8 Ways To Equip Your Immune System Against Coronavirus
As the whole world is currently battling with the deadly virus called Coronavirus (COVID-19), which as killed over 19,000 worldwide and has the record of 440,318 cases as at the time of writing this article.
Scientists, doctors and researchers are currently busy working round the clock seeking the vaccine to this deadly virus. It is true that there is no specific vaccine to cure coronavirus at the moment but yet 112,000 people (world record) who tested positive have recovered fully and discharged. Which means having the virus is not a death sentence.
World Health Organization (WHO) has given us some preventive measures such as regular washing of hands with soap and clean water, frequent use of the hand sanitizer, use of face mask, social distancing etc.
This article is focused on how to keep your immune system healthy against coronavirus and other diseases.
#1 Eat a Healthy Diet
The nutrients you get from food — in particular, plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices — are essential to keeping your immune system functioning properly, according to Yufang Lin, MD, an integrative medicine doctor at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. “Many plant-based foods also have antiviral and antimicrobial properties, which help us fight off infection,” Dr. Lin says.
For example, research shows that spices like clove, oregano, thyme, cinnamon, and cumin contain antiviral and antimicrobial properties that prevent the growth of food-spoiling bacteria like Bacillus subtilis and Pseudomonas fluorescens, harmful fungi like Aspergillus flavus, and antibiotic-resistant microorganisms like Staphylococcus aureus, according to a review published in June 2017 in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.
Furthermore, the zinc, folate, iron, selenium, copper, and vitamins A, C, E, B6, and B12 you get from the food you eat are the nutrients your immune system needs to do its job, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Each one plays a unique role in supporting immune function.
Research suggests, for example, that vitamin C deficiency may increase the likelihood of infection, according to a review published November 2017 in Nutrients. Our bodies do not produce this essential, water-soluble vitamin on their own, so we need to get it through foods (such as citrus fruits, kiwis, and several cruciferous vegetables). You can get 95 milligrams (mg), or 106 percent of the daily vitamin C you need by snacking on a half-cup of red pepper, according to the NIH.
Protein is also critical for immune health. The amino acids in protein help build and maintain immune cells, and skimping on this macronutrient may lower your body’s ability to fight infections. In one study published February 2013 in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, mice who ate a diet consisting of only 2 percent protein were more severely impacted by the flu than mice who ate a “normal protein” diet with 18 percent protein. But once researchers started feeding the first group a “normal protein” diet, the mice were able to get rid of the virus.
When it comes to a diet that supports good immune health, focus on incorporating more plants and plant-based foods. Add fruits and veggies to soups and stews, smoothies, and salads, or eat them as snacks, Lin says. Carrots, broccoli, spinach, red bell peppers, apricots, citrus fruits (such as oranges, grapefruit, tangerines), and strawberries are all great sources of vitamins A and C, while seeds and nuts will provide protein, vitamin E, and zinc, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Additional sources of protein and zinc include seafood, lean meat, and poultry, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
# 2 Manage Your Stress Level
Having inadequate rest or poor stress management level is harmful to your immune system. One of the best ways to boost your immune system is to manage your stress level well.
Poor stress management will hinder the immune system from protecting the body against potential threats from germs like viruses and bacteria.
You must embrace effective stress-reduction techniques. There are different types of stress-reduction techniques such as blogging, writing, fishing, meditating, watching films etc. The point is, just pick the one that is good for you and make sure you practice it daily.
#3 Have Quality Sleep
Sleep is a time when your body produces and distributes key immune cells like cytokines (a type of protein that can either fight or promote inflammation), T cells (a type of white blood cell that regulates immune response), and interleukin 12 (a pro-inflammatory cytokine), according to a review published in Pflugers Archiv European Journal of Physiology.
Not having quality sleep will make your immune system weak and make it less able to defend your body against harmful invaders and viruses.
Your body heals and regenerates while you sleep, making adequate sleep critical for a healthy immune response.
#4 Say No to Smoking
Smoke is a great enemy to your immune system. It destroys it gradually without notice.
The chemicals released by cigarette smoke — carbon monoxide, nicotine, nitrogen oxides, and cadmium affect the growth and function of immune cells, like cytokines, T cells, and B cells.
Say no to smoking and choose healthy life.
#5 Say No to Alcohol
Alcohol taking is associated with a range of negative health effects, including lowered immune function.
Drinking alcohol makes your body too busy trying to detoxify your system to bother with normal immune system function.
#6 Have Chronic Conditions? Keep The Symptoms Under Control
Proper management of chronic conditions such as heart disease, asthma and diabetes is very important to the boosting of your immune system. Inappropriate management of the symptoms of any of the above chronic conditions affect the immune system and increase the risk of infections. This is why the coronavirus is mostly successful in killing those with chronic conditions.
#7 Use of Herbs and Supplements
Another way of boosting your immune system is through the use of herbs and supplements. Garlic, astragalus, milk thistle, ginseng, green tea, black cumin, and licorice are just a few herbs that have been reported to have immune-boosting benefits. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before including herbs and supplements into your regimen. They may produce side effects, especially when combined with other herbs, supplements, or medications.
#8 Frequent Handwashing
Frequent handwashing is a simple and effective way to prevent the spread of respiratory infections like colds, flu, coronavirus, diarrheal illnesses, and other infectious conditions. Some germs are easily transmissible from person to person when we come into contact with one another (coronavirus). It’s easy to transfer germs from your hands to your nose, eyes, and mouth, if you touch them. This can get you sick. Wash your hands with soap under running water. Scrub the fronts and backs of your hands as well as in between fingers. Antibacterial soap and hand sanitizer may confer additional protection against microorganisms. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol for times when you don’t have access to soap and water.