The immune systems are designed to fight off bacteria and viruses. But the immune system can get weakened by many things typical of modern life like stress, toxins, lack of exercise etc. This prevents our bodies from fighting off illness effectively.
A tough question to answer,
Can Pandemic Covid 19 be prevented by immune-boosting foods and activities?
Human’s immune system is delicate and also a complex system with many different components. Helping one section may impair another, or boosting a specific section may have nothing to do with this virus.
Plus, how do we know if something that helps with another virus will help with this new covid 19? This is really difficult to say. But keeping your immune system healthy is very important in preventing or combating overall infection and diseases. Healthy lifestyle choices by taking nutritious foods, doing 30mins of exercises a day and getting adequate sleep are the most important ways to boost up your immune system.
A study showed that supplementing with vitamins, minerals, herbs can improve immunity and protect against illness. In the case of 2019 COVID-19, it’s important to understand that no specific diet or supplement other than social distancing and maintaining proper hygiene can protect you from COVID-19. Currently, no research or thesis supports the use of any supplement to protect against COVID-19.
Does this virus always show symptoms?
In many cases, it’s seen that it’s possible you may be infected with the virus without showing symptoms but you can be the carrier. So it’s your responsibility to maintain excellent hygiene and practising social isolation as much as possible to avoid spreading it to risk individuals
Risk prone individuals
Remember if you have an infant or older person or patients have any underlying health conditions (including cancer, diabetes, heart diseases and high blood pressure), the person has an increased risk of severe symptoms and sometimes it becomes fatal too. Whereas if you’re young and otherwise healthy, your risk of complications is much lower hence if you contract the virus, you’ll have mild symptoms but fully recover within a couple of weeks. Still, we must follow every necessary precaution to avoid getting the infection.
But with coronavirus continuing to spread, it’s very important than ever to support the immune system as well. We can implement certain steps or do some modifications in our general routine.
Modification to be done in the routine :
We increase stress and can affect our immunity by not sleeping enough. Because sleeping is very important to rebuilding a struggling immune system. Adequate sleep is necessary for at least 7 to 8 hrs.if having difficulty, drink turmeric milk or chamomile tea before sleep. And also practice the art of meditation every day before sleep.
Focusing on the uncertainties of the present or future can raise the cortisol levels, which may negatively impact our immune function. Try to stay calm by taking deeper breaths 2 to 3 times a day and also practise the art of doing meditation for 10 mins regularly and start reading novels that will give a positive attitude towards life.
Exercise can be one of the best things to do to boost your immunity. But too much exercise is also stressful on the body and can be tough on our immune system. Some studies prove that those who exercise tend to have fewer infections than those who do not. Some studies show bouts of strenuous exercises (>1.5 hours with an average heart rate >75% maximum) may temporarily decrease immune function. WHO recommends 30 minutes of physical activity in a day for adults, and one hour a day for children.
Sugar, processed meat, refined vegetable oils, and alcohol tend to be inflammatory foods and they weaken the immune system. That’s why it can be really helpful to remove these inflammatory foods and start eating anti-inflammatory foods like berries, nuts, seeds , legumes etc.
Stay away from toxins
Toxins can be very bad for the immune system. Like mycotoxins from mould are dangerous for destroying immunity. Many other toxins seem to have a detrimental impact on immunity as well. So try to minimize exposure to chlorinated drinking water, pesticides, aromatic hydrocarbons heavy metals, and food additives.
It is shown that individuals with Type 2 diabetes, Cancer, Hypertension and other metabolic conditions are at higher risk of complications from COVID-19. The evidence is clear that low-carb diet and ketogenic diets with the guidance of dietitian can be effective tools for treating and reversing these metabolic conditions.
A recent observational study showed that a keto diet reduces the risk of mice infected with influenza. That’s a far cry from saying a keto diet will do the same for influenza in humans or for COVID-19. But still, we can maintain a low carb diet for health and take vegetables, fruits ,good quality plant proteins in more amount.
Immunity boosting foods
To boosting up the immunity, you can eat immunity supporting foods like a good amount of citrus fruits, garlic, ginger, broccoli, and spinach. If your immune system is already weak, it can also be helpful to supplement with key vitamins and minerals that may have become depleted like Vitamin C, Vitamin B, Vitamin D, and Zinc.
Drink in moderation
In times of stress, some people turn to alcohol as a coping mechanism. While meditation walks, and mindfulness exercises are likely healthier ways of coping, for some they aren’t enough, and alcohol adds a little something extra.
Vitamin C is said to help in preventing the common cold. Also, this vitamin can help to maintain healthy skin that provides a barrier to germs and other harmful invaders. It’s better if you start incorporating citrus fruits like kiwi, lemon, guava, grapefruit, and vegetables such as cauliflower,brussels sprouts and capsicums are rich, sources of vitamin C.
In recent years, people have started taking high doses of Vitamin D for boosting immunity. But is this really an effective technique? A review of 25 randomized trials found that taking a Vitamin D supplement seemed to have a mild protective effect against respiratory tract infections in most people. It’s better if you start enriching your diet with fatty fish, like salmon, Foods fortified with vitamin D such as some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, cereals and cheese to boost overall health. Also, try getting sunshine for at least 15mins a day between 11 am to 3 pm.
Zinc involved in the white blood cell response to infection. People who are deficient in zinc are more prone to getting cold, flu, and other viruses. Try taking good quality chicken,mushroom,lentils,whole-grain foods,nuts,legumes,dark chocolate etc.
You can also support your immune system by regularly eating natural yoghurt and artisan cheeses, which contain live microbes. Another source of natural probiotics is bacteria and yeast-rich drinks like kefir (fermented milk) or kombucha (fermented tea).
Turmeric is a spice commonly used in Indian cuisine, including curries. It contains a bright-yellow compound known as curcumin, which might enhance immune function.
If you are worried about getting fresh fruits veggies while quarantined, frozen fruit, berries and vegetables are just as healthy as their fresh counterparts and will last much longer. Canned fruit, veggies like beans and pulses are a long-lasting option.
Garlic, a popular herb widely believed to have antibacterial and antiviral effects, helping to fight the common cold.
A 2014 randomized controlled trial found that people who took a garlic supplement had fewer colds and recovered quickly from colds than people who didn’t take garlic.
Your overall health benefit from the following even if you don’t become exposed,
- Eating a HEALTHY BALANCED diet that minimizes high blood sugar
- Prioritizing 7 to 8 hrs of sleep
- Managing your stress level.
- Stopping smoking or drinking.
- Participating in a moderate exercise that you enjoy.
- Enjoy warm liquids or soups.
”The more actions we take to keep ourselves generally healthy, the better.”
Good hand hygiene and social distancing can help prevent catching the virus. Doing what you can to reduce specific risk factors may help your body recover quickly if you do become exposed.