The corona-virus is constantly in the news and on everyone’s mind. The highly-contagious virus continues to spread. And healthcare experts are working hard to stop it. There is universal consensus that COVID-19 attacks as a respiratory infection when the immune system is weak.
Respiratory tract infections include the flu, pneumonia, the corona-virus and the common cold. They can impact sinuses, airways, the throat, and the lungs.
What is the Immune System?
The immune system is a network of tissues, cells and organs that all work together. A healthy immune system fights off and protects your body from viruses and infections. A weakened or compromised immunity network can result in the worst cases of any infection.
A person’s immunity starts to develop at birth. It begins with the Immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody, that a mother gives to her child within the last trimester of pregnancy. And it continues to be strengthened through breastfeeding the baby. The body is then armed to fight against diseases.
The Basic Protections
For the younger healthier people, simple preventative measures should help. Wear a mask in public, keep a 6 feet distance from other people, avoid touching your face and wash your hands often.
In order to keep a healthy immune system you should also get plenty of rest. And eat healthy.
Your diet needs to consist of small amounts of healthy micro-nutrients. These are the vitamins and minerals which are so important to disease prevention. The body does not naturally produce them. And they must be derived from the food you consume.
Here are some vital micro-nutrients.
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid)
Make Healthy Food Choices
To support and boost your immune system, you need to eat foods that are made up of micro-nutrients and antioxidants.
- Non-starchy vegetables
- Lean protein
- Organic eggs
- Organic poultry
- Probiotics include fermented vegetables, unsweetened Greek yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchee
- Prebiotics include artichoke, garlic, asparagus
Try and avoid a high sugar content. Buy organic wherever possible. And avoid processed foods.
Don’t Eat Processed Foods
All processed foods contain very few nutrients and too many chemicals and preservatives. But it makes us feel full. If you eat a lot of processed foods you don’t receive the nutritious ingredients that are required to support the immune system. Without sufficient micro-nutrients the immune system doesn’t function well enough to fight off infection and viruses.
What About Supplements?
It is a good idea to take a multivitamin and mineral supplement daily. There are a variety of other health benefits. And of course it can help boost the immune system. But be careful of taking too much of a single vitamin. Too much could have side effects and unintended consequences. Take your vitamins in doses suggested on their labels.
Sources of Vitamin D
Vitamin is vital to health. It is required by the muscles and nerves. And it is a big part of boosting the immune system by fighting invading viruses and bacteria.
You can also absorb Vitamin D from exposure to the sun.
Not many foods have vitamin D naturally occurring. In American diets, fortified foods are the best place to find vitamin D.
- Tuna, salmon, mackerel and other fatty fish.
- Liver, cheese, and egg yolks.
- The U.S. supply of milk has been fortified with 400 IU of vitamin D per quart. And so are most plant-based alternatives (almond milk, soy milk).
- Breakfast cereals, orange juice, yogurt and margarine (check your labels to be sure)