COVID has scared everyone and shook things up. In this period when staying healthy is so important, healthy and nutritious diet has become vital part of our lives. Apart from proper sanitization and care, boosting your immunity is equally important. On regular basis we are exposed to many micro bacteria’s, viruses and parasites which go unnoticed but these viruses can make your body more prone to severe diseases and in current situation Corona Virus. Hence let us know which nutrients can actually help in boosting our immunity to fight against these diseases.
How Can you Manage Post-Covid Syndrome With Diet?
Dr. Harshvardhan Shukla, Senior Physician at Hind Rao Hospital, Delhi acknowledged that keeping your immunity strong is the best way to fight corona virus. COVID cases are most reported in people who are either suffering from any disease or are more prone to diseases due to age factor, poor diet, medical history, or weakness. Hence building immunity can play a vital role; apart from that adaptive immunity is the main factor which helps people fight the virus. It is not that people who come out of corona have strong immune system but their body has gained adaptive immunity which helps their cells to fight against the virus.
Importance of Nutrition in Building Immunity
Immune system is responsible to protect the body from foreign particles which enter our cells. It brings down the virus or malignant cells which can trigger the health. Food is the major source of nutrition in our body and that nutrition helps building your immunity. Our immune system is not fully developed at the time of birth hence the new born baby is always at high risk of catching diseases. Proper nutrition can help in building strong immunity; vitamin and mineral rich diet can provide you with that. Ms. Shweta Singh, nutritionist at Fatima Hospital, Lucknow says that 70-80% of immune cells are present in the gastrointestinal tract which is also the entrance for pathogens, toxins and allergens. Immune cells distinguish harmless antigens such as food etc to enter while trying others foreign particles from entering. Healthy immune system can be established by a healthy gut microbiota in early stages of life, which is linked to nutrition.
Nutrients Which Can Build Your Immunity Against COVID
There are microbes which break down fibres into fatty acids, which stimulate the immune system. Diet which is rich in Vitamins containing pre-biotic and pro-biotic food can help build immunity against corona virus. However nothing has been proven, but studies show that this immunity building food can help protect you from virus.
- Pro-biotic Food- These include yogurt, fermented vegetables, sauerkraut and kombucha tea which contain live bacteria which are helpful to fight against the virus and beneficial for health and immune system.
- Pre-biotic Food- Dietary pre biotic food are common in variety of fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grain but other than that it is majorly found in onion, leeks, asparagus, Jerusalem, banana and seaweed. Pre-biotic food contains fibre and oligosaccharides that keep those bacteria healthy.
- Vitamin A- These vitamins are rich in anti-oxidants which help in building immune cells healthy. Food items which contain these are pumpkin, sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach and mango.
- Vitamin C- Citrus fruits such as strawberries, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes and sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin C which have antioxidants and help in fighting various diseases. Vitamin C is also beneficial in respiratory problems which can be a major weak point to have corona.
- Zinc- If taken in sufficient amount, zinc has proved to be nutrient which reduces the length of viral infections. Zinc Lozenges, syrups and tablets can be taken as a form of direct zinc content. Body needs white blood cells which are formed by zinc to fight infections. It is good supplement and should be taken with consent of your doctor.
- Vitamin E- Vegetable oil, almonds, whole grains, wheat and sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin-E are also beneficial with respiratory infections. They prevent virus causing infections which are similar to symptoms in Covid-19.
What Factors Can Affect Immune System During Covid?
Old Age- Internal organs become less efficient as people grow old. Bone marrow produces lesser number of immune cells which are needed to fight any kind of infection.
Environmental Toxins- The place you live in has a impact on your health too. Smoke and other particles present in the air can worsen the function of immune system which makes us more prone to diseases.
Excess Weight- Obesity is a major cause of many underlining diseases. Corona virus can also affect obese people more than normal healthy person. Fat tissues produce adipocytokins which can promote inflammatory process.
Poor Diet- Malnutrition can weaken the immune system which can further impair the production of immune cells in the body and anti-body formation. It can be a major cause of having infections and virus in your body. Proper nutrition is important for immunity building cells.
Chronic Mental Stress- When you take stress, it releases hormones like cortisol that suppresses inflammation and production of WBC.
Lack of Sleep- Sleeping relaxes your body and cytokine is released that fights infections. Less sleep means lower the amount of cytokines and other immune cells.
Tips to Boost Immune System Against Corona Virus-
- Eat balanced diet with whole fruits, vegetable, lean proteins and plenty of water.
- Take multivitamins containing RDA for several nutrients if total balanced diet is not possible.
- Do not smoke
- Do regular exercises, may not be very intensive but in moderation.
- Sleep for 7-9 hours, try to keep a schedule for sleeping and avoid waking up at odd hours. Maintain your body clock.
- Manage stress issues, it may not be very easy but indulge in activities which can relieve stress. Exercise, meditation, hobbies etc are good to let go of stress.
- Wash hands throughout the day at regular intervals to avoid unnecessary virus from entering your body.
Proper nutrition is very crucial to fight against corona virus. Nutrients rich in anti-oxidants and fibres help in growth of white blood cells which boost the immune system of the body. Immune cells help fight the virus and keep the body safe from diseases such as corona and others. Proper nutrition and diet can make anti-bodies within the system and prevent you from having corona virus.
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