Boost Your Immune System
The immune system creates, stores, and distributes the white blood cells that fight bacteria and viruses that enter in to the body, especially during flu season. The healthy immune system protect the body from infection and fight off coronavirus (covid-19). The malnourished people are more vulnerable to infectious diseases. Some micronutrient deficiencies for example, deficiencies of zinc, selenium, iron, copper, and vitamins A, B complex, C, D, E and coenzyme Q10, alter immune responses.
Steps you can follow as general guidelines to supply your immune system, to avoid frequent colds and to protect and fight off coronavirus.
- Diet rich in antioxidants
A diet rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals can boost the immune system. Antioxidants help fight free radicals, which are natural products of metabolism and lead to arterial damage.
The best known antioxidants are vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene and selenium. These are found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables, such as berries, blackberries, strawberries, cherries, pomegranates, spinach, broccoli, legumes, whole grain products and cereals, herbs and nuts.
- Healthy body weight
Being overweight is linked to the risk of many diseases, such as cardiovascular, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, some cancers, chronic inflammation and more.
- Good protein quality
The immune system needs good quality protein to make effective antibodies. Chicken, turkey, eggs, fish, low-fat dairy, legumes and nuts all contain high-nutritional protein that strengthens the body’s first line of defense.
- Daily water intake
A daily adequate intake of water of at least 1 liter (or depending on the needs of each organism), contributes to proper hydration, which in turn contributes to the strengthening of the immune system.
- Alcohol in moderation
Alcohol consumption is toxic to some of the cells of the immune system. This can lead to serious infections due to reduced defenses as well as increased susceptibility to cold and viruses.
- Vitamin supplements
There is a hypothesis that vitamin supplements strengthen the body’s defenses. When the person doesn’t consume the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables daily or even if he doesn’t have variety in his diet, he can supplement the missing elements, through supplements. It has not yet been determined how much of the vitamins are effective in boosting the immune system. Even the role of vitamin C in preventing and treating colds has not reached any conclusions. Taking megadoses of a single vitamin or mineral does not. More is not necessarily better.
Some herbs such as aloe, echinacea, garlic, ginseng and licorice have piqued the interest of the scientific community. More research is needed to find a clear guideline for their consumption.
- Frequent exercise
Frequent physical activity is one of the pillars of health. Regular exercise for 20-30 minutes, 3 times a week, helps prevent many diseases. It increases the number of white blood cells that are in the front line of defense, helps the proper functioning of the circulatory system and has been associated with increased production of endorphins, hormones that increase the feeling of well-being.
- Stop the cigarette
Smoking increases respiratory problems and triggers the appearance of inflammation and as mentioned above, when a body is inflamed, it is vulnerable.
- Sleep enough
People who sleep less than 7 hours a day are more likely to catch a cold than those who sleep for at least 8 hours. Lack of sleep causes stress in the body and degrades the function of the immune system.
- Management of stress
While short-term stress can temporarily boost our immune system, prolonged psychological stress does the opposite. It exposes the body to increased amounts of cortisol and adrenaline, which degrade the immune system and make the body susceptible to colds.
A good social environment helps physical and mental health, as well as our immune system. People who feel good about their surroundings have a stronger immune system than the most lonely people.
- Cheer up
Smiling lowers stress hormone levels and increases the number of white blood cells that help with defense. So smile as often as you can.
- Cleanliness and hygiene
It is important to follow the rules of cleanliness and hygiene on a daily basis, such as good hand washing, when entering the house and after money transactions. But the “microbiophobia” leads some people to overdo it and thus create a sterile environment, resulting in killing germs important to their body and ultimately increasing the chances of inflammation.
Harvard Medical School and Michael N. Starnbach, Ph.D., professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics: The truth about your immune system;2010
American Association for Cancer Research. ”How Diet, Obesity and Even Gum Disease May Affect Immune System and Cancer.” 2006
Food Standards Agency Workshop Report: Diet and Immune Function. British J Nutr 2010