If you have been sick with COVID, your immune system has been working overtime behind the scenes to get you well. Your immune system is your first line of defense, not only for preventing you from getting sick again but also for fighting off your lingering COVID symptoms so you can feel like yourself again.
Your immune system uses a system of proteins and chemicals to fight off viruses like COVID, as well as infections, parasites, and harmful bacteria. The stronger your immune system is, the less likely you are to get sick, and the faster you’ll recover if you do.
Unfortunately, your immune system can become run down when you’re ill. And let’s face it, life happens. You don’t always have time to take care of yourself the way you should. But your immune system is extremely important, so nurturing it should be a top priority.
Here are some things you should know about recovering from COVID and what you can do to re-boost your immune system naturally.
How long does it take to recover from COVID?
If you’re dealing with lingering symptoms from COVID, you are probably wondering how long it’s going to take for your body to recover. Unfortunately, this infection causes severe inflammation throughout the body, especially in the lungs and other vital organs.
Even after the virus has run its course, it may take time for the inflammation to go away. You will likely continue to experience symptoms until the inflammation is gone. Your lingering symptoms may include muscle weakness, extreme fatigue, severe headaches, insomnia, low-grade fever, and even memory lapses.
Some people even experience long-term effects that go on for months, including joint pain, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, and loss of taste and/or smell. Unfortunately, recovery time can vary greatly from person to person, ranging from a week to a month or more.
Utilizing the strategies below will help to re-boost your immune system and reduce the inflammation naturally, hopefully reducing your recovery time as much as possible.
That being said, if your symptoms go on for weeks without improvement, you should contact your doctor for advice. You should also contact your doctor if you’re having difficulty breathing or your coughing is so severe it’s interfering with your sleep.
1. Take care of your gut.
Did you know that most of your immune system resides in your gut? One of the best ways to re-boost your immune system after COVD is to take care of your gut health. That means eating a whole food diet that includes lots of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables.
Prioritize fiber-rich foods like whole grains and legumes. Healthy fats like olive oil, avocados, nuts, and other omega-3 rich foods are also important. Fermented foods are your best friend right now, so try to eat some yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, or kefir every day.
2. Detoxify to support your liver.
Your liver works hard to remove toxins from your body, including viruses like COVID. It’s also responsible for breaking down fats and filtering the blood. Proper liver function is crucial for recovering from lingering symptoms and getting your energy levels back to where you need them to be.
Detoxing through your feet is a great way to remove heavy metals, pesticides, and other chemicals from your system. By lowering your toxic burden, you are giving your liver a fresh start so that it can do its job more effectively. It’s a critical first step in boosting the immune system and recovering from any illness, including COVID.
Including more cruciferous vegetables like kale, cabbage, and broccoli along with drinking lots of water can also support detoxification naturally.
3. Exercise mindfully.
Exercise is wonderful for flushing toxins out of the body and clearing the airways. It also reduces chronic stress, which can be incredibly hard on your immune system. That said, overdoing it with exercise when your immune system is already run down will only slow your recovery.
When it comes to exercising after COVID, listen to your body. If you’re feeling tired and run down, take a day off. Walking, yoga and swimming are all wonderful, low-impact activities for easy back into working out after you’ve been sick.
4. Lower your stress level.
We know it’s easier said than done but lowering your stress level as much as possible is crucial for your recovery. Stress weakens your immune system and triggers an immune response by releasing the stress hormone cortisol. This causes inflammation throughout the body, which is harmful to your gut health and impairs the function of your organs.
It can also decrease the number of white blood cells your body has available to fight viruses and infections, prolonging your recovery and leaving you vulnerable to other illnesses. On top of that, you’re less likely to get enough rest or eat properly when you’re stressed out, which only reduces your immunity even further.
Practices like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercise lower stress levels and calm the nervous system, which can help to reduce inflammation. They’re also wonderful for lowering blood pressure and improving blood flow, which can help to speed your recovery.
Most importantly, get plenty of rest.
When it comes to natural ways to boost the immune system, there’s nothing better than getting plenty of rest. You’re more likely to get sick with some other illness if you’re not sleeping enough, too. Your body heals and replenishes proteins and cells while you sleep, so aim for seven or eight hours of sleep each night. And there’s no shame in taking a nap when you need one!
Guest post written by Nicole McCray.