Immunity building in the time of Corona: 5 Science-based techniques
Fitterfly - Team Nutrition
- Posted On March 21, 2020
You are washing your hands 10 times a day. Stopped touching your face even if it means not scratching the goddamn itch. You avoid meeting relatives and going to work [well, the last two are kinda fun!]. But what else can you do, to help ward off this crazy new virus?
Help your body fight, by building your immunity.
When you come in contact with any germ, your body tries its best to stop it from getting inside and infecting you. For previously known germs, your body knows how to fight and has some immunity against them. When the germ is brand new, like the novel coronavirus, you gotta know how to strengthen your body’s security system – the immunity.
- The first barrier is skin. Soak up some sun. A few studies indicate that increased UV exposure may limit spread of new corona virus. Spend 30 minutes in morning sunshine [not if you are under quarantine, for God’s sake stay at home!!]. It will also build up Vitamin D which helps strengthen immunity.
- Reinforce the army of ‘microbiome’ – the millions of friendly tiny organisms that live inside our body. Some of these helpful bugs make antimicrobial chemicals and compete with disease causing bugs for food and space. To feed your gut flora, eat more of curd, lots of fruits and vegetables. The more varied and colourful plant foods you consume, the better.
- Body’s next line of defence - the fighter white blood cells, which attack and kill the viruses and bacteria. Nutrients like Vitamin C, D, E, B12, Zinc, Omega-3 – help in production and functioning of WBCs. Another reason to have more of oranges, guava, curd, milk, nuts and seeds.
- Exercise increases blood flow and reduces stress – both known to improve immunity. So, get off the couch, put on some exercise video on YouTube and get moving. You can even spot jog as you binge watch Netflix or Hotstar while ‘working from home’!!
- Lastly, stress is really bad for your immunity. It is easy to get stressed and anxious amidst screaming news anchors and bombardment of WhatsApp messages. Here’s what you should do. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news, including social media. Make time to unwind. Watch a movie, listen to your favourite music, declutter your home or play board games with family. Use credible sources only to obtain up-to-date, scientific information about the illness and how to prevent it.
Utilize this time to heal your body and mind. Eat healthy, read books, spend quality family time, meditate, do yoga and pranayaam. This too, shall pass.
Strong immunity will help ward off and fight a number of infections. Wash hands with soap water, avoid touching your face and practice social distancing to avoid infection with the Novel Corona Virus.
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- Psychological Stress and the Human Immune System: A Meta-Analytic Study of 30 Years of Enquiry. Psychol bull. 2004; Jul 130(4): 601-630.
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