As of 7th of August, more than 19,413,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in over 180 countries and territories, resulting in more than 720,500 deaths. Chinese scientists managed to identify how covid-19 behaves once infecting the human body. Based on their observations we would like to share a few valuable tips to help you boost your immune system and some post-exposure prophylaxis advice.
Non- dietary Immune System Boosters
There is no doubt strong immune system can easily fight the Coronavirus so take notes:
- Adequate sleep (at least 7-8 hours)
Without enough sleep, your body makes fewer cytokines, a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation.
- Relax! Reduce your stress load
When you Stress out, your body releases the hormone cortisol increases your inflammatory response and leaves you more vulnerable to infections and disease. So, take a deep breath take advantage being at home to rest and relax.
Scientific papers have shown that regular exercise can boost the immunity system and lower the levels of inflammatory body substances. Such substances have been linked with cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis and even some cancers.
Diet – The key to immunity
I am pretty sure you came across the phrase ‘’you are what you eat’’ before. Pharmaceutical companies earn billions every year by selling ‘’fast solutions’’ and vaccinations to tackle diseases and viruses. Such ‘’solutions’’ do not come cheap if not for your pocket definitely not for your health as they cause tons of adverse health consequences. Since the pharma industry works closely with doctors and the media, you will hardly hear that diet, is in reality, the key solution to the problem and the strongest mean of health defense.
Undeniable example? Many African countries like Chad had only a few cases of coronavirus and no deaths. These countries are considered 3rd world but in reality, their diet consists of fresh local roots, fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins and minerals and let’s not forget the fact that they are out in the sun a lot, getting enough vitamin D.
The immune system needs well over 20 different micronutrients to work properly. And before you think of supplementing that sometimes does more harm than good, bellow we list some great food choices that can naturally boost your immunity.
- Vitamin D – The sun’s vitamin
Just 10 to 20 minutes or so of direct sun exposure several times a week to your arms, legs, abdomen and back is enough to maintain sufficient vitamin D levels the natural way. Vitamin D has a role in regulating the immune response and help suppress pro-inflammatory cells. It also protects the lungs and respiratory system from infections by excreting anti-microbial immune cells. In the winter months we can make sure we get enough of this vitamin by eating vitamin D rich foods such as fatty fish (e.g. salmon, sardines, tuna etc.) eggs, and other fortified foods (e.g. Cereals, plant based milk etc).
This trace element is vital of the proper function of the immunity system. Selenium deficiency can lead to poor ability of the body to fight viral infections. Good sources of selenium include Brazil nuts which are the richest source followed by; fish, shellfish, meat, chicken, beans, lentils, spinach, mushrooms and bananas.
Your gut is the place where a lot of various mechanism of actions take place. Probiotics or in other words good friendly bacteria inhabit the gut and inhibit the growth of other harmful bacteria. A large study has shown that probiotics promote the production of natural antibodies in the body and boost immune cells. Another study including over 570 children found that taking Lactobacillus GG (a type of probiotic) reduced the frequency and severity of respiratory infections by 17%. You can boost friendly gut bacteria by consuming yogurt, kefir, miso, kombucha, pickles etc.
A mineral that is known to play a central role in the immune system, and people that are deficient are highly susceptible to a variety of foreign bacteria and viruses. A Wide variety of foods contain zinc. Oyster are a great source, following by red meat. Vegetarians can obtain adequate amounts of zinc through beans, nuts, grains and fortified breakfast cereals.
- Vitamins A, C and E
Antioxidant vitamins A, C and E found in fruits, vegetables herbs and spices are found to keep our immune system working well. Dark green vegetables e.g. spinach, kale, chard amaranth and broccoli. Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkins/squashes, mangos and papayas. Citrus fruits, tomatoes, kiwi, green, red, yellow paper. Vegetable oils such as Olive Oil, Coconut Oil and Palm oil. So, set a target to consume at least 5 portions of fruits or vegetables a day. – it keeps the doctor away!
Omega-3 fatty acids are very essential. They function by raising the activity of white blood cells that kill bacteria. These fats also aid in strengthening the cell membranes hence accelerating healing and improving resistance to infection. Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines are a great source of omega-3, and for vegan/vegetarian options include seaweed, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, kidney beans & soybean oil.