing, steamy soak each day can cut your risk of viral infections by 25 percent, plus help you bounce back five days faster!
Gargle with green tea.
Gargling with strong green tea three times daily could cut your risk of respiratory tract infections by 30 percent, suggests research in the journal BMC Public Health. Explains study co-author Kay Ide, Ph.D., gargling helps dislodge and flush out invading germs, and green tea is rich in virus-killing compounds (catechins). Prepare the gargle by pouring one cup of just-boiled water over a green tea bag, let steep 20 minutes, then cool and use it to gargle for 30 seconds.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.