Coronavirus - Ways To Boost Your Immune System Naturally?
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, several discussions are being made on various forums about its origin, signs and symptoms, treatment options and different ways to boost your immune system to prevent infection.
Apart from the coronavirus, inculcating certain lifestyle habits and inclusion of certain foods in the daily diet help to keep the immune system strong and keep other infections also at bay.
This article will give you a brief insight into the coronavirus and ways to boost your immune system to keep infections at bay.
What Is Coronavirus?
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a form of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) which was first identified due to its outbreak in Wuhan, China.
This virus affects the respiratory tract and is a highly communicable illness, that is, it can spread from person to person via infected respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
The coronavirus can also spread by touching contaminated surfaces like tables, doorknobs and then touching the face with unwashed hands.
Who Is At Risk?
The risk of infection is higher among the following groups of people;
- Those who have recently traveled to a place with an ongoing spread of COVID-19
- Those who have been in close proximity to an infected person
- People who are suffering from pre-existing illnesses such as diabetes mellitus type-2, hypertension
- People who have pre-existing respiratory conditions like bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis or emphysema.
- Immuno-compromised individuals, that is, patients having AIDS or auto-immune conditions
- Infants and toddlers, as their immune system isn’t fully developed
- Elderly, frail people
Signs And Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 may appear 2 to 14 days following exposure. Signs and symptoms of coronavirus infection include;
- Sore throat
- Cold or runny nose
- Shortness of breath
Ways To Prevent Coronavirus Infection
- Wash your hands with soap and water regularly
- In case of unavailability of soap and water, use a hand sanitizer
- Wear a mask particularly if you are traveling or going to a crowded location like malls. Marketplace, school, etc.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Avoid unnecessary travel
- Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough
- Ensure regular cleaning and disinfection of surfaces at home and workplace
How To Boost The Immune System Naturally?
COVID-19 is showing a rapid spread globally. At such times, it is essential to take adequate precautionary measures to prevent infection in terms of both hygiene and food. The Indian diet is blessed with certain foods and spices which keep our immune system strong.
Top 10 foods to boost your immune system naturally include;
This age-old herb is often the key ingredient in Indian meals. Our meal preparation remains incomplete without a pinch of turmeric in it.
Turmeric has natural anti-infective, anti-microbial, and antiseptic properties.
Ginger is used extensively in the Asian, Indian, European and Middle-East cultures.
There is strong scientific evidence that the natural anti-oxidant and anti-microbial properties in ginger are useful in relieving respiratory and flu-like symptoms.
Garlic is an ancient medicinal herb that has been used to prevent as well as treat a wide range of illnesses.
Active principles present in garlic possess anti-biotic, anti-fungal and anti-cancer properties. Garlic is also known for its therapeutic effect on hypoglycemia, hypothyroidism, liver dysfunction, and heavy metal poisoning.
4. Vitamin C
Citrus fruits and vegetables are abundantly available in the market in various different choices like lemon, oranges, dark green leafy vegetables, sprouts and herbs. These contain large amounts of vitamin C, folate and dietary fiber.
Vitamin C is a strong anti-oxidant and stimulates white blood cell functions involved in immunity. The anti-oxidants are also known to lessen the duration and severity of cold and flu symptoms.
A study has proven that people who regularly consume yogurt possess optimal levels of inflammatory cytokines (infection-fighting cells) in blood.
Yogurt is also found to be beneficial for cholesterol reduction, stimulation of the immune system and prevention of colorectal cancers.
6. Vitamin E
This nutrient stimulates natural killer cells of our body which target infective organisms and cancer cells and destroy them.
Vitamin E also enables the production of B-lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) which produce antibodies.
Vitamin E can be found in raw spinach, sweet potatoes, nuts, grains and seeds like almonds, walnuts, and peanuts.
This nutrient is a powerful antioxidant that enhances immunity and eradicates free radicals from the blood by increasing the number of white blood cells, natural killer cells, and helper T-cells.
In the body, beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A which also shows anti-cancer properties.
Foods containing beta-carotene include carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, spinach, kale, and red leaf lettuce.
8. Omega 3 Fatty Acids
This helps to boost the immune system by increasing phagocytic activities of white blood cells a process by which white blood cells destroy infective organisms).
Generally, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E complement each other to build up and enhance the immune system to fight against infections.
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids include fish, fish oils, flaxseeds or flaxseed oil, walnuts and canola oil.
9. Pomegranate Juice
Pomegranate is one of the most easily available fruits. Pomegranate juice is known to significantly reduce inflammation and prevent oxidative damage to cells.
Research studies have also proven that the antioxidant capacity of pomegranate juice is three times higher in comparison to green tea, red wine and other juices like grapes, cranberry or orange juice.
10. Green Tea
People are becoming increasingly aware of the health benefits that green tea has to offer. Green tea is loaded with antioxidants like polyphenols and catechins. Apart from increasing immunity, green tea also has the following beneficial effects on the body;
- Lowers LDL cholesterol levels
- Inhibits abnormal formation of blood clots within the bloodstream
- Lipid regulation
- Inhibits abnormal multiplication of smooth muscle cells (anti-cancer properties)
The list of foods mentioned above does not work just singly. It is important to eat these foods in moderation and often in combination with other foods or simply include a small portion of these foods in our routine meals.
Although our immune status depends greatly on what we eat, some healthy lifestyle habits such as regular exercising, getting good sleep, adequate sun exposure and relaxing the mind and body through yoga or meditation go a long way in maintaining our immunity and also maintains overall health, both physically and mentally.