More so than before, people today are looking for ways to boost their immunity levels. From Homeopathy, to Vitamin D , Zinc, Vitamin C supplements to probiotics diets, garlic & ginger foods, there are a plethora of articles written on what will help in building immunity against Covid- 19. I would strongly advise that when it comes to protecting yourself from the flu and also helping your body fight the virus if you contract it, focus on a highly nutritious diet.
What are some of the most nutritional, healthy, immunity- boosting, disease-fighting foods in your diet? A simple and easy way to remember those are through the acronym G-BOMBS.
This acronym is coined by Dr Joel Fuhrman, a Food Revolution Expert, author of the book ‘Eat to Live’ and the book ‘Eat to Health’. Dr Fuhrman describes G–BOMBS as “immune special forces” and the best anti-cancer, health-promoting foods on the planet.
So what are G-BOMBS?
GREENS, BEANS, ONIONS, MUSHROOMS, BERRIES, SEEDS. The 6 most healthy foods to include in your diet. And it is such a simple acronym and so very easy to remember and include in your daily diet. There are so many articles floating around on the internet and TV and YouTube programs on nutritional eating, micro macro nutrients and they sound more and more complex and difficult to follow with the most exotic ingredients. This is not only easy to understand , but also to include as part of your daily diet.
How do I include them in my diet everyday?
G : GREENS Did you know that our closest living relatives – chimpanzees and gorillas – consume tens of pounds of green leaves every day ? How many of us heard our grandmother say ” eat green vegetables, they are good for the eyes”.
I include one green vegetable every day in my meal , either lunch or dinner – leafy greens salad, broccoli, spinach, bok-choy, green beans or Indian Saag. You can have it as an accompaniment to your meat, fish or as a main meal.
Amongst the host of properties what I would like to point out is that leafy greens is a plant protein that is packed with beneficial phytochemicals. Green vegetables ( such as broccoli ) are also rich in folate (the natural form of folic acid), calcium, and contain small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Leafy vegetables are also antioxidants and said to promote healthy vision.
B : BEANS
How many of you love Rajma ( accompanied with rice) or Chola/Channa ( accompanied with Bhaturas, Puris, Rotis)? Or baked beans on toast ?
Very easy to include this on a daily basis in one meal – breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Beans act as an anti-diabetes and weight-loss food because they are digested slowly, having a stabilizing effect on blood sugar, which promotes satiety and helps to prevent food cravings. Plus they contain soluble fiber, which lowers cholesterol levels. ( Source : National Centre for Biotechnology USA and US National Library of Medicine)
O : ONIONS
Staple diet in India. We put onions in almost every food item, including our masala omelettes ! Ayurveda recommends starting the day with eating raw onions and lemon water.
I love onions raw as salad or cooked in curries or pickled in vinegar. The easiest of the G-BOMBS to include in your daily diet.
Other than their anti carcinogenic properties, onions have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular and immune systems, as well as anti-diabetic effects.
M : MUSHROOMS Given my love for the fungi family I eat them on pizzas, as a vegetable, with pasta, risotto, in a vegetable biryani, in quinoa, boiled in a salad.
And today you get a variety of mushrooms – Portobello, Shiitake, Button, Oyster, Enoki. It can be included in various cuisines – Indian, Chinese, Italian, Mexican.
If you don’t like the texture of mushrooms, just do a simple grilled grated cheese n mushroom sandwich at lunch or a mushroom soup or make a mushroom cheese sauce with pasta.
Consuming mushrooms regularly is associated with decreased risk of breast, stomach, and colorectal cancers.
A seasoned banker, Radha Dhir has spent 25 years in the industry, and has also served as the first woman MD in Deutsche Bank.
B : BERRIES
I eat them with my breakfast cereal (mostly blueberries), or yoghurt or between meals, easy to include them as your fruit snack every day.
The first superfood, Berries are some of the highest antioxidant foods in existence. Not only are they an excellent food for the brain, but their plentiful antioxidant content confers both cardio-protective and anti-cancer effects.
