How to boost Immune System against CORONA Virus
The world has always been plagued by different types of natural and man-made calamities. The human race is quick to learn from these experiences and create new ways to combat a similar crisis in the future. This is especially true with healthcare systems. Every new day, there is a different kind of disease that needs to be dealt with. The best way to stay healthy and safe is to develop a strong immunity. Read on to know more regarding your immunity and How to Boost the Immune System.
Current World Crisis
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and many other health agencies have repeatedly raised concerns regarding the rise in communicable diseases worldwide. They have warned world leaders against upcoming epidemics and pandemics.
The most recent COVID-19 (CoronaVirus 2019) pandemic has been termed the biggest health emergency after the Spanish Flu of 1918. COVID-19 is the newest strain in the family of coronaviruses that have caused diseases like SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle- East Respiratory Syndrome) (1).
This strain of the virus is believed to have originated in the wet market of Wuhan, China. It could have jumped to human hosts from animals like a pangolin. The virus is highly contagious and spreads through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person sneezes or coughs. The common symptoms of people infected with COVID-19 are:
- Dry cough
- Sore throat
- Other symptoms include shortness of breath, aches, and pains and few people experience a runny nose, nausea, and diarrhea (2).
The symptoms are visible after 7 to 14 days of getting infected. The patients are advised to self-isolate and inform the medical providers in their area. If the situation worsens, they must get medical support immediately.
Read More: Corona Virus Complete Safety Guide
Ways to Prevent COVID-19
This pandemic has tested the healthcare capacities across the world. There are more than 4.5 lakhs confirmed cases worldwide and more than 21,000 deaths and still counting as of now. Some of the measures to be taken to prevent COVID-19 infection as recommended by WHO are:
- Washing your hands regularly using soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub
- Avoid touching face, nose or eyes
- Cover your nose and mouth during coughing and sneezing
- Maintain social distancing or 1-meter distance between people who coughs or sneezes
- Quarantine or self-isolate yourself if you feel unwell
- Avoid smoking (3)
Know your Immune System
As mentioned above, the immune system provides a line of defense against various disease-causing agents. It consists of various organs, cells, and immune-modulatory substances. The system keeps account of the microbes that affected the body and destroys them during the next infection. It is a type of memory that helps the body to have an immune response against infections.
The main parts of the immune system are:
1. White Blood Cells (WBCs)
They are produced in the bone marrow, then move throughout the body and identify the foreign substances circulating in the blood. They attack these invading organisms and prevent infection.
They are immuno-modulatory substances that are produced as a response to the invasion of antigens or foreign bodies.
3. Complement System
This system is composed of proteins that aid in the action of antibodies against infectious agents.
4. Lymphatic System
It is a network of lymph nodes, lymph vessels, and lymphocytes that helps to defend against bacteria prevents the growth of tumor cells, manages fluid balance in the body and absorbs fats from the intestine.
It is the organ that helps in the elimination of microorganisms, destruction of old and damaged RBCs and supports the production of antibodies and lymphocytes.
6. Bone Marrow
Helps in the production of RBCs, WBCs, and platelets
Helps to filter the blood and in the production of WBCs and T-cells
There are certain disorders of the immune system that one must be aware of.
- Allergic Disorders – This happens when the immune system reacts violently against certain allergens.
- Autoimmune Disorders– These are certain genetic conditions where the immune system reacts against the body cells eliciting unwanted disease conditions.
How to Boost the Immune System
It is highly essential to maintain a strong immune system in these challenging times. Immunization is the best way to start with. However, there are many lifestyle changes and habits that one can follow to enhance the immunity naturally. Some of the most common and easiest ways to Boost the Immune System:
The WHO has mandated that newborn children receive a series of vaccinations to develop immunity against different diseases. There is a detailed table enlisting the different vaccinations to be taken along with the age. There are annual flu shots available that would help a long way to remain healthy.
2. Quit Smoking
One of the biggest causes of the weak immune system could be smoking (4). People who smoke tend to develop infections faster and might take longer to recover. As a common belief, smoking not only impairs the lungs, it can affect other organ systems as well.
3. Physical Exercises
Research has shown promising effects of exercises and other physical activities on the well-being of a person. Exercises promote better circulation which allows the immune-modulatory substances to travel throughout the body, thus boosting immune responses against infections (5). About 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity like brisk walking can do a lot to strengthen the immune system.
