The COVID-19 outbreak is terrifying and heartbreaking. Other than staying at home, there is something else we can do to protect ourselves such as strengthen our immune system. Let’s look at some tips that can boost your immunity.
First of all, what is immunity? Immunity is the ability of our body to resist and fight off a specific type of infection. It is our body’s defence system. The immune system is responsible for our immunity and is a complex network. The main parts of the immune system including white blood cells, antibodies, skin, the thymus, the complement system, the lymphatic system, the spleen as well as the bone marrow.
So… what I need to do?
Watch your diet
- Should I take some supplements?
You might be wondering if you should take any supplement such as vitamin C as that would help the immune system. As a dietitian, I believe in “ Food is medicine”. Fresh fruits and vegetables not only provide the vitamin C you need but also contain other nutrients such as dietary fibre and minerals. Fruits or vegetables such as oranges, berries, kiwifruit, capsicum, broccoli, green peas and spinach are all rich in vitamin C.
- I want to buy fresh fruit and vegetables daily but it is not always practical.
Consider frozen! Frozen vegetables and fruit in some cases have higher nutritional quality due to shorter storage and travel time. Frozen fruit and vegetables are picked and frozen immediately which prevent the nutritional content being deteriorated. Frozen broccoli, berries, carrots or sprouts are all affordable while nutritionally comparable alternatives. When fresh fruit and vegetables are not always available, consider some frozen fruit and vegetables! Eat at least five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit each day. The more varieties and colours, the better.
- Are there any herbs that could help?
Try to put some herbs such as garlic, ginger and turmeric in your cooking as they have anti-inflammatory properties.
- Which snacks are good for the immune system?
Yogurt, almonds and sunflower seeds are all great options. Yogurt such as Greek yogurt with “live and active cultures” printed on the label would be the yogurt that helps your immune system. Also, go for plain yogurts rather than flavoured as that tends to be higher in sugar content. You can, however, add some frozen berries, banana or some cinnamon powder to flavour that up. Almond and sunflower seeds are high in vitamin E as well as other good nutrients. Vitamin E is an antioxidant which is one of the crucial vitamins that keep the immune system healthy.
- Drink enough fluid!
But what is enough? For adults, it is recommended to drink 8-10 cups per day. Fresh tap water is the best but feels free to add a slice of lemon or lime along with some mint leaves. If you tend to forget, try to drink some with your meals and snacks. Keep calm and stay hydrated.
Be Physically Active
You can be physically active even though you need to stay at home! Try to take a 10 minutes walk at home after each meal! That would add up to at least 30 minutes! Also, try getting around 10-30 minutes midday sun exposure three times per week.
As an adult, getting full eight hours of sleep helps your immune system. Otherwise, your body would produce stress hormones such as cortisol which can suppress your immune system.
Stay calm and don’t stress out.
When you are stressed, your body will produce stress hormones that suppress your immune system. Consider taking some “me time” such as meditation or call your families and friends!
Interested to know more? Click on Staying Healthy during COVID-19 for more information!