Protein-rich foods and vitamins boost the immune system
Given the worldwide spread of coronavirus, probably all of you have come across at least one article in the past few weeks that emphasizes the importance of boosting our immune system during the quarantine period.
But do you know why this is so important? As a start, the risk of catching a cold or a virus is reduced when you have a stable immune system. In addition, if you still get the flu or another type of viral infection, the immune system is the one that tries to find a way to deal with it.
The good news is that we can improve our body’s defense system with just a few simple steps:
Consume foods that are rich in vitamins A, C, D и E
You probably see the word “vitamin” hundreds of times a day when you read the latest COVID-19 news, but there is a reason for this – some vitamins are very closely related to maintaining the function of the immune system.
It is widely accepted that the intake of vitamins, no matter what the amount is, can only bring health benefits. However, studies have shown that excessive intake of certain vitamins can lead to other health hazards.
Затова е добре да сте внимателни и да си набавяте необходимите витамини по естествен начин чрез храната. Прибягвайте към хранителни добавки само ако са предписани от лекуващия ви лекар или при доказан дефицит на съответните витамини в организма.
Therefore, it is a good idea to be careful and get the necessary vitamins naturally through food. Use dietary supplements only if they are prescribed by your doctor or if you’re struggling with a proven deficiency of the respective vitamins.
However, let’s focus on those vitamins that can improve the body’s defenses:
Vitamin A helps build antibodies that neutralize pathogens which can cause different types of infection.
Foods rich in Vitamin A: liver (mainly veal and turkey), fish, egg whites, cheese, nuts, pumpkin, spinach, carrots and many others.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body deal with infections. Foods rich in Vitamin E are nuts, spinach and various types of seeds.
Consume protein foods that contain indispensable amino acids
Probably protein food is not the first or even the second think that comes to mind when we are looking for ways to boost our immune systems.
Because of this, let’s stop for a moment and explain what protein intake has to do with maintaining a healthy immune system.
The antibodies responsible for building the immune system are proteins. This means that when we consume protein food, we help our body build its own antibodies that protect it from invading other organisms.
We should especially consume protein-rich foods that contain all the essential amino acids, ie. amino acids that are not naturally produced by our body and can only be obtained through the following foods:
- Proteins of animal origin: white chicken and turkey meat, fish, cottage cheese, egg white;
- Vegetable proteins: peas, cereals, mushrooms, oats, bananas, dates and more.
Take herbs in the form of tea, drops or juice
The easiest and most affordable way to take advantage of the properties of herbs is in the form of tea. Teas specifically designed for viral infections and colds are most suitable in this case as they contain a combination of many herbs that relieve cold and flu symptoms. If you are not a fan of tea, you can buy drops or herbal-based syrups from pharmacies or Bio food shops that are taken dissolved in a glass of water or juice.
What are the herbs we should be looking for?
Black elderberry contains anthocyanins, which have a strong antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect.
Aloe vera juice is extracted from the inside of the leaves of the plant and contains many amino acids, vitamins and minerals, which explains its beneficial effect on the immune system.
Astragalus is a plant of the legume family whose root contains many useful substances for the human body such as saponins, flavonoids, polysaccharides, glycosides and others. Astragalus activates the immune system and has an anti-inflammatory effect.
You can find it in drug stores and organic stores in the form of capsules or tablets.
Echinacea is known to relieve the symptoms of colds and viral infections such as cough and headache. Unfortunately, the results of the most recent studies show that echinacea is not particularly effective when used as a preventative measure against colds and similar healthy conditions.
A number of studies indicate that these herbs are harmless, since most of the patients show no side effects. However, if you have an autoimmune disease, it is a good idea to consult your doctor before you start taking such herbs regularly. According to experts, the use of immunostimulants (even natural, such as herbs) is contraindicated in people with autoimmune diseases.
The rule of the two “S” – Enough sleep and more sport
As you may have heard many times, physical activity and sleep regenerate the immune system and help the body recover after physical and mental strain.
Probably most of you are working at home during the state of emergency, which means that you save at least one hour from travelling to and from your office. This is a great opportunity to add some more physical activity to your daily routine! Sport in the morning before work, during lunch break or in the evening – it’s your choice.
In addition, you can now fall asleep a lot earlier, because much of the preparation for the next day is no longer relevant – you probably don’t waste any time choosing the right outfit and don’t prepare your partner’s and your children’s lunch boxes. Take advantage of this “free time” and try to sleep for at least 8 hours a night.