AS the coronavirus news takes up most of the news cycles, and we hoard on alcohol, disinfectants and facial masks, everybody is looking to do whatever they can to minimize and stop the transmission of sickness and disease. Recent literature shows that those most susceptible to COVID-19 are men, the elderly and smokers. The World Health Organization has always emphasized that good health is the best defense against infection (as well as washing our hands). COVID-19 or not, here are some tips to help us prevent sickness and infection:
Sleep well and manage stress. Lack of sleep and stressing out increases secretions of the hormone cortisol which likewise suppresses basic immune function
Smokers beware. Cigarette smoke undermines basic immune defenses and risks increased bronchitis and pneumonia. Children are especially more susceptible to middle ear infections.
Drink less alcohol. More than two drinks daily impairs the immune system and increases vulnerability to lung infections.
Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. These are sources of nutrients your immune system needs. Fruit and vegetable intake improved the response of antibodies that protects against pneumonia.
Consider probiotics. Fermented products have been shown to reduce respiratory infections in adults and kids. What are some examples of probiotics? Kimchi, Sauerkraut, Natto, Yoghurt, Kefir, Kombucha are all examples of probiotic foods.
Get some sun. Low vitamin D levels correlate with a greater risk of respiratory infection. A 2010 study in kids showed that 1200 IU a day of supplemental vitamin D reduced the risk of influenza A. 10-15 minutes of sunlight is enough to help with our Vitamin D.
Go for the garlic. Garlic is a antimicrobial agent and immune booster. Because heat deactivates a key active ingredient, add it to foods just before serving. Try having it raw sprinkled over food to maximize its effects.
Eat medicinal mushrooms. A recent study showed that a concentrated extract of shiitake enhanced immune function in women with breast cancer.
Our health is the product of what we do, eat, and the environment we belong to. In this season, let’s take a control of our health by eating, sleeping and exercising well and managing our stress.