How can you help your body fight COVID-19: Boost your immune system.
Your immune system consists of a complex collection of cells, processes, and chemicals that constantly defends your body against invading pathogens, including viruses, toxins, and bacteria.
Keeping your immune system healthy year-round is key to preventing infection and disease. Making healthy lifestyle choices by consuming nutritious foods and getting enough sleep and exercise are the most important ways to bolster your immune system, but it is better to stop these bacteria, viruses, and other organisms from entering the body in the first place, like; frequent handwashing or cleaning hands with an alcohol-based rub; maintaining social distancing and covering your nose and mouth.
The coronavirus pandemic has turned the world’s attention to the immune system, the body’s defense force against disease-causing bacteria, viruses and other organisms.
What is the immune system exactly?
Our bodies make proteins called antibodies that destroy abnormal cells, but the battle all depends on how healthy we are, both mentally and physically, in the first place. All sorts of factors can affect our immune systems, from a stressful lifestyle or poor sleeping pattern, to a diet lacking in essential nutrients. As a result, sometimes this multi-level system fails us and a germ invades successfully.
Like the Army, the immune system is an intricate network of units that act together to combat invaders, in this case bacteria, viruses and other “enemies”.
Since it is a system of many parts, not a single unit, it cannot technically be boosted. However, it can be strengthened to run efficiently in order to fight off diseases. Keep your body’s soldiers fit and ready by living a healthy lifestyle.
Research has shown that supplementing with certain vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other substances can improve immune response and potentially protect against illness. However, note that some supplements can interact with prescription or over-the-counter medications you’re taking. Some may not be appropriate for people with certain health conditions. Be sure to talk with your healthcare provider before starting any supplements.
What factors can help to build your and your family's immune system?
Consistent, long term exercise has shown to positively influence the functions of the immune system while also keeping other essential functions, such as those of the heart and lungs, healthy. Exercise gets blood circulation going and supports the uptake of oxygen into the brain.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet
Eat fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants which aid in protecting the body’s cells. Eating food that is rich in Vitamin D and Zinc like eggs and seafood – Vitamin D is essential for immune function. Healthy levels of this vitamin may help lower your risk of respiratory infections. The mineral Zinc also helps develop white blood cells, the immune cells that fight off foreign bacteria and viruses.
Other vitamins to include in your diet is Vitamin C. This vitamin supports the function of various immune cells and enhances their ability to protect against infection. It’s also necessary for cellular death, which helps keep your immune system healthy be clearing out old cells and replacing them with new ones.
Then the amino acids in protein products assist with optimal body function and together with antibodies provide improved support to the immune system cells.
Reducing stress and getting quality sleep
Find ways to laugh and lighten the mood at home. Meditation and mindfulness practices do wonders for many people. Yoga and other exercise practices that are also calming on the mind and good for the body. Screen time is likely to increase and this can be counter effective.
Getting enough sleep is also important for the immune system. During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep. Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation, or when you’re under stress. Sleep deprivation may decrease production of these protective cytokines. In addition, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don’t get enough sleep. So, your body needs sleep to fight infectious diseases.
What should you limit or avoid?
Refined carbohydrates and sugars
People with diabetes must take extra care as they are more likely to have more severe symptoms and complications when infected with any virus. Your risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 is likely to be lower if your diabetes is well-managed. Having heart disease or other complications in addition to diabetes could worsen the change of getting seriously ill from COVID-19, like other viral infections, because more than one condition makes it harder for your body to fight the infection.
People over 18 should strive to drink in moderation or not at all. Alcohol tends to play a role in depressing the immune system. Heavy consumption has been clinically linked to an increased infection susceptibility. Alcohol use, especially heavy use, weakens the immune system and thus reduces the ability to cope with infectious diseases.
Coronavirus is a new threat that we are facing as a planet. As such, all we can do is take care of ourselves as best we can and be open to ways to stay mentally and physically healthy.
If you decide that you want to try a supplement, speak with your healthcare provider first if you are using other medication, as some supplements may interact with certain medications or are inappropriate for some people.
How will Chaya help you?
In our everyday hectic world, it is not always possible to maintain a healthy and balanced diet. Chaya “Cnidoscolus Aconitifolius” contains many vitamins like Vitamin C and Vitamin A, minerals like Zinc and is also a good source of protein – all needed to help build the immune system. Its content of amino acids which is the building blocks for protein have been shown to have a remarkable amount of influence on immune function.
Chaya leaves has a hypoglycemic effect, helping the cells in your pancreas to produce insulin to get the sugar out of your blood and into your cells, thus assisting the body to break up carbs and turn them into sugar which is fuel for the body, thus reducing the risk of sugars impairing the functions of white blood cells in the body, limiting the body’s ability to fend off infections.
Chaya contains anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective properties thus enhancing the histological functions of the kidney and liver. Based on Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and The American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) expert panel consensus statement, people with chronic liver disease (CLD), including hepatitis B, hepatitis C, alcohol-related liver diseases, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and cirrhosis may be at increased risk for COVID-19 susceptibility and its adverse outcomes.