October 20, 2020

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Tips to boost immunity and protect yourself against coronavirus

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To strengthen the immune system and raise the body’s defenses to prevent the development of some diseases and help the body react to those that have already manifested, it is important to increase the consumption of foods rich in vitamins and minerals, decrease the consumption of sugars and industrialized foods that have dyes and preservatives, and the intake of medications or supplements that help increase immunity may be indicated.

However, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is also one of the best strategies to keep the body’s natural defense system strong and efficient, which is why it is recommended not to smoke, eat healthy food, practice physical activity of light to moderate intensity regularly, maintain the proper weight, sleep 7 to 8 hours a night, avoid stress and excessive alcohol consumption. These habits must be maintained for life, not only at times when the person is sick or is weaker because otherwise, they will have no effect.

How to raise defenses and strengthen the immune system

Food to raise defenses

Nutrition plays an important role in the functioning of the immune system, foods rich in omega-3, selenium, zinc, probiotics, vitamins A, C, and E are best suited to increase the immune system, because they favor the production of cells defending the body more efficiently. Some examples are:  

  • Omega-3: sardine, salmon, herring, tuna, chia seeds, walnuts, and flaxseed;
  • Selenium:  Brazil nut, wheat, rice, egg yolk, sunflower seeds, chicken, bread, cheese, cabbage, wheat flour;
  • Zinc:  oysters, shrimp, beef, chicken, turkey and fish, liver, wheat germ, whole grains, pumpkin seeds, nuts (peanuts, almonds, brazil nuts); 
  • Vitamin C: orange, tangerine, pineapple, lemon, strawberries, papaya, melon, mango, kiwi, broccoli, tomato, watermelon, cabbage, potato in the shell; 
  • Vitamin E:  sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, peanuts or peanuts, almonds, pistachios, mango, olive oil, tomato paste, sunflower oil, walnuts, papaya; 
  • Vitamin A: carrot, sweet potato or sweet potato, mango, spinach, melon, beet, chard, red bell pepper, broccoli, lettuce, egg;
  • Probiotics: plain yogurt, fermented milk like kefir or Yakult, to maintain intestinal health. See all the benefits of consuming probiotics.

The person who needs to strengthen their immune system should consume more of these foods on a daily and regular basis, not just when they are already sick.

Natural remedies to increase defenses

A good way to improve the immunity of the body naturally is to take a nutritional supplement in the form of capsules, which can be bought in pharmacies or natural products stores. Some examples are:

1. Bovine colostrum

Bovine colostrum is a nutritional supplement rich in enzymes, antibodies and growth factors that could help increase the body’s defenses. The recommended standard dose ranges from 20 to 60 grams per day. 

2. Astragalus Membranaceus or Astragalus Seeds 

Astragalus Membranaceus seed supplement is rich in flavonoids that could contribute to cardioprotective effects, in addition to activating the body’s defense cells. The recommended dose of this supplement varies from 5 to 10 mg per day. 

3. Echinacea

Echinacea is apparently effective in fighting disease and speeding recovery, especially in people who tend to get sick with some frequency, according to some studies. The recommended dose in capsules usually varies between 900 to 1500 mg a day. In the case of tinctures, 2.5 ml is used three times a day or up to 10 ml daily. 

4. Propolis extract

Propolis extract has immunomodulatory effects since it stimulates the cells of the immune system, which is why it is used in acute and chronic inflammations in diseases of the respiratory tract, skin ulcers, periodontitis, and sinusitis. See how it can be used.

Although they can be bought without a prescription, it is good to consult a doctor or nutritionist before ingesting them.

How to boost the immune system quickly

To quickly increase defenses so that the body is stronger to combat aggressive agents, you must:

  • Adopt good health habits, doing physical activity, sleeping properly and avoiding stress;
  • Avoid smoking or being exposed to cigarette smoke;
  • Exposure to the sun daily, preferably until 10 in the morning and after 4 in the afternoon, without sunscreen, to increase the production of vitamin D in the body;
  • Consume healthy food and maintain a balanced diet,  which includes the intake of fruits, vegetables, and legumes, preferably organic or produced at home without pesticides;
  • Avoid the consumption of fast food,  rich industrialized foods and frozen foods such as pizzas, lasagna, among others, because they contain substances that promote inflammation in the body;
  • Avoid taking medications without doctor’s guidance;
  • Drink about 2 liters of mineral or filtered water every day.

