What can we do to keep our immune system strong against viruses?
The immune system is the first line of defense of the human body. When a flu virus (or in the current context, a coronavirus which causes COVID-19) enters the body, the immune system reacts with an immune response, generating a sequence of events involving various cells and takes place over time.
Like any fighting force, the immune system also acts through the stomach. The warriors of the healthy immune system need proper nutrition. It is known that poor and malnourished people are more vulnerable to infectious diseases. There is some evidence which shows that various micronutrient deficiencies – such as zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid and vitamins A, B6, C and E – alter the body’s immune responses.
The best thing you can do to keep your immune system strong and healthy is to follow general healthy eating advice. Every part of the body, including the immune system, works best when it is protected by healthy living strategies, as compiled below by Harvard experts:
- Do not smoke.
- Choose a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- Play sports on a regular basis.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Keep stress levels under control.
- Control your blood pressure.
- Get enough sleep.
- Take multivitamins, if you suspect that you are not getting all the necessary nutrients from your diet, but be mindful about the recommended dose.
- Consume alcohol in moderation (no more than one, up to two servings per day for men and no more than one serving per day for women).
In the current context, further measures are required to avoid infection, such as washing hands frequently and trying not to touch the face with our hands, because germs can enter through the eyes, nose and mouth.
Approximately 40% of our health is influenced by decisions in our daily life, that is, those concerning what we choose to eat, whether we choose to smoke or not, whether we consume more alcohol than we should etc.