It goes without saying that immunity is a top-of-mind concern at the moment. We’re living life under masks (literally) and sanitizing our hands at an all-time high. When we don’t have the option to social distance and have to step outside to grab essentials, care for a loved one, etc. our worries only grow. Rather than living with the constant anxiety of “Will, I get sick?”, there are some steps you can take to strengthen your immunity at home. We spoke to Dr. Shawn Nasseri, Harvard & Mayo Clinic Trained ENT Surgeon, and Dr. Bita Nasseri, UCLA & Mayo Clinic Trained, cardio-thoracic trained anesthesiologist (both co-founders of EUKA, a line of clean, holistic rituals) to learn how to stay safe and boost our immunity. The doctors have over 40 years of combined experience in the medical field and treat some of Hollywood’s biggest stars like Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake, Halsey, Cher, Shawn Mendes, and, of course, Ashley.
So first things first, how do we keep our bodies healthy? When our bodies come in contact with pathogens (aka the germs we encounter in everyday life) they recognize them as ‘intruders’ and try to remove them so that our bodies can stay healthy. “When the immune system is alerted that a pathogen has entered, it starts to create antibodies that then kill off the germs so that they do not infect your respiratory system,” said the Nasseris.
Boosting Immunity at Home
There are multiple ways that you can boost your immune system so that it works at its best. “The first step is to make sure you are staying active,” they explained. They recommend at least 30 minutes of exercise daily to increase blood flow, reduce inflammation, and help the cells stay oxygenated and able to fight off any germs the body encounters.
“Your nose is your body’s air filter and dust, debris, and germs, all enter your body through your nasal biome,” they said. Start by keeping this area clean, moist, and healthy. It’s crucial for keeping antigens out so that your body can fight off harmful pathogens. The doctors also add that this is extra important if you have allergies because your body reacts even when harmless dust or pollen particles enter the nasal biome, kicking your immune response into gear.
Getting a good night’s sleep is also an easy way to make sure your immune system is strong. “When you sleep, your body regenerates and rebuilds the cells so they are functioning at maximum capacity,” they explained. “If you are already sick, it is extra important to get adequate sleep because during that time your body releases specific antibodies that target the infected cells to repair and heal them so you can feel better faster,” they added.
Lifestyle, Diet, and Supplements
B Complexes and Vitamin D are both great for boosting immunity. However, it’s important to note that they work best when paired with other ingredients like calcium, zinc, and magnesium. “We call this ‘The Buddy System’ and many supplements use a mix of these vitamins and minerals to give the body exactly what it needs to function optimally,” they said.
You’ll also want to eat a well-balanced diet. “A lot of Americans are vitamin deficient, so adding supplements into your routine can ensure you’re getting all the nutrients you need to power your cells and stay healthy,” they explained. EUKA’s FiteVite Multi-Vitamin contains B Complexes and Vitamin D as well as zinc, magnesium, and calcium, to really kickstart your immune system and make sure your body is ready to fight off any pathogens.
A diet high in whole foods and lean protein should provide you with most of the vitamins and minerals you need to optimize your health. “Spinach, kale, and leafy greens offer a dose of vitamins C and K, and magnesium, while sweet potatoes and whole grains provide the body with fiber and iron,” they explained. Load up on berries for antioxidants that enhance immunity and don’t skip out on the h2O.
One thing to keep in mind is that stress can cause a lot of damage to our immune system. The stress hormone (aka cortisol) that we produce lowers the number of white blood cells that our bodies create to fight infection. “On the other hand, exercise, laughing, and spending time (even if it’s virtually!) with family and friends is crucial for keeping your immune system in tip-top shape,” they said. Boosting your mental health can really impact your physical health. Stay positive, get your body moving so it can create endorphins, and interact with others to help your overall well-being, and in turn, your immune system.
When in Doubt, See a Professional
“Over 40% of Americans are Vitamin D deficient, so you must see your physician each year to run proper tests and ensure that your vitamin levels are normal,” they explained. Bloodwork is an easy way for doctors to test for nutritional deficiencies and if you get your levels tested at your annual physical, that should be enough to determine what vitamins and minerals you need more of. “If you are experiencing any unusual fatigue, hair loss, dizziness, or lightheadedness, you should have your doctor test your nutrient levels since these are the most common symptoms of vitamin/mineral deficiency,” they said.
A true immunity boost won’t happen overnight, but these tips will help your body function better and stay healthy, even during these difficult times. Apart from wearing a mask and sanitizing your hands, it’s important to take care of yourself from the inside out. To learn more, follow the Nasseri doctors on Instagram!