As fancy as it sounds, the idea of boosting immunity, has proven to be difficult to materialise in reality. For years, researchers from across the world have been struggling to figure out the accurate formula to achieve a good immune system. Until the formula is known, it is recommended to adopt a healthy lifestyle for an enhanced immune function, and to keep the body intact and healthy.
Making healthy lifestyle changes in terms of diet, exercise and managing stress, in addition to other factors, can go a long way in helping the immune system get the boost it requires.
On International Immunology Day, Chennai-based clinical nutritionist, lactation consultant and diabetes educator – Ramya Ramachandran – shares five tips that can give your life a healthy spin.
Opt For A Balanced Diet
A balanced diet with the right amount of nutrients can do wonders in boosting a person’s immunity, and keeping you away from diseases.
Ginger, garlic, star anise, omega-3 fats, flax seeds are some foods that have antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. These can be included in your meals daily. It’s also important to focus on micronutrients which have a major impact on health.
To add the required amount of micronutrients to any diet, one can look at home fortification as an alternative. In this method, a commercially available product is conveniently utilised on a daily basis to prevent nutrition deficiencies. Power mixes of rice and flour avaiable in the market is one such example of food fortification, which increases the micronutrient value of home-cooked meals.
This is one of the basic requirements. Smoking is a big ‘NO’ for the overall wellbeing of the body as it negatively impacts on both adaptive and innate immunity. It slowly kills the natural effectiveness of the immune system’s defences. If you are a regular smoker, it is advisable to quit it as soon as possible. One can also adopt alternatives like nicotine patches as it can helps to quit smoking and are relatively less harmful.
Rest Your Mind And Soul With Meditation
Chronic stress is responsible for releasing hormone cortisol, which can ruin the overall immune response of the body. Meditation goes a long way in keeping stress in check. Various mobile-based apps can help one to remain peaceful and mindful throughout the day with various features. Other healthy strategies to deal with stress may include yoga and pranayama.
Getting A Good Night’s Sleep
Most of us underestimate the power and importance of adequate sound and refreshing sleep. Lack of proper sleep can activate the inflammatory immune response, which can reduce reactivity to vaccines, further leading to the release of excess stress hormones. It will ultimately weaken the immune system.
A minimum of 7-8 hours of regular sleep is a must to maintain a healthy circadian rhythm, and help the body’s T-Cells (also known as immune cells) to kill the pathogens. A night of good sleep also helps in burning calories.
S : SEEDS
Countless studies have shown the cardiovascular benefits of seeds. Seeds and nuts contain healthy fats and are rich in a spectrum of micronutrients, including phytosterols, minerals, and antioxidants.
Today they are considered as Super Foods – flaxseeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds.
I include them also with my breakfast cereal every day. If I don’t have cereal for breakfast, then will include them in a salad or have them with yoghurt.
Go get your nutrition special forces and naturally strengthen your immune system.
– A seasoned banker, Radha Dhir has spent 25 years in the industry, and has also served as the first woman MD in Deutsche Bank. She has been blogging about fitness, health, nutrition and well-being since 2018. She recently made her YouTube debut on the ZipTalks channel where she interviews successful professionals on their fitness and health philosophy. She also posts regular fitness videos on Instagram @Ziptofitness.
Professor Nathan Clumeck, Professor Emeritus of Infectious Diseases at ULB, takes the time to explain to us in detail what we need to know about viruses and immunity. “The idea of boosting immunity is appealing, but the possibility of actually achieving that is difficult”, he remarks. “Nevertheless, multiple studies have been able to demonstrate a correlation between a healthy lifestyle and optimal immunity. This results in a significant decrease in infectious events, inflammatory diseases or cancer”.
Such a lifestyle consists of having a healthy diet, not consuming tobacco and drinking alcohol in moderation, participating in regular physical activity, maintaining an ideal body weight and getting enough sleep.
To these recommendations we can add simple actions such as washing your hands and vaccinating -actions that prepare the immune system against a series of particularly virulent and potentially fatal pathogens.
Professor Clumeck concludes: “There are no cures or miracle substitutes to maintaining or strengthening the immune system. This system ultimately depends on a healthy lifestyle”.
