It’s impossible to avoid the fact that we are currently facing a flu pandemic, in the form of Coronavirus, a.k.a COVID-19. Despite the mania in the media, the thousands of people clearing supermarket shelves of toilet roll, eggs, pasta and tinned goods (could you not!), there is NO NEED TO PANIC.
CORONAVIRUS CHECK LIST*
✔ Regularly wash your hands
✔ Cover your mouth and nose if you sneeze
✔ Avoid large gatherings of people
✔ Avoid public transport if possible
✔ Work from home, if you can
✔ Stay in contact with people by phoning, emailing, social media
✔ Help vulnerable members of society
✘ Touch your face
✘ Interact with other people, especially the vulnerable, if you have flu symptoms such as a high temperature / coughing
✘ Think that you’re alone, we’re all in this together
✘ Panic buy toilet rolls & food
*advice is changing daily, so check with your Governments guidelines
YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Your immune system is made up of organs, antibodies, white blood cells, proteins and chemicals that together work to fight off bacteria, viruses, infections, and even cancer.
THINGS THAT AFFECT YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
AGE: with age T cell (a lymphocyte, a.k.a a white blood cell) function decreases, which is why the eldery are more vulnerbale to viruses and infections.
CHRONIC STRESS: prolonged stress impairs T cell function due to excess release of the hormone cortisol.
DIET: your immune system needs adequate nourishment to function. A poor diet will likely result in deficiencies which might inhibit immune function.
EXERCISE: being active may increase your antibody (a.ka immunoglobulin, a Y-shaped protein that helps stop invaders harming your body) and white blood cell activity. Some studies even suggest that excersie can encourage bacteria to clear from airways.
SMOKING: smokers are at higher risk of getting infections, and their body will have a harder time fighting them off. If you smoke you’ll have lower levels of proctective antioxidants such as vitamin C in your blood.
SLEEP: lack of sleep, or poor quality sleep, leaves you more susceptible to illness. Furthermore, your body is likely to take longer to recover.
Unfortunatley, no food can stop you getting a virus or infection, but good nutrition can help support your body’s immune system; help it to do its job and fight off whatever is attempting to invade your body.
1. VITAMIN C
At the onset of an infection, upping your intake of vitamin c may help reduce symptoms and speed up your recovery time.
Sources of vitamin C: guava, kiwis, strawberries, oranges, lemons, papaya, mango, bell peppers, broccoli, sprouts, kale, tomaotes, and my personal favourite camu camu (it contains the highest vitamin C content of all fruits! I add a ¼ tsp of camu camu powder to smoothies).
Taking zinc during the winter months, or when you are more vulnerable to viruses, has been shown to reduce the severity and length of the infection.
Sources of zinc: meat, shellfish (especially oysters, crab and lobster), eggs, firm tofu, seeds such as hemps / sesame / pumpkin / chia / flax, nuts especially cashews / almonds / peanuts, beans and legumes, oatmeal.
Your gut is responsible for so much more than just digesting your food. 70% of immune system resides there!! 70 PERCENT! Taking a probiotic can help prevent bacteria taking up residence in your gut, and promote production of antibodies to fight off unwanted invaders.