Simple tips to boost your immune system
An optimally functioning immune system can never go wrong. If you have a healthy immune system, your body can safeguard you from any disease, even the novel coronavirus
COVID-19 is declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. While the countries are grappling with the imminent dangers this virus poses to humanity, there are key measures that individuals can take to fight this pandemic.
Hygiene standards such as washing your hands frequently, using an alcohol sanitizer, wearing a mask (cover your nose and mouth), and avoiding touching your hands or mouth are the preventive measures that help deal with the pandemic. There are also certain methods to improve your immunity which is paramount at this juncture. A robust immune system is essential to maintain good health and to keep oneself safe from this virus.
Learn what makes a healthy immune system function and how to boost your immunity during COVID-19 and beyond:
Seven to eight hours of sleep is the best way to help your body build immunity. Inadequate sleep leads to fatigue and impairs brain activity. Lack of sleep prevents the body from relaxing and this affects the other bodily functions that have a direct impact on your immunity.
Regular physical exercise
Do not skip exercise! Regular exercise improves muscle strength, reduces breathlessness, improves fitness, helps you relax, improves your mental status, and boosts your metabolism. Simple exercises such as walking, running, cycling, stair exercises, seated march, leg, and toe fit, and yoga are beneficial for your overall health.
The food you eat plays an important role in determining your overall health and immunity. Increasing the intake of whole grains, legumes, protein-rich foods such as soyabean, fish, chicken, and nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, raisins, fibre-rich foods), fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables can help you keep in good shape. Natural immunity supplements such as ginger, turmeric, and garlic should also be included in your diet.
Immunity boosting foods:
The need of the hour is a quick boost to your immunity system. If you are concerned about whether you are getting the right amount of nutrients from your diet, a supplementation regimen can also boost your immune system. Here are a few nutrients to include in your diet:
Vitamin C has antibodies that help fight against bacteria and infections. It can reduce your cold symptoms at a fast rate and as an antioxidant Vitamin C also reduces inflammation. Sources of Vitamin C are citrus fruits such as oranges, lemon, potatoes, and strawberries. The recommended amount is 75mg for women and 90mg for men.
Vitamin D also helps fight off respiratory tract infections and maintains strong bones. Oily fish such as salmon, herring, egg yolks, fortified foods, red meat are good sources of Vitamin D. Recommended amount in children (1-13 years) is 15mcg and adults (19-70) is 15mcg.
Vitamin A strengthens your immune system and protects against infections. Certain food sources of vitamin A are cheese, eggs, milk, and yoghurt. The recommended amount in adult men is 900mcg and for adult women is 700mcg.
Vitamin E has antioxidant properties that are important for vision, reproduction, brain, and skin. Various food sources are wheat gram oil, sunflower oil, almonds, peanuts, and spinach. The recommended amount for adults is 15mcg/day.
Zinc is a vital component of WBC (White Blood Corpuscles) which fights infections. Zinc deficiency often makes one more susceptible to flu, cold, and other viral infections. Foods rich in zinc are red meat, oysters, baked beans, and chickpeas. The recommended amount in adult men is 11mg and for adult women is 8mg.
Apart from maintaining a healthy lifestyle, there are a few preventive measures to fight COVID-19:
- Drink warm water throughout the day
- Expose yourself to sunlight for 10-15 minutes in the morning
- Inhale steam with mint leaves
- Apply ghee (clarified butter), sesame oil, or coconut oil in both nostrils to keep the nostrils clean
(The writer is a first-year student at UPES School of Health Sciences)