The basics of a healthy and balanced diet
The Superior Health Council in Belgium (CSS) provides 5 recommendations adults should prioritise:
1) Eat at least 125 g of whole grain food every day, favouring, for example, whole grain bread over white bread, whole grain pasta over white pasta, etc.
2) Eat 250 g of fresh fruit (two pieces of fruit) per day and at least 300 g of vegetables (raw or prepared). Vary your choices of fruits and vegetables and let yourself be guided by the seasonal and local offer.
3) Eat legumes every week. Replace meat with legumes at least once a week. As an added benefit, the cultivation and production of pulses has a low impact on the climate.
4) Eat 15 to 25 g of nuts or seeds without salty or sweet coating every day; one handful is approximately 30 g. It is important to choose products rich in omega-3 fatty acids (such as walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, almonds).
5) Choose products low in salt and avoid adding salt when preparing or having your meals. Aromatic herbs and unsalted spices are tasty alternatives!
In addition to the contents of your plate, the CSS also makes an unexpected recommendation: it encourages people to eat together as much as possible, so that meals become a pleasant experience shared with others.
When speaking about a social activity, we usually talk about consuming alcohol. But this little pleasure, rooted in festive customs, has featured for a long time at the top on the list of foods with negative impact on one’s health. The recommendation is to limit ourselves to “moderate” consumption, meaning no more than 10 “standard” drinks per week. Yet ideally we should not consume it at all.
Monica Schettino, Aspria nutrition advisor, explains: “In a perfect world, adopting a balanced and natural diet, emphasizing fruits and vegetables and banning processed products, should be enough to guarantee we absorb all the micronutrients and macronutrients that our body needs. “
However, our environment and our hectic lifestyle inevitably lead to nutritional deficiencies. The most common deficiencies are in magnesium, vitamin D and iron, not to mention vitamin C, zinc and B vitamins.
In the event of certain deficiencies in essential vitamins or trace elements, supplements may be taken and will be useful – bearing in mind however that their intake must be monitored medically.
A question of balance
Given its vision to enable living life well, Aspria isn’t just about fitness. Our Clubs are spaces dedicated to health and wellbeing, catering to all ages. In these uncertain times, we realize more than ever that health is essential and that being in good shape is an extraordinary asset. This health crisis shows that taking care of yourself is essential and this is what Aspria encourages everyone to do on a daily basis.
Regular and moderate physical activity, a varied and balanced diet, good quality sleep and consistent stress management require some discipline, but they should not necessarily become a chore. The key to turning them into daily habits is having an enjoyable time doing it. And every Aspria expert is there to encourage members in this process.
Do you want to learn more about immunity and sport? Which sports you should consider and how often you should exercise? Go to https://www.aspria.com/fr/immunity/
Do you also want to take care of your health and strengthen your immune system? Take advantage of our 90-day satisfaction guarantee *.
Because frankly, the year 2020 started well for most of us, but before it has finished its first quarter, the world came to a halt.
The COVID-19 outbreak has affected all of us. Young and old, both are affected by this disease. The easy spread of COVID-19 has made this pandemic difficult to contain. 33 million people worldwide have been infected with almost 1 million deaths.
Our role in this pandemic is to make sure that we do not allow ourselves to become a part of the chain of infection. By reducing our exposure, following health protocols, and keeping our immune system at its best, we prevent the spread of this virus.
Our immune system plays a vital role in this pandemic. It is in charge of fighting off bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi, and other germs that cause disease. (1)
Aside from this, it is also tasked to recognize and immediately neutralize substances that enter the human body. The immune system is composed of two subsystems – the innate immune system and the adaptive immune system.
The innate immune system is a hard-wired response system as it recognizes molecular patterns based on the encoded data on the genes passed on from the hosts’ germline. (2) It acts to recognize pathogens immediately and acts to eliminate it rapidly.
The adaptive immune system, on the other hand, responds to specific pathogens, allergen, or toxin only after it has been recognized by the body as an antigen. (2)
Unlike the innate immune system, the adaptive immune system requires time before it responds to the antigen. The adaptive immune response produces cells that would be dormant unless the same antigen invades the human body.
If the body’s immune system is working properly, one would not be affected by pathogens but maintaining the immune system in a good shape is not the body’s work alone.
