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Home » Colds, flu, and COVID: How diet and lifestyle can boost your immune system

Colds, flu, and COVID: How diet and lifestyle can boost your immune system

Colds, flu, and COVID: How diet and lifestyle can boost your immune system

Colds, flu, and COVID: How diet and lifestyle can boost your immune system. Every day, we are exposed to a variety of potentially harmful microorganisms, such as colds, flu, and even COVID. But our immune system – a complex network of pathways in the body – helps protect us against these microorganisms and other potential diseases. It basically recognizes foreign invaders, such as viruses and bacteria, and takes immediate action to protect us.

Humans have two types of immunity: Innate and adaptive.

Innate immunity is the body’s first line of defense, consisting mainly of physical barriers (such as skin) and secretions – including mucus, stomach acid, and enzymes in saliva and sweat. prevent microorganisms from entering the body. It also includes cells that attack any foreign invaders that enter the body.

Adaptive immunity is a system that learns to recognize pathogens. It is regulated by cells and organs in our body such as the spleen, thymus, bone marrow and lymph nodes. When a foreign substance enters the body, these cells and organs produce antibodies and multiply immune cells specific to this toxic substance to attack and destroy it. They also memorize pathogens for future reference. There are many things we can do to support our immune system and even improve its function. Simple changes to your diet and lifestyle can all play an important role in helping you avoid getting sick.

We are what we eat

The nutrients we get from the foods in our diet play an important role in building and maintaining our immune system.

Take for example arginine, an amino acid. This is essential for the production of nitric oxide in immune cells, which is an important defense molecule against organisms. Vitamin A and zinc are essential for the rapid reproduction of immune cells. Vitamin C contributes to immune defense by supporting the cellular functions of both immune systems. Likewise, vitamin E has been shown to boost immune responses in animals and humans, and protect against a number of infectious diseases, such as the flu, COVID, and the common cold.

A varied diet that includes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, dairy products, as well as fish, meat or plant-based protein alternatives, will contain all the nutrients. This important nutrient supports our immune health.

The vast mix of microorganisms that live in our gut – known as the microbiome – also have significant effects on our health and well-being, despite their small size. In fact, the microbiome is often referred to as the “second brain” because of the extensive relationship it has with the body’s organs and systems.

One particular role that bacteria play in our gut is to support immune function. They help control inflammation, the process used by the immune system to protect us from harmful pathogens. Ensuring a healthy microbiome can improve immune function.

A bowl of greens with two pieces of grilled salmon on top. The Mediterranean diet can help support the microbiome.

Waves / Shutterstock

There are many ways to support our microbiome through the foods we eat. For example, research has shown that the Mediterranean diet, rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber, has an anti-inflammatory effect in the gut, which can help boost the body’s immune function.

This effect could be explained by a strain of bacteria called Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, which is key to immune regulation. This bacterium tends to be low in the Western diet but is abundant in the Mediterranean diet. You should also avoid eating too many refined grains, sugar and animal fats. Also all of which can increase inflammation in the body, weakening the immune response. 

Probiotics (complementary blends of live bacteria) may also be beneficial. Research has even shown that a probiotic blend of strains of the bacteria Lactiplantibacillus plantarumand. Also Pediococcus acidilactici reduced the amount of virus detected in the nose and lungs, as well as the duration of symptoms, in COVID patients. .

Live a healthy life

Your lifestyle can also have a big effect on immune function.

For example, smoking affects both innate and adaptive immunity, causing it to overreact to pathogens and lower immune defenses. Alcohol has also been shown to increase susceptibility to bacterial and viral infections. It does this by changing the way our immune system protects itself from infection. Even moderate drinkers may have weaker immunity.

Sleep is also important for maintaining immune function. Studies show that regular, poor quality sleep causes inflammation in the body. This can exacerbate the immune response, increase the risk of infection, and make the infection worse. Teens who sleep only about six hours are also more likely to contract common illnesses, such as colds, flu, and gastroenteritis.

Stress is another factor known to have a major impact on the immune system. It’s not just chronic stress that weakens the immune system – even brief periods of stress (such as an exam) can impair immune function. Fortunately, mindfulness meditation (which can help manage stress) can benefit the immune system — although why isn’t entirely clear yet.

Exercise has also been shown to affect immune function, with research showing that moderate-intensity physical activity (such as brisk walking or dancing) can improve immune response. pandemic. However, it’s important to strike the right balance because prolonged. Intense exercise without adequate rest between workouts can actually depress immune function and make you more susceptible to illness. more infected. And according to some data, this drop can happen after just 90 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.

Of course, vaccination is still the best way to prevent infection from many common illnesses, such as the flu. But a good diet and lifestyle — along with other precautions, such as washing your hands or wearing a mask. It also helps support your immune system and the effectiveness of vaccines 카지노사이트