Social distancing, staying at home, businesses closed, hospitals full of patients, even sick patients getting turned away and not receiving the medical treatment they need. This is our reality today with the battle against the COVID-19 coronavirus.
They say a vaccine is months or even a year away from being developed and brought to the general public. What can we do to protect ourselves against possibly being infected with the virus?
One very important thing you need to do is keep your immune system working at optimum levels. Fortunately, there are some easy, natural and affordable measures you can take right now in order to strengthen your immune system to help you fight off this virus, and any future sicknesses that may come threatening our way of life.
Our immune defense system works on several levels, but should a foreign entity come into our body and start infecting us, it begins by identifying the disease and destroying it before the infection gets too far.
First of all, you can do a lot for your immune system if you make sure you get plenty of rest, exercise and live as stress-free as possible. Although some short-term stress can actually strengthen the body, long-term stress is hardly ever beneficial and can create weaknesses as well as an acidic environment inside you, perfect for any virus or bacteria to thrive.
So doing your part on this level is key, but it’s just one part of the way to maintain and ensure a strong immune system.
Another key element in the assurance of our overall health and immunity is eating the right foods. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, said “let food be thy medicine”, meaning what we eat is meant to not only nourish us, but to defend us from disease.
Having said that, let’s list a few foods that serve us in strengthening and protecting our immune system. You may even find many of them tasty and a welcome part of your regular diet from now on.
Not only are mushrooms filled with vitamins (especially vitamin B) and minerals, they also contain potent antioxidants like selenium and glutathione. Selenium has been shown to help lower oxidative stress. Glutathione has been called “the mother of all antioxidants” and has many important functions, including:
- Helps make DNA
- supports immune function
- Helps break down free radicals
- regenerating vitamins C and E
- rids the brain of toxic mercury
- supports liver and gallbladder function
Mushrooms also provide soluble fiber. Soluble Fiber helps slow the absorption of fats and sugars. This allows fats and sugars to be released at a slower rate, helping you lower your cholesterol levels and maintain healthy levels of blood sugar.
And if you can find shiitake, maitake, reishi, shimeji or oyster mushroom varieties, they provide a good source of beta-glucans, which help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Not only are watermelons a tasty summer fruit, they are a valuable source of vitamins A and C, essential to your immune system, as well as potassium, which helps lower blood pressure and aids in healthy nerve function.
And did you know that watermelon has the most lycopene of any other fresh fruit or vegetable? The antioxidant, lycopene, is an antioxidant believed to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.
Watermelon also contains vitamin B6, which is valuable to the immune and nervous systems.
Your gut and your immune system are very closely linked. Nearly 70-80 percent of your immune tissue is located in your digestive tract. Yogurt, which is full of probiotics, contains millions of beneficial bacteria which help you maintain a healthy digestive tract. In turn, this supports the body’s immune function and therefore works to reduce or eliminate illnesses and infections. Yogurt also contains protein and vitamins D, B2 and B12, all necessary for building a healthy immune system.
If you are not used to eating yogurt, you may want to try Greek yogurt which has a smoother, creamier texture.
Spinach is rich in folate, magnesium and iron. Spinach also contains large amounts of vitamin C.
Iron is vital for the proper functioning of red blood cells which help transport oxygen around the body. Low levels of iron can make you feel sluggish and fatigued.
Spinach also contains glycoglycerolipids, which help protect the lining of the digestive tract from damage. And finally, spinach contains flavonoids and carotenoids that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. Spinach definitely qualifies as a versatile superfood.
With that orange color, sweet potatoes are an excellent source of beta carotene, vitamin C, and potassium. Your body takes beta carotene and converts it into vitamin A, which has an important role in immune function. This helps reduce cell damage. Sweet potatoes can also provide anti-inflammatory benefits. The high fiber in sweet potatoes also helps to regulate blood sugar despite its high starch content.
Rich in vitamin C, a cup of broccoli contains as much vitamin C as one orange. Broccoli also contains several B vitamins, and other immune-boosting nutrients. Broccoli has so many health benefits including:
- An anti-cancer agent
- Keeps metabolism in balance
- Lowers cholesterol
- Protects the eyes
This is a no brainer in terms of putting this superfood into your diet.
Red Bell Peppers
Surprise! Did you know that red bell peppers have more vitamin C than any fruit or vegetable? They’re also a rich source of beta carotene.
We hope that you will put these superfoods in your regular diet starting today.