In the age of COVID-19, it is crucial for us to have immune systems healthy enough to stave off, or fight an infection.
Below are some quick tips how we can boost our immunity, and the majority of it deals with our dietary habits:
1) Eat more whole plant foods
Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that can offer you protection against harmful pathogens.
The fiber in these plant foods also feeds the community of healthy bacterio in your gut - improving your immunity in the process, and helping to keep harmful pathogens from entering your body via your digestive tract. Many fruits are also rich in Vitamin C - a crucial nutrient to combat the common cold.
2) Consume more healthy fats
Healthy fats can be found in olive oil and salmon and this element is linked to a decreased risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The anti-inflammatory properties found in these foods can also help your body fight against harmful bacterias and viruses.
3) Eat more fermented foods/probiotic supplements
Fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and natto, are rich in good bacterial probiotics, which populate your digestive tract, and this network of gut bacteria, in turn, help your immune cells differentiate between normal, healthy cells, and harmful organisms that enter your body.
A three-month research on 126 children found that those who drank just 70ml of fermented milk daily had about 20 per cent lesser childhood infectious diseases compared with a control group.
Likewise, another study showed that people who supplemented with probiotic Bifidobacterium animalis supplements had stronger immune response against rhinovirus infection (which causes the common cold), and lower levels of the virus in their nasal mucus, than a control group.
4) Stay off processed sugar/limit added sugars
Sugar is the main culprit behind many illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
Research has shown that added sugars and refined carbs have contributed to obesity. A study involving 1,000 people showed that obese people administered the flu vaccine were likely to still get the flu, than non-obese people who got the vaccine.
Watching your sugar intake can keep your weight in check, which in turn, would ward off diseases that could weaken your immune system.
According to experts, you should limit your daily sugar intake less than five per cent of your daily calories.
5) Get enough sleep
This goes without saying, but getting enough sleep is crucial to ensure your body is able to rid itself of toxins and stay healthy.
A study has shown that adults who slept fewer than six hours every night were more likely to catch a cold than who slept for more six hours, or more, each night.
When you are down with illnesses, it is advisable to sleep more to allow your immune system to better fight the illness.
Try to stay off devices that emit blue light, such as your phone, television, and computer, at least an hour before bedtime, as they might disrupt your circaduan rhythm or your body's natural wake-sleep cycle.
It is also advisable to sleep in a completely dark room or using a sleep mask to block out unwanted light from your eyes, and go to bed about the same time every night.
6) Get moderate exercise
Exercising in moderation has been scientifically proven to boost one's immune system. According to studies, regular, moderate exercise can help your immune cells regenerate regularly and reduce inflammation.
The moderate exercise can include brisk walking, steady cycling, jogging, swimming, and light hiking. One should strive to get at least 150 minutes if moderate exercise per week - which amounts to about 21 minutes of light workout daily, and honestly, not too much to ask for.
7) It's all about the hydration
Staying hydrated can ensure you do not get dehydrated, which is known to cause headaches, among other symptoms.
Dehydration weakens one's mood, focus, as well as digestion and other bodily functions, thus increasing their susceptibility to catching an illness.
Water is the recommended fluid for consumption and you should drink enough to make your urine appear pale yellow.
While the occasional tea and juice is also welcomed, it is perhaps best to limit these due to their high sugar content.
Research have shown that people lose their ability to signal thirst as they age, so they should still drink regularly even when they do not feel thirsty.
8) Manage your stress
Another obvious fact, but stress negative affects one's immune capabilities.
Long-term stress and anxiety promotes inflammation, and imbalances in immune cell function.
Among activities that can help you manage your stress level include meditation, exercise, journaling, yoga, and other practices. If you need external help, you could reach out to a licensed therapist.
While none of the above suggestions can prevent a COVID-19 infection, they have been proven to strengthen the body's immune system, which would spare you the worse effects of the coronavirus, should you somehow catch it.
Photo source: thehealthsessions.com, mensxp.com, The Economic Times
Wed Nov 02 2022
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