Many people ask me…and if you also are wondering…
- How can I boost my immune system?
- How can I boost my immune system to fight viral infections?
- What vitamin is good for the immune system?
- Is there a shot to boost the immune system?
- What are the foods that weaken the immune system?
- What vitamins can boost my immune system?
- Does drinking alcohol decrease the immune system?
Let’s learn about….
Covid – 19 or Coronavirus was declared as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. The entire world is grappling with the dangers that this virus is posing to humanity, there are few measures that individuals can take to fight this pandemic.
There are also certain measures to improve your immunity which is of utmost importance at this juncture.
Individuals with pre-existing illnesses like diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory issues are at a higher risk of having COVID -19 complications. It also aggravates with age as the immunity reduces as one gets older. In the younger generation, with no underlying illnesses, COVID -19 can result in a minor infection, provided one has a strong.
Here is a list of measures you can undertake to improve your immunity.
Improve Your Diet
The food you eat plays a key aspect in determining your overall health and immunity. Eat low carb diets, as this will help control high blood sugar and pressure. A low carb diet will help slow down diabetes and focus on a protein-rich diet to keep you in good shape.
1. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a crucial participant in the army of immunity. It helps prevent the common cold and flu. It acts as a powerful antioxidant and protects us against damage induced by oxidative stress. For severe infections, including sepsis and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), vitamin C treatment has been shown to significantly improve symptoms in patients.
2. Vitamin D
Vitamin D supplements have a protective effect against respiratory tract infections. In India most of the people are deficient in Vitamin-D, but it is a fat soluble vitamin, so it’s best to consult with a doctor about taking a Vitamin D supplement to boost immune response.
Zinc is an important component to WBC (white blood corpuscles) which fights infections. Zinc deficiency often makes one more prone to flu, cold and other viral infections. It is advisable to take a zinc supplement, especially for older people.
Elderberries are rich in nutrients including minerals like phosphorus, potassium, iron, copper and vitamins, such as vitamin A, B, and C, proteins and dietary fibre. These have antibacterial and antiviral qualities which help fight cold and influenza.
5. Turmeric and Garlic
Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which boosts the immune function. Garlic has powerful anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties which enhances body immunity.
Along with maintaining a healthy lifestyle and taking supplements, the Indian health ministry has suggested few organic and natural ways to practise as preventive measures to fight COVID-19.
1. Regularly consume vegetables and fruits rich in Beta carotene, Ascorbic acid & other essential vitamins. Certain foods like mushrooms, tomato, bell pepper and green vegetables like broccoli, spinach are also good options to build resilience in the body against infections.
2. Have supplements rich in omega 3 & 6 fatty acids for your daily dose. Some natural immunity supplements include ginger, gooseberries (amla) and turmeric. Most of these superfoods are common ingredients in Indian dishes and snacks.
3. There are several herbs that help in boosting immunity like garlic, basil leaves (Tulsi) and black cumin. Certain seeds and nuts like sunflower seeds, flax seed, pumpkin seeds and melon seeds are excellent sources of protein and vitamin E.
4. Probiotics like yoghurt, Yakult and fermented food are also excellent sources to rejuvenate the composition of gut bacteria, which is important for nutrient absorption by the body. These are good options for the older generation too.
Other Lifestyle Tips
1. Take Appropriate Sleep
Good sleep time for 7-8 hours is the best way to help your body to build immunity, inadequate sleep will leave you tired and impair your brain activity. The lack of sleep will prevent the body from replenishing energy and this will impair other bodily functions that will have negative impact on your immunity.
2. Stay Hydrated
Drink more than 8-10 glasses of water every day, to stay hydrated. Water will help flush out the toxins from the body and lower the chances of getting infection. You may include juices made of citrus fruits and coconut water, to beat the heat and boost immunity.
3. Don’t Skip Exercise
A good diet and an exercise routine is very important. Do exercise regularly, even light exercise will go a long way in releasing the toxins from your body. It is strongly recommended to exercise for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on your stamina.
If you are not in a habit of exercising yet, then it is a good time to start. Regular exercise improves metabolism, which has a direct positive relation with immunity.
4. Destress Yourself
You might have experienced at some time specially, during these times, a prolonged period of staying indoors has its implications on your mental wellbeing. Anxiety, restlessness and stress around the pandemic is another concern that is affecting millions across the world. There are few steps we can follow regularly to help relieve our stress, stress is known to have an adverse effect on immunity.
5. Practice meditation
Stress releases the hormone known as cortisol, which impairs the response to immediate surroundings and makes your body more susceptible to infections, you feel constantly anxious. The best way to relieve stress is through meditation, it is a tried and tested activity to calm the nerves
6. Avoid Smoking, alcohol and other addictive substances
Certain habits like smoking, alcohol consumption and substance abuse have a direct relation between weakened body defences and respiratory illnesses. Active and passive smoking has proven to weaken your lung capacity and destroy the cells lining your respiratory tracts, these cells are crucial to fight viruses that enter through your nasal orifices. It has been proven that individuals who engage in heavy alcohol consumption tend to suffer from ARDS (Acute Respiratory distress syndrome) which is one of the conditions caused by Covid 19 infection.
7. Avoid Travelling
Avoid all kinds of non-essential travels. Avoid being exposed to the public transport system and public places to avoid any likelihood of exposure. Just in case you have to travel, make sure to cover your nose and mouth with a mask and carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, at all times. Don’t forget to sanitize each time you touch a surface, as Covid 19 strain can stay on surfaces for a few hours to days. Remember to use your non-dominant hand while accessing the doorknobs and handles, as these are frequently touched by many people.
The Ministry of AYUSH has recommended the following self-care guidelines as preventive measures and to improve immunity with special reference to respiratory health.
- Prefer warm water throughout the day.
- Practice Meditation, Yogasana, and Pranayama.
- Increase the use of Turmeric, Cumin, Coriander and garlic.
- Drink herbal tea or decoction of Holy basil(Tulsi), Cinnamon, Black pepper, Dry Ginger and Raisin.
- Avoid sugar and replace it with jaggery if needed.
- Apply Ghee (clarified butter), Sesame oil, or Coconut oil in both the nostrils to keep the nostrils clean.
- Inhale steam with Mint leaves and Cumin seeds.
All the above-mentioned tips will definitely help, the need of the hour is a quick boost to your immunity system to keep it fighting fit.
Most important of all…
The battle against the Covid-19 pandemic is fought by our health care workers, we can do our bit by limiting our exposure to the virus by staying indoors, social distancing, eating healthy, hydrating, and following basic hygiene protocol.