With the threat of deadly viruses looming over us all, the idea of strengthening our immune system to help our bodies combat nasties is very appealing. The question is, is it possible to do so? Can ingredients from our pantry and a few lifestyle changes help us boost our immune system?
It’s a question that researchers are still investigating. Our immune system is not one body part, it’s a complex structure throughout the body. Analysing whether a particular factor improves or degenerates our immune system is no small task. While current evidence is not conclusive, good lifestyle choices are more likely to play in our favour than against.
What can be said for sure is that bad habits can create other health issues such as heart diseases and respiratory diseases. Those underlying health problems can prove fatal when you catch a virus like the one we’re all afraid of ― COVID 19.
While it’s easy to get most nutrients from our first-world diets, being micronutrient deficient is relatively common. This is why eating plenty of fruits and veg is essential. Deficiency in micronutrients like zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, and E have proven to alter immune system responses in animals.
Taking some supplements and eating various fruits and vegetables can make sure your body has essential vitamins and trace minerals. Remember that when it comes to supplements, quality and consistency are more important than quantity. Your body is likely to flush the excess out.
While herbal potions get a bad rap, herbs and plants do contain nutrients that are good for your body. For example, Oregano has proven to contain excellent antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich properties. Garlic is rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6 and manganese. It also contains trace amounts of various other nutrients.
While herbs and potions might not cure diseases and illnesses, they do help in promoting a healthy and strong body. Use them as a way to give your body the nutrients it needs.
Natural ingredients which promote health:
Cinnamon – cinnamon encourages blood circulation. Your blood has the vital task of carrying oxygen and nutrients throughout the body; adding some cinnamon to your porridge or toast can help your blood do that a little better.
Cardamon – High in micronutrients like zinc and magnesium, cardamom is a spice that is commonly used in oriental dishes, but you can add it to your porridge or rice pudding. The smell is incredible, and it is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
Dandelion – Fresh dandelion greens carry 10,161 IU of vitamin per 100 g (about 338% of daily recommended intake). This makes fresh dandelion one of the highest sources of vitamin-A among herbs. Vitamin-A is a a great antioxidant and maintains healthy skin ― which is why you’ll often find it in skincare.
Garlic – An excellent source of minerals and vitamins. The bulbs are one of the richest sources of potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and selenium. Selenium is a heart-healthy mineral and is an essential cofactor for antioxidant enzymes within the body.
Cumin – Rich in iron which is crucial for red blood cell formation.
Rosemary – Rosemary is rich in vitamin b complex, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and iron. An overall great herb to add to your food on a regular basis.
Turmeric – A rich source of curcumin, an antioxidant that eases inflammation.
Be cautious, not anxious. With COVID 19 out in the open, it is essential that we stay on the alert, but stressing yourself out is not good for your immune system and health overall. Stress has proven to be an underlying factor of heart disease, and we know that those who are already affected by health issues are more vulnerable to the effects of viruses.
The advantages of regular exercise are many. Studies have shown that it can not only help your body stay in great shape but also do wonders for your mental health. Needless to say, a healthy body and mind can fight nasties much better. Combined with a balanced diet and a wholesome lifestyle, exercise will make sure your immune system is at the ready for any viruses that might come at it.
Your body needs 7-9 hours of sleep to function correctly. During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines which are essential for fighting infections and inflammations. According to the Mayo Clinic, sleep deprivation can also lead to a lack of infection-fighting antibodies and cells.
So here are some tips for an overall healthy body:
- Say no to smoking
- Eat lots of vegetables and fruits; they high in fibre, vitamins and trace minerals which are essential for a healthy immune system.
- Exercise regularly to promote a robust heart and blood circulation.
- Avoid sugars – While there is no definitive evidence that processed sugars weaken your immune system, they are the causing factor in many diseases. Your body gets sugar from whole foods and does not require refined sugar to function at its optimum.
- Avoid alcohol – When alcohol is in your body, your body will prioritise breaking it down to get rid of it. Alcohol causes disruptions throughout the body (including your immune system).
- Sleep well
We hope these health tips put you on the right track towards caring for your body. Stay safe, wash your hands regularly and stay indoors during this Corona outbreak.