With the global death toll of COVID-19 (Novel CoronaVirus-2019) on the rise, together with the spike in cases worldwide, we would inevitably need to be cautious and pay strong attention to personal hygiene, as well as following the precautionary measures to lower risk of community spread. Nonetheless, staying calm and follow the concrete measures with tremendous rigour.
Despite Singapore's best effort in the sensitive detection of cases, detailed case reporting, and the overall containment of the virus, we would still need to stay vigilant. Currently, there are still no vaccines or cure for the respiratory disease, COVID-19. Hence, the best defences are still strongly dependent on the citizens' immune system and practise of proper hygiene.
Without further ado, Fitlion Singapore is here to share some budget-friendly ways which you can follow to strengthen your immune system during this very trying time of the virus outbreak.
#1: Eat Right - Vegetables, Fish, Fruits, Nuts, and Seeds
Yes, eating right! What we meant by eating right is doing your immune system a favour by packing more fruits and vegetables on your plate.
In short, fruits and vegetables which are loaded vitamins and minerals can help to strengthen your immune system. Food such as citrus fruits are rich in Vitamin C. Vitamin C generally enhances the production and activation of white blood cells, which is the key to fighting infections. Here are some citrus fruits which you can incorporate into your diet — oranges, lemons, grapefruits, yuzu and lime.
Other than citrus fruits, another common vegetable which you can consider incorporating into your diet is broccoli. Broccoli is supercharged with vitamin A, C, and E, as well as other antioxidants and fibre.
Lastly, you can also add in some nuts and seeds into your diets. Nuts and seeds (or other whole grain products) contain zinc and selenium which can have a powerful effect on the immune system, including the potential to slow the body's over-active responses and control inflammation in your body.
#2: Drink Less Alcohol
Excessive consumption of alcohol can impair the immune system and increases vulnerability to lung infections.
#3: Sufficient Sleep
Studies have shown that sleep deprivation and stress overload increase the hormone cortisol, prolonged elevation of which suppresses immune function. Thus, making any sleep-deprived individuals more likely to fall sick after being exposed to a virus.
#4: Catch Some Sunlight
Go out and get some sunlight! During this trying period of the virus outbreak, many of us will be working from home (indoor, in isolation) and not getting enough of the Vitamin D that we need. However, all you need is 10-15 minutes of exposure (of course, minus the sunscreen) to the sunlight.
In short, sunlight triggers the skin's production of vitamin D. Several medical trials have indicated that the lack of Vitamin D may put you in a greater risk of infection and respiratory illnesses. Hence, for a stronger immune system, go out and get some sun!
However, if you are having some trouble getting enough sun, you could always add more food such as eggs (yolk), beef, fatty fishes and some good old fashioned cod liver oil for a Vitamin D boost.
#5: Consume Medicinal Mushrooms
Medicinal mushrooms differ greatly in their individual healing properties from one mushroom to the next, but despite their individuality, they nearly all have a commonality of boosting our immune systems. Mushrooms that boost the immune system are not strictly immunostimulants or immunosuppressants, but oftentimes both, earning them the name "immunomodulators." Immunomodulators work similarly to adaptogens but relate only to immune function.
And yes, that means all your favourite mushrooms in the supermarket made it to the list. All the mushrooms' immune-boosting attributes are due to the high concentration of polysaccharides which can help to enhance our immune system.
Moreover, mushrooms also contain a wide array of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that are necessary to fuel our bodily functions. For example, mushrooms such as the shiitake contain nutrients such as B vitamins, vitamin D, selenium, niacin, and 7 of the eight essential amino acids. Also worth noting is the wealth of enzymes in shiitake that result in better absorption of our food. Shiitake has shown robust anti-cancer activity, primarily through enhancing immune function, rather than by directly attacking tumour cells.
"The Reishi Mushroom"
For the lions who are a little more "boujee", there is a king among all mushrooms. As you might have known, the reishi mushroom is noted as the "King of Mushrooms" because of its immunity support strength and diverse effects. One could even go as far as to call it, 'the OG Emergen-C". It is a fungus that grows naturally in hot and humid parts of Asia. This mushroom has been used in Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years.
Reshi mushrooms can enhance the production of white blood cells and lymphocyte function while in the body to fight off the infection. This is done through B-Glucans. These are sugars from the mushroom entering the blood system, which stimulates an immune response while synchronously lowering inflammation.
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#6: Go for Garlic
Garlic is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent and immune booster. Because heat deactivates a key active ingredient, add it to foods just before serving.
#7: Exercise Regularly
A regular exercise routine does much more than shape your body. It fortifies the immune system with proper circulation and better sleep. It shouldn't take long for your immunity to make clear improvements. While you're exercising, remember to keep yourself hydrated before, during and after exercising.
Hydrating your body with water will help flush out toxins and transport the minerals and vitamins from a healthy diet.
On the side note, do also remain wary of the germ loaded bars, grips and machines in public gyms. COVID-19 can spread through contact. Thus, be cautious and remember to disinfect your hands often.
#8: Quit Smoking
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that can weaken an individual's respiratory function. As you might have guessed, smoking would undoubtedly add the unwanted oxidative stress, weakens your overall immune system and further damage your lungs. This would make smokers more likely to be infected with pneumonia and influenza.
#9: Wash Your Hands Often
At Fitlion, we have probably mentioned this plenty times through our videos and infographics, but it is always good to be safe and healthy even if it takes more reminders. Hence, one should never touch their eyes, nose, mouth with unclean hands as COVID-19 can spread through contact.
During this critical period, do practise proper hygiene, wash your hands often and disinfect surfaces of items before using them. Let's spread the love for better hygiene and not the virus.
#10: Vitamin C Supplementations
Lastly, for individuals who are not receiving enough antioxidants and Vitamin C from their diet, supplementation would certainly be the next best thing for you to give your immunity a boost.