The immune system is designed to fight off infection and disease. It has a number of ways to detect and destroy anything it recognizes as foreign to your body, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites or unhealthy cells such as cancer cells.
In the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, it is of utmost essence for us to boost our immune system as a combative and preventive measure.
- Vitamin C is one of the biggest immune system boosters of all, such that a lack of vitamin C can even make you more prone to getting sick. Foods rich in vitamin C include oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, lemons, limes, strawberries, bell peppers, spinach, kale and broccoli. Daily intake of vitamin C is essential for good health because your body doesn’t produce or store it.
- Vitamin B6 is vital to supporting biochemical reactions in the immune system. Vitamin B6-rich foods include chicken and cold water fish such as salmon and tuna. Vitamin B6 also is found in green vegetables.
- Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body fight off infection. Foods rich in vitamin E include nuts(eg almond), seeds(eg sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds) and spinach.
- Avoid Smoking. Smoking tobacco has several effects on immune system health, such as greater susceptibility to infections such as pneumonia and influenza; more severe and longer-lasting illnesses; lower levels of protective antioxidants (such as vitamin C), in the blood.
- Get Enough Sleep. Studies show that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus. When we sleep, the body releases proteins called cytokines while sleep deprivation decreases their production. Cytokines are paramount during times of infection or inflammation. What’s more, the production of antibodies and immune cells is reduced when you don’t get enough sleep. The optimal amount of sleep for most adults is between 7 and 8 hours. However, school-aged children and teenagers might need up to 10 hours of sleep.
- Regular Exercise. This is one of the pillars of healthy living. It improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and protects against a variety of diseases. Just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system. It may contribute even more directly by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently. Exercise at least thrice a week.
- Garlic. It’s immune-boosting properties seem to come from a heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin.
- Ginger. This is a strong antioxidant that has been shown to naturally boost the immune system. It contains tons of vitamins, some of which are magnesium, iron, zinc, and calcium. Ginger helps kill cold viruses and has been said to combat chills and fever