Read More: Best At-Home Cardio Workouts
4. Proper Sleep Routine
Most people who do not get a healthy dose of sleep can remain weak and lethargic throughout the day. They also tend to fall sick often and have a weak immune system. It is recommended that adults should get a good sleep of 7 to 9 hours for a healthy living. It is seen that the body recovers from the stress and strain of the day during sleep. A good night’s sleep can restore and rejuvenate the body functions (6).
5. Eat a Balanced Diet
The nourishment of the body cells is the most important method to maintain a healthy immune system. Including micronutrients like vitamins (A, B6, C, and E) and minerals (zinc, selenium, copper, iron, folic acid) can promote the strengthening of immunity (7).
Taking vitamin and mineral supplements after consulting with a doctor or a nutritionist could help improve the immune system. Some food items are:
- Citrus Fruits– Oranges, lemons, tangerines, etc. contain a lot of vitamin C that boosts immunity.
- Broccoli– Filled with vitamin A, C, E, and other minerals.
- Spinach– It contains loads of antioxidants and beta carotene that enhance the infection-fighting skills of the body.
- Almonds– It is rich in vitamin E that helps to maintain immunity
- Turmeric– Well-known for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and other properties that help to fight infections.
- Green Tea– It is rich in flavonoids which are antioxidants that help to eliminate free radicals from the body.
6. Reduce Stress
Another culprit that affects immunity is a stressful condition either at work or at home. This affects both the mind and the body(8).
Studies say that stress enhances the chances of inflammation in the body cells. This further leads to the weakening of immunity. It is essential to healing your mind and body from the excess stain and stress at work.
7. Maintain Good Hygiene
Most of the infectious diseases spread through unhygienic conditions. The easiest way to stop the microbes from entering the body is by a thorough washing of hands frequently, bathing regularly and maintaining clean living space. It is important to wash hands before eating, after using bathrooms, after sneezing or coughing, after visiting public places and using public transportation, etc.
8. Include Loads of Fruits and Vegetables in your Diet
The body is aided by antioxidants which helps in the removal of harmful free radicals from the system. These free radicals can hamper the activities of the immune system. Plant-based food items are full of antioxidants and hence, these items should occupy a major part of your daily meals. Beans, different types of berries, nuts, artichokes, plums, spinach, etc. are rich in antioxidants.
9. Supplement with Prebiotics and Probiotics
For a healthy gut microbial environment, it is important to consume prebiotics. Plant-based food items and whole grains are rich in prebiotics and would help in maintaining the health of the immune system. Probiotics are food items like yogurt, kombucha, and kimchi. Healthy doses of these supplements will help to develop immunity (9).
10. Drink Plenty of Water
One of the best ingredients to add for detoxification of the body is water. It is the most versatile solvents available and hence helps in flushing toxic substances from the body. Water aids in the formation of lymph in the body which is important in the circulation of immune-modulators in the system. This will eventually lead to boosting immunity (10). Drinking plenty of water helps to maintain proper digestion.
11. Limit Alcohol Intake
Consumption of alcohol can weaken the immunity by affecting the interaction between gut microbes and the body cells (11). Excessive alcohol consumption can reduce the amount of circulating immune-modulatory substances like T cells, macrophages, WBC’s, etc. This can severely hamper the functioning of the immune system.
Read More: Amazing Health Benefits of Pomegranate Juice
12. Herbs and Supplements
There are many supplements available in the market that claims to boost immunity. Some of the well-known immunity boosters are Elderberry, Medicinal mushrooms, Astragalus, Garlic, Liquorice, Curcumin, Echinacea, Propolis.
13. Practice Yoga and Meditation Regularly
Studies have proved that yoga and meditation help to boost the immune system (12). Yoga not only makes you physically strong but also makes you emotionally strong reducing the stress levels. Meditation helps to fight depression and improves mood.
Read More: Health Benefits of Yoga
With constantly mutating bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms, the number of communicable and non-communicable diseases are rising day-by-day. The human body is constantly evolving to fight these infections. The immune system is the most important defense mechanism against these infections. Hence, it is essential to know how to boost your immune system to fight these infections.