Nowadays, we seem very curious to know how can we avoid catching corona virus? we are washing our hands, faces, and other body parts persistently. We are even keeping a safe social distance from other people. Countries, cities, even buildings are getting locked down to minimize the infections of the CORONAVIRUS.
People are assuming that a well balanced immune system might protect themselves from the hunt of COVID-19. Many curious minds are scrabbling around the ways & means to boost human immune system.
Let’s know what actually is the immune system ?
According to Google ( OXFORD Dictionary) Immune system is the organs and processes of the body that provide resistance to infection and toxins. Organs include the thymus, bone marrow, and lymph nodes.
What if we boost our immune system to protect us from contagious infection of CORONAVIRUS?
Well, this doesn’t work the way we are thinking. Immune system fights against all the viral and infections. But it can’t resist CORONAVIRUS from spreading into the body. Yes, this is right that strong immune system helps to reduce viral load and Pathogens. Thus it minimizes risks.
Furthermore, Human immune system is not designed to be boosted. Immune system can only be supported by nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to carry on with the normal functions of the body.
What can we do then?
A well-balanced lifestyle with healthy diet can help immune system work properly round the clock. We extract most of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals from our diet (meals). sometimes we take supplements to boost our immune system which are mostly misleading. In severe cases of malnutrition and vitamin deficiency, Doctors prescribe oral doses which is effective.
Vitamin D (Calciferol)
Vitamin D is mainly associated with the healthy development of our bones, joints and muscles. However, Vitamin D works far more than that.
Vitamin D is essential to our immune system. It helps body to produce antibody in blood cell.
Vitamin D is often produced when our skin in exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D can also be found in oily fish, egg yolk, mushroom,meat, and offal. However, for most of the population, a maintenance dose of vitamin D in the form of a supplement is required over the winter months, recommended by the NHS at a dose of 10 mcg Vitamin D3 daily (Ref: Click here)
Zinc is an essential mineral that is naturally present in some foods, added to others, and available as a dietary supplement. Zinc is also found in many cold lozenges and some over-the-counter drugs sold as cold remedies. Zinc is involved in numerous aspects of cellular metabolism. It is required for the catalytic activity of approximately 100 enzymes and it plays a role in immune function. A daily intake of zinc is required to maintain a steady state because the body has no specialized zinc storage system. (Ref: Click Here)
Zinc can be found in plenty of foods, including oyster, crab, lobster meat, beans and pulses.
Vitamin B (Complex)
Vitamin B6, B12 and B9, have been found to work for a healthy immune system.
Vitamin B12 is naturally found in fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk and milk products, so where vegans are not adequately supplementing their diets they can develop a deficiency.
Vitamin B6 is needed to absorb vitamin B12 and to make red blood cells and cells of the immune system. It can be found in foods including beef liver, chickpeas, tuna, salmon, rice, cereals and onions.
Vitamin B9 is commonly named as Folic Acid. Folic Acid can be found in dark green leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, seafood, eggs and meat (Ref: Click here) .
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
Ascorbic acid is commonly named as Vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant. It plays a vital role to fight against free-radicals which causes a various complexities in human body like cancer and cardio vascular diseases. Vitamin C repairs damaged cells and tissues. Vitamin C is commonly used to treat Cold and Flu. It is also used to treat skin diseases (Ref: Click here).
Vitamin C is very available. Fruits and vegetables like orange, kiwi, lemon, guava, grapefruit, myrobalan (Indian Amla) and vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and capsicums are rich, natural sources of vitamin C. Other vitamin C-rich fruits include papaya, cantaloupe and strawberries are the main sources.
As our body doesn’t store Vitamin C, we can try homemade juices and salads to enrich Vitamin C level.
Gut Microbiome (Taking Probiotics and Prebiotics)
The microbiota is the community of trillions of bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms that colonize our bodies, and the microbiome is the collection of them in a particular environment, in this case, the gut (intestine and stomach). This gastrointestinal tract harbor is not only a vast microbiome, but it also contains a large pool of immune cells (Ref: Click here).
The gut microbiome is connected to our immune system. Thus keeping those bacteria alive with Prebiotics and Probiotics are very essential.
Prebiotics is the non-digestible part of foods (fiber). Good bacteria in our gut feed themselves by eating these fiber like part of the foods.
Probiotics is the live bacteria which can be found in yogurt, artisan cheeses and many fermented goods including kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, miso and kombucha. Probiotic capsules are found very commonly and prescribed by Doctors nowadays. Yogurt is very available option. We can easily make this at our home.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 Fatty acids works for our metabolism and immune system. These fatty acids helps to reduce the risks of having cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
Omega 3 Fatty acids can be found in plant oils, nuts and seeds. Flax seed is rich in Omega 3. Oily Fish like Mackerel, Salmon, Tuna, Cod, Sardines are enriched in Omega 3. Oyster, Caviar, Eggs of grass/insect fed chicken, Chia seed, Walnuts, Soybean also contain Omega 3.
What else should we do apart from taking foods?
Only food habit can’t save us. We should put emphasize on our physical exercise and mental well being.
Physical Exercise: “Sweat Saves Life”
Physical exercises is a must thing to keep our immune system well functioning. Physical exercises help to detoxify our body. Regular physical exercise helps delivering nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to each organ of the body.
Walking, Running, Swimming, and Cycling are very basic exercises. We don’t need hardcore exercises. Regular basic exercises is life saving.
Cardiovascular exercises can be done very easily. We may use stairs rather than using elevator lifts. We can play music and try Skipping.
There is nothing like stress free life. Stress in inclusive of our life. Heavy mental stress certainly causes a great impact on our immune system. People with acute stress have many physical complexities like higher blood pressure, gastrointestinal diseases, and cardiac diseases.
Meditation and a good lifestyle can reduce stress level.
Moderate Drinking and Smoking
Many of us are having a serious drinking and smoking habit. These habits are significantly damaging many major organs of our body including lungs, heart, liver and kidney. Smokers are likely to have lung disease. Drinking alcohol may lead to serious kidney damage.
Altogether drinking alcohol and smoking reduce the functionality of our immune system
What we have learned by this article…
- Maintaining a well-balanced diet by selecting perfect foodstuff
- Doing basic physical exercise on regular basis
- Maintaining healthy lifestyle
- Maintain hygiene and good habits
Together the above mentioned key points can provide a great support to our immune system.
This article is written on the basis of a feature published on Al Jazeera. Click here to read the feature