To aid our body in fighting off diseases, we must play a role in strengthening our immune system.
First off, we have to eat the food that supports the immune system!
Eating nutrient-dense food is the right way to go. The food that we want is not always the food that we need. Food that best supports our body needs to have the right vitamins and minerals.
One essential micronutrient needed to boost our immune system is vitamin C. This vitamin is not produced by the body, hence, we need to consume food rich in vitamin C. Dietary sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, strawberries, leafy vegetables, broccoli, green and red peppers, and tomatoes. (3)
Vitamins C functions as an antioxidant and cofactor, a catalyst in enzymatic reactions. (4) Its role in the immune response is through maintaining the skin barrier integrity, aid in wound healing, and leukocyte function. (4)
Vitamin C maintains the skin barrier integrity by enhancing collagen synthesis and further stabilizing the collagen. It also protects the body from reactive oxygen species. Identification of microbial invasion and its killing is enhanced by vitamin C.
Another micronutrient that is crucial in its role in maintaining vision, promoting growth and development is vitamin A. (5) Vitamin A also functions to protect the skin and mucus membranes in the body. Dietary sources of vitamin A include dairy, liver, fish, carrots, broccoli, squash, and fortified cereals. (6)
Vitamin A’s role in the immune system starts at the forefront. Vitamin A plays a vital role in the formation of the epithelium of the skin and mucus membranes, more so in the respiratory tract. (5)
It is also important as it influences the differentiation of the immune cells. Without vitamin A, immune cells would not develop and differentiate properly. Vitamin A also has a role in T-cell migration and its regulation and homeostasis.
Vitamin D is often associated with calcium and bone homeostasis but aside from these functions, vitamin D also plays a role in immune system defense. Vitamin D is often found in food such as fish, meat, milk, eggs, mushrooms, dairy, and vitamin D fortified food. (7)
In the immune system, vitamin D plays a part in the innate immunity as it is essential in the transcription of innate antimicrobial response elements such as cathelicidin. (8) Vitamin D also influences the production of anti-inflammatory and inflammatory mediators. Proper supplementation of vitamin D would significantly strengthen the immune system.
Copper and Zinc
Copper and zinc are two essential metals needed to maintain the optimal innate immune function. (9) Deficiency of copper and zinc are associated with increased susceptibility to bacterial infections. Zinc is often found in oysters, veal, beef, pork, and lamb, while food sources rich in copper are nuts and seeds, chocolates, shellfish, and organ meats. (10)
Copper’s role in the immune system involves leukocyte differentiation, maturation, and proliferation. (9) In states of deficient copper supplementation, impaired neutrophil and macrophage function is noted.
Zinc, like copper, is also needed for the immune system to properly function. Normal development and activity of cells involved in both innate and acquired immunity are associated with a proper zinc supplement. (9) Zinc deficiency is associated with impaired phagocytosis and intracellular killing of pathogens.
The importance of having a balanced diet that supplements our body with all the nutrients needed couldn’t be stressed enough. In this time of the pandemic, our health needs to come first and by eating the right food, we strengthen our immune system.
Aside from eating right, we have to allow our bodies to have enough time to recuperate. Sleep is a physiological process that allows our body to develop, conserve energy, clear brain waste, modulate immune responses, cognition, performance, and psychological state. (11)
Sleep and the circadian rhythm are strong regulators of the immune process. (12) Immune responses are highly influenced by the sleep-wake cycle. Innate immune factors peak at the waking hours to effectively combat infections, while undifferentiated cells and naïve T cells often peak during the night. (12)
Formation of long-term immunologic memory is enhanced with sleep, hence its peak.
With the right amount and quality of sleep, we allow our body to heal and function at its best especially in this pandemic. One way to strengthen our immune system is through good sleep hygiene.
Exercise is a boost to our bodies. With the world put into a halt, we have to find ways to regularly exercise without compromising our safety and exposure to the virus.
