It’s almost one year since the World Health Organization declared covid 19 as a public health emergency. Since the declaration in 2020, almost 2 million people have lost their lives and around 91 million reported cases world wide. Some survived it but still remember the deadly experience they encountered with the disease. Every life lost, leaves love ones behind with the long devastating effects. Sadly, the numbers are alarmingly increasing despite the approved covid vaccine.
As people are embracing the new abnormalities, some of us are starting to forget our bodies are not immune to this deadly disease. We are forgetting the World Health Organization’s guidelines that kept some of us alive until now while millions didn’t make it to 2021. This infection can cause severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and pneumonia many more complications and of curse death. Unfortunately, non of us know the long term effects it may have on survivors.
Now that we have things back in prospective, here is another reminder for all of us. Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread according to WHO includes;
1) Regular washing of hands
2) Covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing
3) Thoroughly cooking meat, poultry and eggs
4) Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of cough or sneezing
NOW, LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT IMMUNITY AND CORONAVIRUS
Our immune system is a group of special cells, organs and chemicals that help fight microbes or toxins (poisons) produced by these microbes that causes infections in or on the body. The white blood cells within our blood stream is the body’s first line soldiers that helps fight against infections. These cells move through the blood and other parts of the body looking for microbes such as bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi to destroy and prevent the occurrence of infections.
The body has lots mechanisms it uses to fight infections. Aside the body’s own immune system, it also has several ways of defending the body against microbes that causes infections. The body fluids like the saliva, tears, and skin oil contains bacterial-killing properties that helps reduce the infection in/on the body. Also the phlegm (mucous) from our lungs also traps foreign particles which has the tendency of causing infections. The phlegm with trapped foreign particles is waved upwards by the small hairs (cilia) and then coughed out. Within our digestive tract, the mucous lining contains antibodies and the acid in the stomach also kills most microbes ingested through food. These microbes are flushed out through our bowels and urines.
The strength of our immune systems weakens due to many contributing factors. Some medication and medical conditions are known to weaken our immune system. As you age, the strength of your immune system also drops. This calls for you to eat well, be physically active and avoid drinking alcohol and smoking.
DIET & LIFESYLE TO BOOST THE IMMUNITY
For the past five years, I have to come to appreciate how the food we eat keeps us away from some sicknesses. The Holy Book commands man to use the food from the soil as food for satisfaction and also medicines for both preventive and curative purposes. The food we eat daily do not only provide us with good energy or help us grow but also boost our body soldiers to keep us healthy and free from diseases. This magic is done by the awesome vitamins and minerals from our diet.
Most citrus fruits like grapefruit, tangerines, oranges, lemons, limes, are known to be the first line domestic remedy for cold because build up and boost your immune system. These citrus fruits are high in vitamin C which is known to increase the production of white blood cells; which are the body’s own soldiers that helps fight infection. Vitamin C is needed daily for continued health because your body does not produce or store it. Pawpaw is also one the fruit rich in vitamin C that you can consider in the absence of these citrus fruits. In addition, it also contains appreciable amount of potassium, B vitamins, and folate which are beneficial to your overall health.
Natural spices such as garlic, ginger, turmeric have an immune boosting property known as antioxidant. This property boosts the body’s immunity by getting rid of some substances (free radicals) that have the tendency causing illness. Garlic on its own contains allicin which is also the immune-boosting property. Turmeric is one of the healthy natural spice that also have an anti-inflammatory effect that boost our body’s immunity by reducing pain.
GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLES
Eating more of the greens in this season is essential in boosting your immunity against infections. Most green leafy vegetables are supercharged with vitamins and minerals. Broccoli, spinach, Kontomire, spring onions should be our best friends in all our meals. The above listed vegetables are rich source antioxidants, beta carotene and anti-inflammatory which may increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems.
Yogurts that live and active cultures like Greek yogurt stimulate your immune system to help fight disease. also yogurt with vitamin D helps regulate the immune system by boosting your body’s natural defenses against diseases.
NUTS & SEEDS
Nuts and seeds play a magical role in boosting our immune system. Nuts like almond contains vitamin E and healthy fats which plays a vital role in building a healthy immune system. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin meaning it requires the presence of fat to be absorbed properly; of which most nuts and seeds contains these fats. Sunflower seeds also contain minerals such as phosphorus and magnesium in addition to vitamin B-6 and vitamin E which are powerful antioxidant that regulate and maintain the immune system function.
POULTRY & SHELLFISH
When you are sick, a chicken soup served is more than a feel-good food but rather helps improves the symptoms of cold and also protect you from getting sick in the first place. Poultry such as chicken and turkey are high vitamin B-6 which is also plays a vital role in the formation of new and healthy red blood cells which also have direct positive effect on the immune system. Our bodies need zinc to help our immune cells to function as intended. Zinc from some types of sea foods like shellfish help boost your immune system. Some shellfish that are high in zinc include crab, clams, lobster, mussels. Too much zinc can also actually inhibit immune system function.
BE PHYSICAL ACTIVE
Living a sedentary lifestyle i.e. a life without any form physical movement increase your risk of being ill and also reduce your immunity power. Engaging in activities like walking, jumping, swimming, jogging, cycling, washing dishes and cooking, yoga, etc enhances circulation of blood to all parts of the blood. The circulating blood contains all the essential vitamins and minerals responsible for building a healthy immune system. During circulation, these elements are distributed to various sites to enhance immunity of the body.
AVOID DRINKING ALCOHOL AND SMOKING
Drinking alcohol is not healthy way to boost your immunity against COVID 19 but rather suppresses your immune system to under function. That is, you increase your risk of getting infected without your immune system fight back. Smoking on the other hand rather worsens the case, it doesn’t not affect your immune system but rather affect your respiratory system.
SAMPLE MEAL PLAN
MEAL TIME MEAL
6 – 8 AM Corn/Wheat/ Tombrown/Oatmeal
+ Sugar & Skimmed milk (to taste)
+ Cut vegetables sandwich into 2 Slides of wheat bread
10 AM 1 medium size of pawpaw/orange/apple
12 – 1 PM Banku
+ Okra stew
+ skinless chicken and crab
3 PM 1 medium size of tangerine
5 – 6 PM
+ Grilled fish or chicken
+Salad & Or Wholegrain
We are what we eat so, don’t just eat feel your belly but eat right by making choices of the foods listed above. Always remember the food we eat are also medicines to keep us healthy and strong. Stay safe, follow all the safe precautions and eat right!
For Dietary counseling and Menu planning, contact Dietitian Nii Amartei at Info@thesistersshow.com and we will get back to you.