How to boost your immune system during coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic

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MAINE, Maine — As COVID-19 cases rise in Maine, it’s important to keep or strengthen your immune system.

Even though gyms are closed to follow CDC guidelines and proper social distancing, you can stay active these days by walking, running, biking, hiking, or doing home workouts.

Sean Soucy is the owner of Bangor Brewer Athletic Club in Brewer.

Soucy says the key these days is to set a routine and follow it every day.

Physical activity these days doesn’t have to mean a gym-style workout, you can use things you have at home to ease your workouts, like jugs of water as dumbbells, towels, ropes, and even chairs.

“Maybe I’m looking at cleaning up the garage, maybe I’m looking at painting the garage, maybe I’m looking at getting rid of old trees in one side of my yard,” said Soucy.

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Maintain good nutrition is one of the most important ways to boost your immune system. Remember that our immune system relies on the supply of nutrients to do its job. 

Mary Lavenway is a consultant dietician at Hannaford and recommends to think about eating a rainbow a day.

“Making sure that you are representing the color of the rainbow, so eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. They each have their own unique health benefits to it, so you want to think about the red group, green group, orange group, blue/purple group… frozen fruits can work really well cause the fresh stuff will go bad quickly,” said Lavenway.

All having a strong effect on your body.

“Zinc is a mineral that’s essential for us and we don’t hear a lot about it, but some of the best sources of zinc are seafood and meats,” said Lavenway.

Here are some key nutrients that could boost your immune system:

  • Vitamin C: broccoli, cantaloupe, cauliflower, kale, kiwi, orange juice, papaya, red, green or yellow pepper, sweet potato, strawberries, and tomatoes. 
  • Vitamin D:tuna, salmon, dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, cheese, eggs.
  • Prebiotics: Yogurt, kombucha, whole-grain bread, avocado, peas, soybeans, potato skins, apple cider vinegar.
  • Zinc: meat, shellfish, legumes, seeds, nuts, whole grains.
  • Proteins: egg, tuna, chicken, turkey.

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Another thing is staying hydrated with water, fruits and soups.

“Carry your water bottle around, or take a pitcher, put it in the fridge with some water in it and that will help you assess how much fluid, how much water am I really getting in a day,” said Lavenway.

Besides having a daily exercise routine and eating healthy, meditating, managing stress and having a good night’s sleep are some of the other tips to keep in mind these days.

There are also foods to avoid, like sugars and fats.

“Like junk food kind of thing, where they have a lot of sugar, but not a lot of nutrients,” said Lavenway.


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