It is suggested that we engage in moderate to vigorous-intensity exercise to directly influence our immune system. (13) The effect of a moderate to vigorous-intensity exercise influences the secretion of different cells that aid in immune function. Moderate to vigorous exercises that could engage in are as follows:
Brisk walking (4 mph)
Riding a bicycle (10-12 mph)
Jogging at 6 mph
The recommended amount of exercise to maintain a healthy body is at 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise per week. With our time spent working from home, this won’t take up much of our time. So, allow your body to fight against infections by exercising.
Our health is currently the priority in this pandemic and to effectively combat COVID-19, we have to alter our lifestyle to support our body’s needs. This can only be achieved through eating right, having good sleep hygiene, and by exercising regularly.
Chambial, S., Dwivedi, S., Shukla, K. K., John, P. J., & Sharma, P. (2013). Vitamin C in disease prevention and cure: an overview. Indian journal of clinical biochemistry : IJCB, 28(4), 314–328. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12291-013-0375-3
Jungert, A., Spinneker, A., Nagel, A., & Neuhäuser-Berthold, M. (2014). Dietary intake and main food sources of vitamin D as a function of age, sex, vitamin D status, body composition, and income in an elderly German cohort. Food & nutrition research, 58, 10.3402/fnr.v58.23632. https://doi.org/10.3402/fnr.v58.23632
Aranow C. (2011). Vitamin D and the immune system. Journal of investigative medicine : the official publication of the American Federation for Clinical Research, 59(6), 881–886. https://doi.org/10.2310/JIM.0b013e31821b8755
Djoko, K. Y., Ong, C. L., Walker, M. J., & McEwan, A. G. (2015). The Role of Copper and Zinc Toxicity in Innate Immune Defense against Bacterial Pathogens. The Journal of biological chemistry, 290(31), 18954–18961. https://doi.org/10.1074/jbc.R115.647099
Ma, J., & Betts, N.M. (2020). Zinc and copper intakes and their major food sources for older adults in the 1994-96 continuing survey of food intakes by individuals (CSFII).The Journal of Nutrition, 130(11), 2838-2843.https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/130.11.2838
Tee Villanueva always had her interest focused in writing. She has worked as a creative and content writer even while in medical school. Currently, she is a licensed resident doctor in Internal Medicine but loves that through writing, she can provide information about complex diseases and treatments to the general public.
Goa Postal Division will be releasing a Special Cancellation with slogan To fight COVID-I9 strengthen your immunity on Monday.
This would be done to create awareness among the public regarding boosting the immune system against ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Special Cancellation highlights the need to boost the immune system of the human being by having a healthy diet, say no to tobacco products and staying fit by doing regular exercise during this COVID-19 pandemic.
This Special cancellation will be impressed upon all the articles posted at the HO’s in the Goa Division.
For Panaji HO cancellation will be available for 5 days- from Monday to Friday and Margao HO cancellation will be available for 5 days from October 12 to October 16.
India Posts hopes that the Special cancellation will increase public awareness regarding boosting the immune system against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“We can be greatly helped by [a] vaccine, but it’s not vaccine alone,” Fauci recently said.
“There really is no absolute time I can tell you now unless certain things fall into place. It’s going to depend on the efficacy of the vaccines being tested right now and the uptake in the community of the vaccines,” he added, noting that a vaccine would be in addition to safety measures such as physical distancing and mask-wearing, at least for a while.
But getting vaccinated is just one (albeit major) factor in keeping yourself and loves ones healthy. So how else can you keep your immune system in tip-top shape?
“The best things you can to do keep your immune system in good shape are exercising (at least 30 minutes five days a week at moderate intensity), eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, getting a good night’s sleep (eight hours, ideally), not smoking, drinking in moderation, and minimizing stress,” Dr. Michelle Lin, an emergency room doctor and professor of emergency medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, told Fox News.
“We know getting enough exercise and avoiding stress has been more difficult because of COVID, but even a brisk walk outdoors or a home exercise routine can be highly effective in maintaining mental and physical fitness and supporting a healthy immune system,” she added.
Lin also spoke to the importance of hand hygiene, noting that the practice is “always a good habit, but particularly this year: wash your hands, wear a mask especially when indoors, and get a flu shot.”
“In general, there’s not great evidence that supplements or vitamins outside of a varied, healthy diet do much to ‘boost’ immunity,” she said.
