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A lot of uncertainties surround coronavirus – how to prevent it, there’s no cure, and the factors that might lead to contracting it are not definitive either. However, you can eat healthy to boost your immune system, which will equip your body better to deal with the virus in case you come in contact with it.
If you do contract it, it is up to the immune system to fight it. According to WHO reports and other research, proper nutrition will improve your chances to deal with it. Eating certain foods will not make you immune to the coronavirus but it will keep your immune functioning well. Therefore, when you visit the market next time, make sure you get the right foods for you and your family.
Getting expert advice from nutritionists at such times is wise. Get FITFEAST for daily diet recommendations based on your needs and preferences.
How to Boost Immunity
Getting enough Vitamin D might help prevent illnesses. According to research, the immune system requires its share of Vitamin D to fight off viruses. It will not prevent you from contracting the virus in case you’re exposed to it but it will reduce the severity of the illness and help you recover faster. Vitamin D is the most common nutrient deficiency. It is probably the most easily available vitamins as well – you can get it naturally through sunlight. Since a lot of us spend most of the morning hours, when the sunlight is bearable, indoors, it is the least available. You should, therefore, get some sunlight early in the morning.
All the gyms and fitness centers across the country are closed but you can still workout at home. According to research, working out strengthens the infection-fighting cells and reduces inflammation. Bodyweight exercises are great to burn calories without hitting the gym. Burpees, lunges, plank, push-ups, jumping jacks, etc. are great full-body workout exercises that require no equipment. Also, exercising reduces stress and keeps you happy, which is essential in these times.
There’s a high chance that you might be working from home. Use this opportunity to substitute the time used to commute to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Moreover, the body needs these many hours of sleep to function properly. The body uses sleep time to repair and recover the essential functions including those of the immune system. Research suggests that even a single night of disturbed or inadequate sleep can reduce the immune cells by up to 70 percent.
You will be staying at home more than usual and might feel like having alcohol to relieve stress. While drinking is not going to help prevent coronavirus infection, a glass of red wine is unlikely to promote it either. Plus, if it helps you, it’s a good thing. Be sure to avoid overdoing it. Having less to do will only encourage you to drink more. You will end up not only dehydrated but feeling bad as well. More importantly, excessive alcohol consumption impairs the immune functions and reduces the body’s ability to heal itself.
Ginger is the gold of spices – it is the best ingredient to boost your immunity, especially when you feel sick. It is an antioxidant that fights the symptoms of cold and flu in addition to reducing nausea. Moreover, ginger is packed with zinc, magnesium, and calcium. Always use fresh ginger to reap its benefits on the respiratory system as opposed to dry ginger. Ginger is also known to improve digestion and constipation. According to Ayurveda, ginger is universal medicine. It is good for the defensive responses of the body, which helps in preventing infections.
The Role of Vitamins in Preventing Infections
Responsible for maintaining the gut respiratory tract, and skin cells structure. Vitamin A forms a kind of a barrier that works as the first line of defense for your body. Vitamin A is like an offensive against infections. It is required to make antibodies that neutralize the infection-causing pathogens. Vitamin-A-rich foods include cheese, tofu, seeds, whole grains, oily fish, egg yolk, and legumes.
There are 8 types of B Vitamins, three of which (Vitamins B6, B9, and B12) are the first to respond when a pathogen is detected. They increase the production and activity of the infection-killing cells, which causes them to implode.
- Vitamin B6 – leafy green veggies, nuts, legumes, cereals, fish, meat, and meat
- Vitamin B9 – nuts, seeds, legumes, and green leafy veggies
- Vitamin B12 – eggs, meat, dairy, and other animal products
Vitamins C and E
These vitamins fight infection by managing oxidative stress. When free radicals, produced due to an infection, pierce cell walls, they leak into the tissues and cause inflammation. Vitamins C and E protect the cells against oxidative stress.
Vitamin C works as a cleaner – it clears the mess caused by the infection. Oranges, limes, broccoli, kiwi, lemons, capsicum, and tomatoes are packed with Vitamin C. Leafy green, vegetable oils and nuts are good sources of Vitamin E.
Vitamin D enables cells in destroying infection-causing pathogens. As mentioned earlier, sunlight is a natural source of Vitamin D. Eggs, fish, and milk are good sources of this Vitamin. Vitamin D deficiency might lead to acute respiratory infections.
Immune cell growth is dependent on iron, zinc, and selenium. Iron increases the number of free radicals that help in killing pathogens in addition to regulating enzymes necessary for recognizing and targeting pathogens. Meat, chicken fish, whole grains, legumes, etc, are good sources of iron.
Zinc is important for maintaining the integrity of the skin and mucous membranes. Zinc and selenium are antioxidants that clear the damage caused due to oxidative stress. Zinc can be obtained by consuming nuts, dried beans. Chicken, seafood, and meat. As for selenium, have mushrooms, Brazil nuts, cereals, and meat.