How to Boost Your Immune System Against Coronavirus

How to Boost Your Immune System Against Coronavirus

How to Boost Your Immune System Against Coronavirus

As the outbreak of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to spread rapidly the impact of it is being felt across all spheres of life.  With levels of anxiety and stress growing, the importance of understanding what the virus is and how to protect yourself is crucial

What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans. Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.  Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans.

What are the Signs of Infection?

Common signs of infection include;

  • Respiratory symptoms
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

How Do We Prevent Infection?

  • Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include:
  • Regular hand washing
  • Covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing
  • Thoroughly cooking meat and eggs
  • Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.[1]

The Importance of Boosting Your Immune System

As scientists continue working on antivirals and vaccines, many experts are suggesting the public take a holistic approach to general health maintenance.


A positive immune response can be essential to staying healthy.


The following suggestions are not ways to prevent you from contracting the virus but they are easy ways to keep yourself as healthy as possible.[2]

Get More Sleep

Sleep is important for your immune system. Research shows that sleep-deprived people can have suppressed immunity, meaning that they’re more at risk of catching viruses.

If you feel worried or you are anxious (about COVID-19, for example), you’re more at risk of sleep problems such as insomnia. And if you’re sleep-deprived, you’re more likely to be anxious.[3]

Lower Your Stress

There’s a strong link between your immune health and your mental health. “When you’re under chronic stress or anxiety, your body produces stress hormones that suppress your immune system. Stress causes an inflammatory response within the body that can greatly affect your fight-or-flight response by releasing too much of the stress hormone cortisol. It also leaves us more vulnerable to infections and disease, both in and out of the office.

Exercise

Low and moderate-intensity exercise naturally lowers cortisol levels and helps with immune-system function.[4]

Ensure Immune Fighting Nutrition[5]

Have a healthful, balanced diet filled with lots of colourful fruits and vegetables to ensure you’re getting enough important immune-fighting nutrients.

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamin A Helps maintain the mucosal lining of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts to protect against infection. Also strengthens the adaptive immune system to help fight invasive viruses and bacteria.
Food Sources: Orange foods, such as sweet potatoes, carrots and apricots; dark leafy greens, like spinach and kale; eggs; and bell peppers
Vitamin B6 Supports numerous biochemical reactions that help your body fight infection.
Food Sources: Meat, such as grass-fed beef, turkey or chicken breast; fish, such as salmon and tuna; pistachios, sunflower or sesame seeds; pinto or garbanzo beans; avocados; grains, such as amaranth.
Vitamin C Has a wide-ranging impact on the immune system, including the activity of T-lymphocytes, which recruit and coordinate the body’s disease-fighting cells, and phagocytes, which engulf and destroy foreign invaders.

Food Sources: Citrus fruits, such as oranges, grapefruits and tangerines; strawberries and papaya; vegetables, such as spinach, kale, Brussel sprouts and broccoli.

Vitamin D Regulates both the innate and adaptive immune systems to quickly identify and destroy pathogens that enter the body.

Food Sources: Fatty fish, such as salmon, herrings and sardines; shellfish, such as oysters and shrimp; egg yolks; mushrooms; fortified milk, juice or cereal. Your body also synthesizes Vitamin D when exposed to sunlight.

Zinc Develops and activates T-lymphocytes. When taken at the first sign of illness, zinc prevents cold viruses from binding and replicating in the mucous membranes of the nose.

Develops and activates T-lymphocytes. When taken at the first sign of illness, zinc prevents cold viruses from binding and replicating in the mucous membranes of the nose.
Food Sources: shellfish, such as cooked oysters, crab and lobster; meats, especially grass-fed beef and lamb; toasted wheat germ; spinach; cashews; pumpkin, squash and sesame seeds; dark chocolate.

Probiotics

Healthy human intestines support some 10-trillion microorganisms which not only break down particles of food, but also dangerous bacteria, viruses, germs and fungi. Keeping a healthy bacteria balance in your gut prevents pathogens from entering the bloodstream.

Seasonings and Spices

Raw Garlic contains alliin, which converts to allicin when the clove is crushed or chewed. Allicin increases the cold- and flu-fighting response of certain white blood cells.

Onions contain a variety of nutrients that boost your immune system, plus a powerful antioxidant called quercetin which has antiviral and histamine-regulating properties.

Ginger has powerful anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory compounds that target stuffy noses and keep rhinoviruses from binding to cells in the mucus membranes.

Turmeric contains curcumin, a compound widely known for its anti-inflammatory properties, but research has also shown that it has the ability to support and modulate the immune system.

Protein

The protein you consume is broken down into smaller pieces, known as amino acids. These pieces are then reassembled into proteins your body needs to function, including antibodies and complement proteins that support your immune system cells.

Hydration

Drinking eight to ten glasses of water every day is one of the most effective ways to flush toxins from your body and support the health of your immune system.


“Water plays a critical role in the production of blood and lymph which work together to carry nutrients and pathogen-fighting cells from your thymus and bone marrow to every cell in your body,” says Dr. Martinez-Wikefeldt. “Without water, the body’s defenses can’t be mobilized and toxins can’t be removed.”


References:

[1] https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus

[2] https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/347457

[3] https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/blog/can-you-boost-your-immune-system-against-the-coronavirus-covid-19

[4] https://www.wsj.com/articles/facts-and-myths-about-boosting-your-immune-system-11584050588

[5] https://www.memorialcare.org/blog/flu-fighting-nutrition-give-your-immune-system-boost

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