The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a lockdown in countries across the globe. Many people are finding it hard to deal with the depression that the lockdown brought with itself. Others are taking this as an opportunity to perfect the various skills sitting at home. I am making the best use of my Optimum internet package by surfing the net and watching cooking-related channels on TV.
One thing that is very common on these channels these days is educating people on how to boost their immune systems through food. Here is a guide for you.
This vitamin is responsible for maintaining the structure of the cells in your skin, gut and the respiratory tract. Hence, forming the first line of defense in your body. It is the first vitamin that will help you fight infection, in case you catch one.
Vitamin A is essential for creating antibodies. This defense mechanism aids in neutralizing the pathogens in your body that are responsible for the infection. Foods rich in Vitamin A include oily fish, cheese, legumes, egg yolks, nuts, whole grains, tofu, and seeds.
If you are not consuming Vitamin A directly through any of the food sources, consuming vegetables can help as well. Vegetables contain beta-carotene. Your body converts it to Vitamin A. Thus, having leafy green as well as yellow and orange vegetables is an indirect way of getting Vitamin A.
The most essential B Vitamins from the whole family are B6, B9, and B12. They play a crucial part in identifying the pathogens should a virus enter your body. This happens because B Vitamins are responsible for influencing the activity and production of killer cells.
Sources for these B Vitamins are:
- B6 – Cereals, chicken, meat, green leafy vegetables, fish, legumes, nuts, and fruit
- B9 – Green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes
- B 12 – Eggs, dairy, meat, and fortified soya milk
Vitamins C and E
Your body experiences oxidative stress while it is fighting any infection. This, in turn, can cause inflammation in your body as the stress leads to the production of free radicals. These radicals pierce through the cell walls and leak into the tissues. Both Vitamins C and E help the body to deal with oxidative stress.
Good sources for both these vitamins are:
- Vitamin C – Oranges, kiwifruit, capsicum, tomatoes, berries, lemons, limes, and broccoli
- Vitamin E – Nuts, vegetable oils, and green leafy vegetables
Certain cells in your body need Vitamin E to deal with the pathogens. Sun exposure is the best and natural way to allow your body to produce Vitamin D. In addition to this, eggs, some kinds of milk and fish are also rich sources of Vitamin D.
Iron, Zinc, and Selenium
These three minerals help in immune cell growth. Iron, in particular, aids in killing the pathogens by the production of free radicals. Apart from this, it is also responsible for regulating the enzyme reactions that are essential for the immune cells. Foods rich in iron include meat, fish, chicken, legumes, and whole grains.
Zinc aids in maintaining healthy skin as well as the mucous membranes. Both zinc and selenium also play the role of antioxidants. Thus, helping the body to deal with oxidative stress. Your go-to options for zinc and selenium include seafood, chicken, meat, nuts, dried beans, and mushrooms.
Apart from vitamins and minerals, certain other spices and herbs also help to boost your immune system. Among them is turmeric. It is a very common spice used in Asian cuisines. Researchers suggest that the bright yellow compound present in turmeric (curcumin) is responsible for boosting the immune system.
Although, no evidence suggests that turmeric also aids in fighting infections, consuming it causes no harm. However, if you are suffering from a medical condition where you are taking blood thinners, you might want to consult a doctor before consuming turmeric.
Garlic is believed to contain the characteristics that can protect an individual against bacteria and viruses. Therefore, you should add this herb to your foods to protect yourself against cold and other infections.
Another herb that can help prevent cold is Echinacea. Recent researches show that this herb might have a mild protective effect against infections. Especially the upper respiratory ones. However, there isn’t any proof of Echinacea reducing the severity of any illness or infection.
Other than this, you should try consuming refined carbs and sugars. However, food alone will not protect you against the virus. Unless you isolate yourself from the world. Consider yourself lucky that Internet companies are also facilitating the individuals by reducing the package prices and promising to not disconnect for the next 2 months at least.
I am not paying the same Optimum price for my package that I was a month earlier. My company even waived off the late fee that was due. The whole point of mentioning this is that companies are doing whatever they can to facilitate you. I would suggest you contact your provider to find out if they too are offering this waiver!