In addition to this, in the event of a viral illness such as influenza, for example, it is important to avoid frequenting closed public places, such as shopping malls, theaters, and cinemas; In addition to this, it is important to wash your hands frequently with soap and water, as well as avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with dirty hands, this will reduce the risk of becoming infected or causing serious complications in those with more immune systems. weak.

How to increase the defenses in babies and children

The best way to strengthen the baby’s immune system is by offering free breastfeeding since it contains all the necessary nutrients that allow it to develop its immune system properly. In the case of babies who take milk formula, these are usually supplemented with the vitamins and minerals necessary for the proper development of the immune system, so the baby’s body will find everything it needs to produce more defense cells that are capable of fighting and defeating pathogens like viruses and bacteria. 

In the case of babies from 6 months, breastfeeding should be continued as well as giving them a healthy and diversified diet that includes the foods mentioned above, so as to stimulate and improve the body’s defenses.  

In addition to this, it is important to place the vaccines as indicated in the vaccination schedule, maintain good health habits such as not smoking near the baby and avoid giving him medication without the pediatrician’s guidance.

Recipes that strengthen the immune system

Consuming natural fruit juices, teas and smoothies made with fruits and vegetables is also an excellent way to increase the body’s defenses naturally. Some recipes that can be prepared are:

1. Beetroot juice with carrot

How to raise defenses and strengthen the immune system

Ingredients

  • 2 slices of raw beets;
  • 1/2 raw carrot;
  • 1 orange with bagasse;
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger powder;
  • 1/2 glass of water

Preparation method

Blend all the ingredients in the blender and then drink, preferably without adding sugar and without straining it. 

2. Banana smoothie with walnuts 

How to raise defenses and strengthen the immune system

Ingredients 

  • 1 frozen banana;
  • 1 slice of papaya;
  • 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder;
  • 1 plain yogurt without sugar; 
  • 1 handful of walnuts;
  • 1/2 teaspoon of honey

Preparation method

Blend all the ingredients in the blender and take it next.

3. Echinacea Tea 

How to raise defenses and strengthen the immune system

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon of Echinacea root or leaves;
  • 1 cup of boiling water.

Preparation method

Place 1 teaspoon of echinacea root or leaves in a cup of boiling water. Let stand for 15 minutes, strain and drink 2 times per day. 

4. Orange juice with carrot

How to raise defenses and strengthen the immune system

This juice recipe is rich in vitamin C, beta carotenes and omega-3, which are important nutrients to increase the body’s defenses.

Ingredients

  • 4 medium oranges;
  • 2 small carrots;
  • 1 tablespoon of flaxseed;
  • 3 glasses of water;
  • Honey to taste.

Preparation method

Wash oranges and carrots well. Peel the carrots and cut them into slices. Place ingredients in a food processor or blender (no need to strain). If you want to sweeten it, you can put a little honey.

What causes decreased body defenses

Some situations that can cause a decrease in the immune system are maintaining an inadequate diet, poor hygiene habits, not being vaccinated when necessary, and smoking. In addition to this, during pregnancy, it is normal for there to be a decrease in the immune system, which occurs as a natural reaction in all women to prevent the mother’s body from rejecting the baby.

People who have a syndrome or disease such as lupus or malnutrition, naturally also have a less efficient defense system and get sick more often. Likewise, the use of certain medications such as corticosteroids, immunosuppressants used in organ transplants or autoimmune diseases such as HIV, during cancer treatment or with the prolonged use of certain anti-inflammatory drugs, also decreases the body’s defenses.

How to know that the immune system is weak

The immune system is made up of the white portion of the blood, responsible for the production of antibodies when the body is exposed to some foreign body such as viruses or bacteria. But there are also the physical barriers of the organism that are another defense mechanism that prevents the entry of microorganisms, some examples are the skin, the hairs on the nose and the acid secretion of the stomach.

The main characteristic of the decrease in the body’s defenses is the increase in the number of times that the person becomes ill, presenting flu, colds and other viral infections such as herpes, with great frequency. In this case, it is likely that your body is not producing the defense cells efficiently, which facilitates the appearance of diseases. In this case, in addition to being sick, the person may present symptoms such as tiredness, fever, and have simple diseases that are easily aggravated such as a cold that turns into a respiratory infection.