Coronavirus prevention

Are you panicked by the current pandemics and epidemics overtaking us? Worried about the escalating resistance against treatments and the increasing number of dangerous infections threatening you and your loved ones?

Coronavirus, Chikungunya and Influenza virus are currently among the leading threats to our health. The best way to protect yourself against these viruses is to practice preventive measures and to boost your immune system through dietary and physical means. Such measures are a requisite for anyone wanting to lead a healthy life in these times.

What is the immune system and how it works?

The immune system is an intricate and efficient defense system consisting of multiple cells, tissues and organs that fight against pathogens. On invasion by an organism, the immune system identifies and activates specialized cells. These cells mainly include white blood cells which are of two types: Phagocytes, which engulf and then destroy the pathogens or foriegn bodies and Lymphocytes which produce antibodies and chemicals to kill the invading microbes. All these cells work together to attack the invading antigens and help protect the body. Lymphocytes also help the body remember these pathogens so that in case of a recurrent attack the body is prepared to defend itself.

The immune system can be weakened by many diseases and medications and can make a person immunocompromised. These include a variety of mild to severe diseases which may be congenital or acquired like HIV, certain cancers, malnutrition, hepatitis etc.

Immunosuppressant drugs also lead to a weaker immune system and make you more susceptible to infections. These drugs are used in the treatment of psoriasis, arthritis, Crohn’s disease as well as in cases of organ transplantation. Steroids, TNF inhibitors, Janus kinase inhibitors and monoclonal antibodies are few examples of such drugs. Smoking and alcohol are other major suppressors of the immune system.

People with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to infections than a healthy person and they are frequently more severe and harder to treat. They also suffer from autoimmune diseases, blood disorders, digestive disorders and inflammation of viscera more frequently than immunocompetent individuals. In children and infants, immunosuppression can cause delays in growth and development.

Boost your Immunity(/Raise Your Natural Shields) against Infection

Now that we have established the importance of immunity, one might question if there are ways to enhance our immune system. Although enticing, the concept of increasing immunity is largely unexplored.

Many changes in lifestyle can be adopted to maximize our health and prevent diseases. These include dietary modifications, exercise and other preventive measures. There are also many natural ways to boost your immune system by including certain diets and actions in your day to day life such as:

Amla (Indian Gooseberry Powder): 

Amla is choked full of nutrients which boost your immunity like vitamin C, iron and calcium. This fruit is rich in antioxidants which help decrease the number of free radicals in your body. Free radicals cause damage to cells and increase the process of aging and by reducing these, Amla improves your immunity and increases your chances of surviving an infection.

Turmeric

Use of turmeric root, also called “Indian saffron”, is an important natural way to boost immunity. It improves the immunomodulatory power of your body. Curcumin, the bright yellow component of turmeric, has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities. It also possesses antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties which help fight off infections. It’s antioxidant action makes it a natural and effective immunity booster.

Ginger:

The use of ginger during flu and cough is popular due to its soothing effect on the throat. It contains gingerols and shaogals which are anti-inflammatory and help in faster recovery from colds and sore throats. Research shows that ginger has numerous health benefits including antiviral and antimicrobial properties and helps your immune system fight against infections. It is also rich in antioxidants which boosts your immune system and better equips it against environmental pathogens.

Eating well

A healthy diet helps not only in the growth of our body but also in boosting our immune system in their fight against pathogens. Studies show that malnourishment makes your body more vulnerable to diseases since the cells in your immune system can not get the energy they need to fight. Green vegetables, citrus fruits, seeds and nuts are most helpful in building a healthy immune system.

A-B-C-D-Es

Vitamins A, B6, C, D and E are necessary for the development and proper functioning of your immune system. The most essential among these is Vitamin C, which is commonly found in citrus fruits and may increase the formation of white blood cells.

Adequate sleep and reducing stress
These also have a beneficial effect on the immune system. Inadequate sleep can lead to a heightened inflammatory response which depletes the T-cells in your body and diminishes your body’s immune response. Chronic stress on the other hand is known to suppress the immune system due to production of a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol interferes with the reproduction and functioning of T-cells and also suppresses the synthesis of IgA antibodies. Regular practice of breathing exercises, yoga and meditation can help decrease stress.

Exercise

Along with an overall good health, exercise can also have a more direct effect on your immune system by promoting circulation of T-cells which help protect the body against infection. Studies have shown an improvement in immunity with regular workouts. However, prolonged and harsh exercise can actually have an adverse effect on your immune system and make you more susceptible to infections.

No Alcohol and Smoking

Alcohol has proven to adversely affect the immune system in several studies and should be avoided, especially in people taking immunosuppressive medication. Smoking also not only raises your risk of cancer but also decreases both your innate and adaptive immunity.

Conclusion

These natural ingredients, combined with a healthier lifestyle, make your immune system stronger and more efficient. A stronger immune system gives you better protection against the constantly evolving threats of infection that surround us. However, if one does get infected, a well equipped immune system also ensures milder symptoms and a quick recovery. The best way to decrease the spread of infection is to practice good hygiene and adopt a diet and lifestyle that boosts your immunity.