A viral infection can bring our busy lives to a screeching halt, and the close link between viruses and immunity means both need to be addressed for a strong recovery to good health. Whether it’s a common cold, the flu, or a more severe viral illness, our bodies need space to heal and recover. Tapping into a natural approach to recovering from viral infections means focusing not just on overcoming the illness but also on strengthening our immune systems for future challenges.
Listen to your body and respect its needs when it comes viruses and immunity
When faced with a viral infection, our instinct is often to resist it. We push ourselves to continue our daily routines, hoping to power through the illness. However, it is that very resistance that can exacerbate stress and prolong the recovery process, so instead, don’t wait for that to happen but prioritise the rest your body is asking for. Resting allows your body to divert its energy towards healing rather than fighting against your own resistance.
Resting doesn’t mean complete inactivity; it means listening to your body, a vital element of any natural approach to health and healing. If you feel tired, allow yourself to sleep. Take short naps during the day if needed. When we give our bodies the rest they require, they can work more efficiently to combat the virus.
Proper hydration is also vital when combating a viral infection. It helps to flush toxins from your system and supports various bodily functions. Water also plays a critical role in maintaining the balance of bodily fluids, making it an essential element for overall health.
Incorporate herbal teas like green tea, rosehip, and liquorice into your hydration routine. These teas not only provide essential fluids but also offer additional health benefits. Green tea, for instance, is rich in antioxidants, while liquorice can soothe a sore throat.
A Nutrient-Rich Diet: Fuel for Recovery
The foods you consume during and after a viral infection can significantly impact your recovery. Opt for a diet featuring light and easily digestible options, such as juices, smoothies, and soups. These foods provide essential nutrients without placing unnecessary strain on your digestive system, with the added benefit of keeping up your fluid levels.
Consider incorporating alkaline foods into your diet, such as dark green leafy vegetables and other non-starchy vegetables, avocados, mushrooms, and dates. These foods can help maintain a balanced pH level in your body, creating an environment that is less favourable for viruses.
Fruits packed with vitamin C should also be on your menu. Kiwi, various citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes, pineapples, and various berries are excellent choices. Pineapple, in particular, supports lung health by aiding in mucus breakdown, which can be especially useful when dealing with respiratory infections.
Spices like garlic and ginger are culinary gems offering numerous health benefits. Their antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties make them valuable allies in the battle against viral infections. Integrate them into your diet by adding to juices, soups, salads, and vegetables. These spices enhance the flavour of your meals and provide your body with valuable compounds to support its natural defence mechanisms.
Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is another treasure with therapeutic potential. Ongoing scientific research continually reveals its remarkable health benefits. This golden elixir, the keystone of a Mediterranean diet, is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, making it an excellent addition to your recovery regimen.
Try drizzling EVOO over salads, using it as a base for sautéing vegetables, or simply enjoying it with a slice of whole-grain bread. Its potential to reduce inflammation and promote overall well-being is a testament to the wonders of nature.
You can also consider a good quality vitamin and mineral supplement and a Vitamin C supplement to ensure you keep those levels high and provide a good foundation for your recovery.
While recovering from a viral infection, it’s essential to address both viruses and immunity. By boosting your overall immunity and maintaining it, you can minimise the risk of future illnesses.
The critical balance between whether we get sick or not, or the degree to which we get sick, depends on the immune system’s strength in its ability to get ahead of the race concerning the invading microbes before they replicate and cause damage.
One of the critical areas that can get out of balance, especially if antibiotics are involved, is the gut microbiome, so consider a good quality probiotic to help repopulate the healthy bacteria and bring the gut back to equilibrium.
We are currently in times that, globally and personally, many are finding incredibly stressful. However, stress elevates cortisol levels, which can diminish immune function and disrupt hormonal balance.
If you can switch off the news, avoid the scare stories on the internet, and instead find positive ways to support your well-being and those you love, you will reduce your stress levels and thus improve your immunity. You could also listen to meditation tapes and practise relaxed deep breathing to help ground you and bring your energy down to the belly.
Spending time in nature, even walking in the park, is a simple way to help combat stress. Going to bed early to ensure you get enough restorative sleep can also be hugely beneficial, as adequate sleep is crucial for immune health. Also, and although this may seem counter-intuitive, by invigorating both your body and mind, cold showers help reduce stress levels. They are documented as improving immunity by increasing the number of white blood cells in your body.
Reducing or eliminating sugar from your diet can be highly beneficial. Sugar is known to reduce the number of white blood cells in the bloodstream, cells that are essential for combating invaders like bacteria and viruses. While it’s fine to indulge occasionally, consider offsetting the effects of sugar by including more green vegetables and salads in your diet. Remember to keep up with the garlic, especially some raw garlic, which has immune-boosting properties.
Cultivate a Positive Outlook: Mind over Matter
Finally, a healthy mindset is integral to a healthy immune system. Begin training your mind to focus on the positive aspects of any given situation. Learning to discern what you can change and what you cannot is essential. Take action where you can, and, for the rest, practice simple observation and deep breathing.
Recovering well from a viral infection is about considering viruses and immunity. By taking steps to not only overcome the illness but also strengthen your body’s natural defences, you will help yourself recover more thoroughly and bolster your immune system for any future challenges.