Supercharge your Immune System
Note: Please scroll right down to the "Bonus" section for the most important takeaways.
Hi. I hope you and your family are doing well.
These are difficult times for all of us. I'm thinking of it as the ultimate test to our lifestyles, community response, physical & mental health and financial planning.
The only long-term way to beat the pandemic is to make yourself immune to the virus. Social distancing is done to reduce hospitalization load (a temporary solution), and we can't kill viruses selectively. I'll be talking about how you can safeguard yourself against the virus by ensuring that your immune system is in its top shape.
A combination of these methods and the occasional paracetamol helped me get through coronavirus and get well within 2–3 days of showing the first symptoms. I did have a lot of fatigue, though, which took almost a week to normalize.
Read the references hyperlinked for a better understanding of the claim being made.
- Eat a lot of healthy, "diverse" food. Include fruits, vegetables, eggs, dry fruits, etc., in your diet. Make new dishes but avoid eating too much fried, oily, spicy food. Take vitamin and zinc supplements as advised by your doctor and consider taking Giloy, Tulsi, Shilajit or Ashwagandha. Consult your doctor before falling into the danger of taking in a bad cocktail of too many supplements and getting worse. Only consume what you know works.
- Hydrate yourself well. If you're bored of drinking plain water, drink Shikanji, Electrol, soups and shakes. Don't fret about going to the loo once every couple of hours. Do avoid cold foods and drinks, though.
Sleep well and at the same time every day. Ensure your sleep quota is a little bit on the higher side because the virus is more or less all around us. Sleeping more ensures that your body is getting the necessary downtime to allocate its energy to the immune system.
- Vaccinate as soon as they become available to you. Vaccinations are proving to be greatly beneficial: maybe not so much in avoiding infection, but reducing the severity of symptoms and preventing hospitalization and deaths. Please believe in the power of science (it's what helps you read this article on your phone and has pushed life expectancies from 45–50 years to 70–90 years). They have been approved after multiple rounds of trials conducted throughout 2020.
- Exercise. If you're healthy, consider doing cardio, which will help you with your lung capacity and stroke volume, and will also leave you looking good.
You might have come across these things already. But there are some things people don't seem to talk about as much, but they're important. Let me cover them in the bonus section.
Breathe from your diaphragm and breathe deeply. That might make your tummy look bigger, but you're at home anyway! Here's a book recommendation.
Definitely try out the Wim Hof Method. It consists of a mixture of deep breathing, cold exposure techniques and exercise. A large body of scientific studies also hints that it impacts immune response by a great deal. Find an animated explainer about immune effects here and a doctor dissecting the method here.
This is of particular interest to me since I've been studying its effects since 2019. I was the kid at school with a runny nose who used to get sick every other month. I've noticed tremendous improvement in my immune response in the last two years, and the method could be a contributing factor.
It hardly takes 10 minutes to do and feels amazing. Before starting, I'd recommend starting on an empty stomach and being at a safe, comfortable place - preferably a sofa or a bed.
Avoid stressing out too much. Not only because it feels bad, but because it reduces your immune response by a great deal. Almost all anxiety is perceived as a "physical emergency" by your caveman brain, which is definitely not the case in real life.
As much as possible, avoid news (keep yourself updated by going through relevant, major headlines for 5–10 minutes a day), don't push yourself to work too much, talk to friends and family over the phone, read books and watch good movies. Interestingly, some stress is better than no stress at all.
Get closer to nature if possible; humanity has spent its time in woods much longer than it has spent its time in front of screens. It's then not a surprise to feel uneasy when you're so far away from "home."
A hardcore way to beat stress would be to imagine yourself in the worst-case scenario and then ensure that you'll be able to get through the situation and the world will normally work even when it's all over. Because it really will. It always has. Get comfortable with uncertainty. Read more about stoicism.
There's no one-stop cure to coronavirus, just like many other viral diseases. The medicines prescribed only serve to trigger an immune response by creating suitable conditions. We must understand this and work accordingly.
If you resonate with the ideas mentioned and find them helpful, please share this article widely in your circles. If there's anything you find wrong or questionable, please contact me and help me fix it. Regardless of where you're at - someone who has recovered already, someone who's recovering or someone who hasn't caught up with the disease, a strong immune response can benefit everyone. Not only benefit them for this pandemic but in general for any other bacterial or viral infection that may pop up.
We are the strongest species on this planet only because we cooperate better than anyone else out there. Let's try doing the same once again.