There are certain practices that we know can help end the Covid-19 pandemic, like wearing a mask, washing your hands and avoiding people. And when it comes to your individual health, there are habits that can help your immune system function at its best, according to leading infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Fauci previously said that for those who have vitamin D deficiency, taking supplements can reduce susceptibility to infection (and Fauci himself takes vitamin D) and that vitamin C is good antioxidant.But Fauci has stressed that supplements are not a silver bullet or a replacement for things like social distancing or wearing a mask.
"If you really want to keep your immune system working optimally, there are things that you do that are normal things,"Fauci told Business Insider Thursday. These science-backed strategies are"much more healthy living than giving yourself supplements of anything."
Here's are the simple habits that Fauci recommends:
"Get a reasonable amount of sleep," Fauci told Business Insider.
Studies have shown thatpeople who sleep six hours a night or less are four times more likely to catch a cold than those who sleep seven hours a night.The reason? When you sleep, your body produces proteins thatare responsible for fighting infection and reducing inflammation, according to the Mayo Clinic.But if you skimp on sleep, your body has a harder time fending off infection.
Other research suggests that sleep deprivation can impact how well your body responds to a vaccine.
"Get a good diet," Fauci told BI.
There's evidence that eating a balanced diet that includes a range of vitamins and minerals can help your immune cells function properly. On the flip side, eating a diet of highly-processed foods (think: sugary drinks, cookies, chips and lunch meats) can negatively affect a healthy immune system.
While one specific food can't boost your immune system, research has shown that nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, selenium, iron and protein can help immune cells function.