How to the boost immune system against COVID-19

Alisha Shinde
Sunday, 8 March 2020

With the outbreak of COVID-19, it has become all the more important to have a strong immune system. Nutritionist Mugdha Pradhan shares some important tips 

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the foremost concern has been: How to stay away from the deadly virus? While most of you would be taking all the precautionary measures recommended by World Health Organisation (WHO), and also curtailing travel, not attending large gatherings etc, you need to also keep in mind that you must build a strong immune system to fight such deadly viruses. 

Reports suggest that older adults and people who have severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease seem to be at higher risk, and it’s harder for them to cope with and recover from the illness. This may be because of a weak immune system, so it becomes imperative for you to focus on boosting and strengthening your immunity.
 
That said, one cannot strengthen their immune system overnight. The right kind of diet, fitness and sleep leads to good health. Mugdha Pradhan, a functional nutritionist and founder of Thrive FNC, tells us about some effective solutions to strengthen immunity.
 
“It may seem clichéd, but the most important thing is to build a strong immunity and nothing can offer better than what nature offers you,” she says, adding, “Eating the right healthy food is important here.” The first step towards having a strong immune system is having a good gut. “If you can keep your gut healthy, you can keep fit and healthy,” she says, adding, “A healthy gut makes up a strong immune system, a good heart, a good brain health, an effective digestion, and also keeps autoimmune diseases at bay.”
 
For a happy gut 
The nutritionist says that it is extremely important to give your body good nutrition to keep your immune system strong. Many of us are attracted to snacking because it is tasty, but processed foods are loaded with sugar. 

These foods containing additives have no benefit but rather weaken the immune system. Hence maintaining a good gut health is important to keep diseases at bay.

Here are a few tips: 
A healthy gut depends on the type of food you eat, so make sure you consume a lot of vegetables, fruits that are rich in probiotics.
 
To strengthen your immunity, it is very important to consume supplements in the form of immune nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B-complex, vitamin E, vitamin D, zinc, selenium, and copper that will support your body to fight against the pathogens.

Snacking in certain situations is unavoidable, so the nutritionist suggests having fresh fruit sticks, seeds, a few roasted nuts instead. 
 
Avoid stress
Pradhan says that constant stress and overthinking can also weaken the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens. “Worrying too much and often being stressed out makes you more vulnerable to infections, viruses and diseases because the stress hormone can suppress the effectiveness of the immune system,” the nutritionist points out.
 
The only way to counter this is by finding time for yourself and being focused on setting up a time for meditation or a bit of rewinding time every single day. “Remove one hour from your everyday life and reflect on yourself and do not stress,” advises Pradhan. 

Eat Right, Eat Clean 

  • Be mindful of what you eat and consider the fact that your body is made up of what you consume on a daily basis.  
  • Citrus fruits should be your best friends since they are rich in vitamin C, a component that is extremely important to strengthen the immunity.
  • Consume yellow and orange fruits and vegetables like pumpkin and cantaloupe.
  • Leafy vegetables are a good source of vitamins, minerals and calcium and hence must be a part of your daily diet. However, it is important to wash the green leafy vegetables thoroughly. Vinegar or baking soda wash is recommended to clean them.
  • Avoid oil or reduce its intake.
  • Add herbs like oregano, thyme, echinacea and so on to your food to boost your immunity. 
  • It is best to consume organically grown local produce which is free of fertilisers and chemicals. 
  • Say no to packaged and refined food.  
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