With the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, it is only normal that many people are getting more concerned about staying healthy and maintaining a healthy immune system. Now is the time to take a holistic approach to general health maintenance and boost your immune system.
Boosting your immune system is essential to staying healthy. Doing so can benefit your body and boost your defenses against viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. Your immune system is your main line of defense against illness, so it only makes sense that you’d want to keep it in top shape.
Your immune system is designed to fight off sicknesses and viruses. But unfortunately, the immune system can get worn down by stress, toxins, lack of exercise, and unhealthy eating. This prevents our bodies from effectively fighting off sickness. There are no specific supplements that will help protect against coronavirus, but there are ways to boost your immune system and give it a fighting chance.
Here are 7 ways you can boost your immune system…
1. Add beta carotene to your diet
Beta carotene is the red-orange pigment found in plants and fruits, especially carrots and colorful vegetables. It is also the main safe dietary source of vitamin A, essential for normal growth and development, immune system function, healthy skin, and vision. It has also been found that beta carotene has been responsible for increasing the number of white blood cells and the activity of natural killer cells.
Foods rich in beta carotene are apricots, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, grapefruit, chili powder, oregano, paprika, parsley, kale, ketchup, onions, peas, peppers, plums, pumpkin, spinach, sweet potatoes, and more.
2. Up your vitamins C, D, and E intake
Vitamin C and E help protect cells from oxidative stress, while some immune cells need vitamin D to help destroy pathogens that cause infection.
You can get vitamin C from oranges, lemons, limes, berries, kiwifruit, broccoli, tomatoes, and capsicum. Vitamin E can be found in nuts, green leafy vegetables, and vegetable oils. Besides the sun, food sources for vitamin D include eggs, fish, and some milk and margarine brands may be fortified with Vitamin D.
3. Zinc is good for you
Zinc helps to slow down the immune response and control inflammation in your body. It also helps to maintain the integrity of the skin and mucous membranes.
Zinc can be found in foods like oysters, crab, lean meats and poultry, baked beans without added sugar, yogurt, chickpeas, whole grains, dairy, garlic, mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, kale, and more.
4. Make protein your best friend
Protein plays a vital role in building and repairing body tissue and fighting viral and bacterial infections. Since your immune system is made up of proteins and relies on new protein synthesis to function, it’s no surprise that getting too little protein in your diet can weaken your immune system.
To boost your immune system, you have to eat various protein foods, including seafood, lean meat, poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds.
5. Stock up on prebiotics
I’m sure you are wondering what prebiotics are, seeing as you are already familiar with probiotics. Prebiotics are the fuel that feeds and nourishes probiotics. They are basically ingredients that stimulate the growth and/or function of beneficial intestinal microorganisms. Intake of prebiotics has been associated with the increase in tumor-fighting immune cells amongst other immune cells.
Dietary sources of prebiotics are mushroom, garlic, asparagus, chicory roots, bananas, fruits, vegetables, artichokes, leeks, onions, and more.
6. Get hydrated
Water is life! The importance of drinking water cannot be emphasized enough, given its endless benefits to your immunity. Water helps to carry oxygen to your body cells, which results in properly functioning systems. It also works to remove toxins from the body, so drinking more of it could help prevent toxins from building up and negatively impact your immune system.
7. Sleep, sleep and sleep some more
The importance of a good night’s sleep is always forgotten when talking about how to boost your immune system. Sleep definitely plays an important role in immunity. While you sleep, the immune system releases proteins called cytokines, which are needed to fight infection. Being sleep-deprived reduces the amount of cytokines produced, likewise reducing the infection-fighting antibodies you need. What better time to get more sleep than during this social distancing period and stay at home?!
Photo Credit: As Captioned, Featured image: Pixabay.com
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