Having a strong immunity will significantly help you survive the recent Corona-virus pandemic. Thankfully, both macro and micronutrients include a range of vitamins and minerals that can boost your immunity and help you avoid complications and severity of the infection.
High-Protein Diets for Cell-Mediated Immunity
Proteins are essential building blocks for most cells, antibodies, complement system and the chemical mediators that are required in cell-mediated immunity. This type of immunity provides a more robust and specialized response to foreign pathogens. Having a low-protein diet can significantly reduce the cell count and efficacy of the immune response. Thus, eating protein-rich foods like almonds, eggs, fortified milk, poultry, pulses, and seafood can provide your body with the amino acids for substantial white blood cell production.
Omega Three Fatty Acids to Reduce Inflammation
Packed in sardines, tuna, and fish oil, omega three fatty acids – specifically EPA and DHA – have anti-inflammatory properties. During chronic disease states, inflammation increases because of the host’s response to pathogens. Neutrophils release reactive oxygen species (ROS) to fight the offending agent – but in the process, these ROS also destroyed neighboring cells and this makes healing and recovery difficult. But with the optimum intake of fatty acids, the inflammation can be reduced. Thus allowing the body to fight off other pathogens and promote effective wound healing and resolution. EPA and DHA are also involved in the proliferation and migration of immune cells to an infective pathogen.
Vitamins with antioxidant properties like C and E are crucial for boosting immunity. Our immune system contains cells that fight infection by releasing free radicals of oxygen. In chronic disease states, these reactive oxygen species collectively cause damage to the neighboring host cells. Thus, taking in supplements rich in vitamin C and E helps reduce this deleterious effect. While Vitamin A, D and B help in the proliferation and growth of important immune cells. It can help the body to instantaneously produce large numbers of mature lymphocytes and T-cells for mounting a fast and effective immune response.
Minerals that are particularly responsible for boosting immunity include zinc, iron, copper, and selenium. Zinc and ironwork synergistically for the proliferation and migration of immune cells to the offending pathogen. They are also important for the production of antibodies from plasma cells – these are important for early detection and engulfing of the infectious pathogens. Zinc can be obtained through oysters, beef, nuts, dark chocolate and yogurt. While iron-rich foods include meat, fish, poultry and leafy vegetables. Copper has been found to help boost the immune system specifically because of its chemoattractant properties. Once any foreign body enters the body, it takes a while for the host surveillance system to detect it and mount a sufficient response. But with chemoattractant, the white blood cells can speedily migrate to the offending agent – thus, breaking the strength of the infection. Rich sources of copper include cashews and lentils. Selenium is easily available in multiple poultry and meat products. Its antioxidant properties reduce inflammation and help mount a speedy immune response especially against influenza, tuberculosis, and cancer-causing cells.
Sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, garlic, ginger, turmeric, and green tea are considered as ancient herbal remedies for reducing inflammation and boosting immunity. Sunflower seeds contain powerful antioxidants that are both vitamin C and E. Jacob who writes for a healthy diet blog at HerbaChoices suggests that Flaxseed oil extract contains ALA and lignans and it is important for the production of mediators within the immune response. There have been numerous studies backing the evidence that flaxseed oil is beneficial for boosting immunity. Garlic contains the active ingredient Allin that is converted into Sulphur-containing compounds – these play a significant role in building the immune system. Ginger is an anti-inflammatory condiment. Turmeric is an ancient ingredient that is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and increasing gut health – one of the primary barriers to fighting infections. Green tea contains active ingredients like epigallocatechin gallate and L-theanine that have antioxidant properties as well as help in white blood cell production.
In conclusion, make sure that you are having a balanced diet. You need not consume all the foods mentioned above – follow the recommended daily values to avoid any toxicity with over-consumption. Immunodeficiency is not only correlated with malnutrition, but obesity can also significantly suppress the immune response.