how to boost your immune system

With COVID-19 being declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization, it is time you braced yourself for the worst. You need to prepare your body to combat the virus by learning how to boost your immune system to fight COVID-19.

The cure is still out of our grasp, so the best we can do is to take preventive measures. There are currently tons of information out there about how to avoid COVID-19.

Such measures include:

  • Regularly washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based sanitiser.
  • Wearing a mask that covers your mouth and nose.
  • Avoiding touching your face.

Though the above measures have proven to be significantly effective, there is still a chance that you may get the virus. As such, the best defence is to prepare your body as though you will contract the disease.

The immune system is your body’s ‘army’ which operates at the cellular and macro levels to ward off invading pathogens, including COVID-19. This article aims at helping you to prepare your ‘soldiers’ for the invisible war through boosting your immune system with food.

How To Boost Immune System Naturally

Take foods rich in vitamins

Nutrients that touch on immunity include vitamins E, D, C and A, and minerals such as zinc, magnesium and selenium.

  • Foods rich in Vitamin A include carrots, pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes, spinach, mangoes, and dark leafy greens.
  • Vitamin E sources include almonds, vegetable oil, whole grains, sweet potatoes, wheat germ, and yams.
  • Vitamin C: citrus fruits, bell peppers, strawberries, cauliflower, tomatoes, broccoli, asparagus and sweet potatoes.
  • Vitamin D: Sunshine and selenium

Take Low Carb Diets

Taking smaller portions of carbohydrates helps to control high blood pressure and blood sugar effectively. A protein-rich diet is an immunity booster as it keeps your body in good shape.

Take Care of Your Gut Health

Did you know that 80% of our immune system resides in the gut? Keeping your digestive system healthy will go a long way in improving your immunity.

If you have recently taken some antibiotics, make sure to take a dose of probiotics as well. Antibiotics kill both the good and the harmful bacteria in your gut. Probiotics, on the other hand, restore the good bacteria.

The good bacteria helps in optimal nutrient absorption by the body. Fermented foods like yoghurt can be a great source of natural probiotics.

Superfoods such as ginger, whole garlic, turmeric and gooseberries also serve immunity boosting functions. They have antiviral and antimicrobial properties that help kill harmful bacteria and yeast infections in the small intestine.

COVID 19 and exercise

A healthy diet complemented with regular physical activity will go a long way in boosting your immunity. The World Health Organisation (WHO), however, has released guidelines about COVID-19 and exercise. Regular exercise helps release toxins from your body hence boosting your immunity. And our articles too.

Also read: COVID-19 and Exercise: How To Safely Remain Active

Get Enough Rest

Who knew that the good-old nap could be one of the best ways to protect you from COVID-19? Proper sleep boosts immunity by optimising your bodily functions. The inverse is true when it comes to inadequate sleep. It impairs both physical and brain functions.

An adult should have 7 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep. If you are having problems getting this much, try to:

  • Maintain a consistent sleeping pattern where you sleep and wake up at the same time each day.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the evening hours.
  • Avoid watching television 30 minutes before bed.

Reduce Stress

Chronic stress, in particular, has been established to leave the body vulnerable to infections. According to Dr Stöpple, stress increases the suppressor T cells level, which suppresses the immune system.

Impaired immunity makes us more susceptible to viral illnesses such as flu, colds, and COVID-19. Ways to reduce stress include counselling, meditation, breathing exercises, working out, among others.

The Wrap Up

They say healthy food is the ultimate medicine. No more valid words were ever spoken especially for people with compromised immunity. Such people have preexisting medical conditions or are older; increasing their vulnerability to the virus.

Though we have explored how to boost your immune system naturally, it is prudent to note that there is no immunity “silver bullet.” So, focus on a balanced diet rather than self-diagnosed needs for special foods or diets.

That said, for your immune to function optimally, your body needs some basic building blocks. Nutrition studies indicate that the immune system suffers when it lacks some essential nutrients.

For instance, people with vitamin C and D deficiencies often suffer from various infections, including pneumonia. Taking a healthy diet coupled with enough sleep, reduced stress, and regular exercise is the sure-fire way to boost your immunity naturally to fight CCOVID 19.

ICT officer, content development and digital media at Kenyatta University Teaching Referral & Research Hospital.

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