2020 seems to be the year of COVID – 19. Since February, it’s been ruling the Internet. It has led to canceled weddings, graduations, celebrations, exams, holidays, etc. A large number of human lives have been lost so far; almost 5,00,000 people worldwide, and it’s still going more robust in July with many others left debilitated in its wake. In the last few months, we have seen how it swept our planet and threatened our existence.

COVID-19 affects all, but with an affliction for the elderly and the people with comorbidity like Obesity, Diabetes, Hypertension, Pre-existing heart / Lung / Kidney issues, compromised immune systems. The exact nature of this virulent virus is still largely unknown.

So, how do we protect ourselves? Is there a cure or a vaccine?
Sadly, neither! Although numerous trials are underway. One of the ways is to improve and boost your immune system so your body can defend itself.

You may ask, are there ways to boost the immune system effectively? Yes, there is sufficient data to conclude that individual lifestyle practices and modifications can boost your immune system.

Why is it necessary at this moment to improve your immune system?
The COVID – 19 is a virulent virus that attacks individuals with poor/low/decreased immunity first and more severely. As there is no cure option, it’s always more logical to take health supplements, make lifestyle changes, and try to stay indoors as much as possible, at least until the vaccine or drug against COVID -19 is released.

How does your immune system work to protect you?
Our body’s immune system is like a multi-defense-level system that wards off harmful organisms, bacteria, and viruses. Typically when our body senses a foreign object, it starts a host of immune responses that cause inflammation. Leading to increased production of mucous that leads to a runny nose to trap the particles there, later leads to stuffiness & headache as the sinuses get inflamed. It also triggers sneezing to remove the foreign particles from the nasal passages. With further inflammation, a fever develops. This is the standard response to an influenza virus or other coronaviruses. But COVID – 19 can penetrate more rooted to the lungs causing fluid build-up, and further inflammation leads to a cytokine storm. This leads to a more severe type of COVID. All of this depends on the body’s ability to fight the virus at first go and hence depends on our immune system status.
https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/coronavirus-how-does-the-immune-system-respond-to-a-coronavirus-attack/article31319716.ece

What are the ways to boost your immune system?

Seven habits that can improve your immune system:

1. Sleep: (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3256323/

Sleep is critical for the body to heal itself. Studies show that an adult typically needs 7 hrs of sleep for the body to rest. This is critical to boosting your immune system. Deep sleep at night, which is a slow-wave sleep pattern, increases the levels of Growth hormone and decreases levels of stress hormones. This enables your body’s immune cells to be alert to any infection/invasion.
Hence the age-old saying that “Deep Sleep Cures All.”

https://apnews.com/b7fb8585527db3a7f06563dce7982eff 

2. Exercise: (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29517845/

Staying active increases the body’s ability to host a strong immune response. One of the ways to boost your immune system is through regular exercise. Research has shown that adults who exercise regularly have a better immune response. Yoga is an aerobic form of exercise, where the oxygen in our tissues is increased compared to other types of use. Research is showing that regular Yoga practice is one of the ways to boost your immune system.

https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/yoga-another-way-to-prevent-osteoporosis 

 

3. Healthy Diet: (https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/preventing-illness/support-your-health-with-nutrition

Start a healthy diet that is rich in nutrients. Try to eat five portions of fruits and vegetables daily in your diet. As the Vitamins, Proteins, and Minerals in our food are the lifelines that the body needs to improve your immune system. Skip Ketosis, as this adds additional stress to your body. Stick to a healthy diet and avoid heavy meals at night. Add Protein-rich food to your daily Diet like seafood, eggs, legumes, lentils as proteins are essential for a robust immune system.

https://www.everydayhealth.com/mediterranean-diet/complete-mediterranean-diet-food-list-day-meal-plan/ 

4. Hydrate :
Hydration is critical to our body’s normal functioning. A minimum of 2 liters of water is required for the body’s natural process and detox. Sugared drinks and aerated drinks are harmful as they release more free radicals. Avoid excess of them. Drinking fresh coconut water and fruit juices like pomegranate/grapefruit in moderation is one way to boost the immune system.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/fitness/runners-here-s-how-to-keep-yourself-hydrated-during-a-marathon/story-YKnw7eQIgOhRST4OvrNpDM.html 

5. Cut down Alcohol: (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4590612/

Excess alcohol drinking leads to a depressed immune response. The gut bacteria and composition change, this leads to a change in the microbe environment, which disrupts the gut barrier function. Hence it leads to an inflammatory cascade.
Control the Alcohol to 1 – 2 glass per day maximum. For every glass of Alcohol have one glass of water to dilute its effect on the gut. This is one of the ways to improve your immune system.

6. Meditate / Cut down stress: (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0165178116308472

https://www.everydayhealth.com/stress/guide/relief/ 

Some stress is good for the body as it keeps us alert. But chronic stress wears down the body, impacting the hormonal and immune status of it. Research has shown that chronic stress has a depressive effect on the body, which leads to a sluggish immune response in return. One of the best ways to combat stress is by meditation. Regular practice of meditation has been proven to reduce the impact of stress on our bodies.Incorporating 15 minutes of meditation into your daily life is one of the ways to boost the immune system

https://wallpaperplay.com/board/meditation-wallpapers 

7. Take your supplements:
Certain nutritional supplements are critical for our well-being, especially at times of pandemics. 

Vitamins A, C, D, E are the most important. Vitamin A aids the skin barrier function. Vitamin C helps in antibody formation; Vitamin D is required primarily for responses against the virus, Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant. All of this taken as supplements will boost your immune system. Zinc helps in wound healing and normal functioning of the immune system.
Along with this Iron, Folate, Copper, and antioxidants like Glutathione, grape seed extract, Alpha lipoic acid plays a substantial role in improving your immune system.
Antioxidant supplements like KosmoGlow / Sun protect Capsules have high antioxidant content to boost immunity against free radical damage.

https://www.homecaremag.com/november-2019/nutrition-homecare
A healthy immune system equates healthy life. At best, it’s essential to have a healthy immune system but more so during a pandemic. By incorporating minor lifestyle changes, you can boost your immune system and improve your immune system.,Thus going a long way in staying healthy.

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