Natural Ways To Support the Immune System During Covid-19

Medically reviewed by Dr. Chrysanthi Kazantzis
Medically reviewed by Dr. Chrysanthi Kazantzis on April 13, 2020
Dr. Chrysanthi Kazantzis, Naturopathic Doctor, Clinical Nutritionist, & Reiki Practitioner
Updated on April 14th, 2020
Immune System Support

There is no research on any natural medicines preventing or treating the COVID-19 virus. The following recommendations on ways to support the immune system(1) are for informational purposes only. Check with your primary care provider or naturopathic doctor on what options are right for you.

1. Hydration

Water has numerous health benefits, including keeping your blood and lymph flowing, helping your immune cells get to where they need to be.  

2. Eat Foods High in Vitamins, Minerals, & Nutrients

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  • Brightly colored vegetables: carrots, peppers, green beans, broccoli, cabbage, etc
  • Dark green leafy vegetables: spinach, kale, Romaine lettuce, collard greens
  • Fruit: Berries, grapes, kiwis, oranges, grapefruits, apples, papayas, black currants 
  • Lean protein and healthy fats serve many essential functions, including stabilizing blood sugar levels during times of stress. 
  • Healthy bacteria in sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, kombucha support the gut microbiome
  • Avoid sugar, alcohol, and refined and overly processed foods so as not to suppress or put unnecessary strain on immune system function. 

[Read: Best Foods During COVID-19 Isolation ]

3. Exercise

It supports your immune system. Fresh air and nature time is great. Be mindful to keep 6 feet of distance between you and others. At home, check out the free online classes with trainers. It is best not to go to the gym right now.

4. Sleep

Adequate sleep is essential for a well-functioning immune system. Aim for 7-8 hrs/night.

5. Relaxation, Fun, & Stress Reduction

mindfulness during coronavirus

Doing activities that are comforting and calming helps keep your stress (cortisol) levels down, which is helpful for the immune system. 

  • Relaxing activities: art, prayer, meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, leisure reading
  • Fun: family or virtual dance parties, board/card games, story-telling, laughter
  • Staying connected: Reach out to people to connect and check-in. Have one-on-one and group phone calls, video conversations (Ex. virtual dinners together). We are in this together. 
  • Heart Connecting: through prayer, through song, through meditation
  • Grounding Exercises: One practice is to plant your feet on the ground and picture roots coming out of your feet deep into the earth. Place a hand over your heart, feel your heart beating, and picture it emanating light and love throughout your body, to your family and friends, to your community, and to the world. 
  • Limit reading/watching the news to 1-2x/day. This includes reading on social media. 

[Read: Essential Components for Boosting Immunity ]

6. Use a Humidifier

If you have a humidifier, keep it running in your home. Higher air humidity reduces virus survival for other viruses and may decrease transmission of the COVID-19 virus. 

7. No Smoking

Because viral-like respiratory symptoms are worse in smokers, stopping or reducing smoking can allow the immune system to fight a lung infection more efficiently.

Nutrients For Immune System Support

  • Vitamin C
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Vitamin D

Food is medicine. Eating foods that contain these nutrients is a way to support the immune system.. Foods high in vitamin C include bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, kale, spinach, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, blackcurrants, apples, lychees, kiwis, strawberries, papayas, parsley, thyme, and rosehips.

Nuts and seeds are a great source of zinc and selenium, especially pumpkin seeds for zinc and Brazil nuts for selenium. Nutritional supplements are another option. 

[Read: Supplements to Enrich the immune system ]

Botanical Medicines

Again, there is no research on the effectiveness of these herbs for preventing the COVID-19 virus. Research has shown the following herbs to have antiviral properties. Consult your primary care doctor or naturopathic doctor before taking any herbal medicine.

  • Licorice Root
  • American Ginseng
  • Elderberry
  • Echinacea
  • Garlic

For nutritional and herbal supplements, quality is really important to ensure you are consuming the most effective and pure ingredients. Buying supplements from companies that do the third party, quality assurance testing is the best way to ensure this.

You can ask your naturopathic doctor as well. Please be cautious of any companies or individuals who offer natural medicine prevention, treatment, or cure for the COVID-19 virus. There is no research that has been done on the efficacy of any natural medicines to prevent or treat this specific virus.

About the Author:

chrysanthi kazantzisDr. Chrysanthi Kazantzis

Dr. Chrysanthi Kazantzis is a licensed Naturopathic Physician, a clinical nutritionist, and a level II Reiki practitioner. She pursued her interest in natural medicine at the University of Bridgeport where she received a Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine and a Masters in Nutrition. She is passionate about improving peoples’ health.

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