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Due to Coronavirus, many of us have kept a distance with friends and family, being isolated at home and unable to follow a regular everyday routine. All that is mentally and physically very demanding. Regardless of how hard the situation is, you should always focus on your health.
Deficiency of Vitamin D may be crucial against COVID-19 infections. That’s supported by the fact that Nordic countries are seeing lower mortality rates. People in Northern areas are used to supplement Vitamin D, especially during winter and spring.
Vitamin D is linked to lowering and regulating inflammation of cytokine response, which is causing side effects of COVID-19 and severe problems with ventilation and mortality. It’s important to realise that living in a sunny area doesn’t immediately guarantee maximum Vitamin D levels, hence for many, it may be more convenient to consume it through diet instead.
Vitamin D is believed to play a role in serotonin activity (a chemical which contributes to well being and happiness). For that reason, it’s important to keep your levels at maximum, especially when many of us have to lock ourselves indoors or spend limited time outdoors.
It’s recommended to take 1000 IU of Vitamin D a day, especially when staying indoors during the lockdown.
Vitamin C is filled with antioxidants that have a very positive impact on the body’s defence system. Antioxidants will boost the immune system by neutralizing free radicals in your body and reverse cellular damage. Vitamin C promotes wound healing and keeps your skin healthy to keep harmful compounds from entering your body. Vitamin C helps you to combat cold and you may feel symptoms passing by easier, but it immediately doesn’t mean you won’t catch a cold. It’s also proven to regulate immune cells phagocytes, to eliminate harmful bacteria in your body.
Vitamin C is essential for stress response. Adrenal glands on top of each kidney react to stress by releasing cortisol. The more cortisol, the more vitamin C is used. Cortisol and other hormones allow us to cope in stressful scenarios, but actions like that put pressure on the immune system. When adrenal gland can not make additional adrenal hormones required, it could lead to fatigue over time.
The body cannot make Vitamin C, hence eating a variety of fruit and vegetables on a daily basis will meet most of the C Vitamin daily value, which on average is around 90 mg per day. Vitamin C is found in broccoli, sprouts, green and red bell pepper, tomatoes, citrus fruits and among others.
Zinc is a mineral which is essential to the immune system, as it’s required for immune cell development and functioning. Therefore it’s often found in immune-supporting supplements. Zinc deficiency causes an increased risk of diseases and infections, which around 25% of adults are suffering. Zinc is efficient to take when already having a cold or being sick as the duration of sickness may be reduced. Zinc supplementation may protect against respiratory tract infections.
Elderberry is packed with vitamin C, fibre and antioxidants. Elderberry extracts have antibacterial and antiviral potential against bacteria for respiratory tract infections and influenza virus. It may also reduce symptoms related to viral infections and reduce the severity of colds. It’s a very popular supplement to treat cold and flu symptoms. Not to mention it may have antidepressant properties and may be good for heart health.
It’s believed that 70% of immune health comes from the gut. There’s a direct link between gut health and mood, depression levels, mental health, skin condition, autoimmune disease and immune system functions. It’s crucial to have a healthy microbiome, as they act as defenders of your gut and fight back damaging bacteria. On the other hand, if your diet consists of high-fat, processed and refined sugar foods, then bad bacteria will start to overrun good bacteria. Also, it’s important to exercise to diversify gut microflora.
Boost your gut health with fermented foods, choose high-fibre options, eat garlic and onion, supplement prebiotics and probiotics to promote and maintain gut health and immune function.
What else boosts the immune system?
Benefits of various mushrooms range between anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant properties to supporting healthy gut microbiota which can stimulate cells of the immune system.
Shiitake, cordyceps, lion’s mane, maitake, reishi are all potential to boost the immune system. Shiitake is one of the best mushrooms when looking at a high dosage of Vitamin D, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and enzymes, which are linked to boosting the immune system. Another good choice is Reishi, which has a direct effect on white blood cells, therefore having anti-inflammatory properties, reduce stress, improve sleep and lessen fatigue. Mushrooms are either supplements, teas or tinctures.
Fresh garlic contains compound alliin, which when chewed or crushed turns into allicin. Garlic has proven to reduce inflammation and include antioxidants. Garlic may also reduce your symptoms, in case you fall ill or may prevent you from falling ill. For many, the smell of garlic is unbearable, hence a more convenient option would be to consume powdered garlic or aged garlic extract supplements.
10 ways to relieve stress
- Eat anti-inflammatory and balanced diet
- Consider supplements
- Have regular walks in nature
- Spend time with friends and family
- Cut out things that add to your stress
- Laugh out loud
- Listen to music
- Tree hugging