Dr. John Whyte, the chief medical officer of the health care website WebMD, echoed Lin.
“We know getting enough exercise and avoiding stress has been more difficult because of COVID, but even a brisk walk outdoors or a home exercise routine can be highly effective in maintaining mental and physical fitness and supporting a healthy immune system,” Dr. Lin said. (iStock)
“We do know the importance of restorative sleep and our immune systems. Getting 7-9 hours of sleep is important to help our body [stave off] infection. After all, what do we do when we have the flu? We stay in bed and sleep,” he said.
“Being physically active most days of the week is of importance, too. Do some pushups, jumping jacks, [or] jogging in place,” he said.
Whyte, like Lin, noted that he’s not a “big fan” of supplements, as “our bodies may respond differently when it is in food vs. manufactured in a lab.”
“Food is medicine, and eating fruits and vegetables is now more important than ever,” he added.
In addition to fruits and vegetables, adding healthy fats into your diet — such as olive oil, salmon, avocado, and certain nuts such as almonds, for instance — “may boost your body’s immune response to pathogens by decreasing inflammation,” according to Healthline. Eating more fermented foods or taking a probiotic supplement may also be of benefit, as is limiting your intake of added sugar. Additionally, staying hydrated is important for overall health, according to the health and wellness website.
COLORADO SPRINGS — As the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt life as we know it, health experts are encouraging people to boost their immune systems.
Boosting your immune system can play a critical role if you’ve contracted COVID-19. Doctor Robert Posner says studies have shown that major risk factors for getting the virus include advanced age, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, lung disease, and immune system weakness.
“More effort should go into improving one’s personal health right now,” said Posner. “There is a lot that we can do to help protect ourselves from this virus, starting with boosting our immune system.”
When you have a strong immune system, it’s more likely you’ll be able to fight off or minimize viruses if you’re exposed. A weaker immune system may have a difficult time being able to fight them off, which could lead to serious or dire outcomes. Posner says there are several ways to boost your immune system.
1.Lose weight– According to research conducted by Johns Hopkins University, obesity is a major risk factor for COVID-19 hospitalization. Losing weight can boost your immune system, reduce risks associated with the virus, and help with a plethora of other health-related conditions.
2.Sleep well– Not getting enough sleep weakens your immune system, so it’s a good idea to create a healthy sleep habit routine. If you are not getting enough good sleep, you impair mental functioning, increase appetite that leads to weight gain, and promote insulin resistance. The CDC reports that a lack of sleep weakens the immune system by reducing the proper function of cells, increasing the inflammatory response, and reducing the production of antibodies.
3.Reduce stress– Psychological stress has been shown time and again to weaken the immune system. It’s to find healthy ways to reduce stress and keep it in check. Make a point to do things daily that will help to combat stress, such as exercising, meditating, doing yoga, journaling, etc.
4. Eat healthier– It’s important to eat a diet that has plenty of fruits and vegetables, so that you get the protective antioxidants they provide. Getting the body the nutrients that it needs will help to keep your immune system stronger.
5. Take supplements– Some of the ones that have been proven to help boost the immune system include vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc, elderberry, and maitake mushroom extract.
6.Exercise regularly– According to the NIH, physical activity may help flush bacteria from the lungs and airways, reducing your chances of getting illnesses, but it also causes a change in antibodies and white blood cells, which helps the immune system fight disease.
Posner says it’s important to avoid smoking and drinking tons of alcohol during the pandemic.
“Cigarettes can really lower the immune system. It affects the lungs and cells as such,” said Posner. “Excess alcohol intake, with COVID you’re seeing the alcohol use is up because people are reaching for alcohol as a stress reducer.”
He has created a new immune system booster, called SeroImmune. The supplement has been developed to boost immunity and contains clinically proven immune-boosting ingredients, including vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc, elderberry, and maitake mushroom. The patented blend boosts mood and the immune system. Preorders are now being taken for the October 2020 release.
Whey protein: What is it and how does it help strengthen your immunity?  |  Photo Credit: iStock Images
Adding whey protein to your diet may be a great way to improve your protein intake
Nuremous studies show whey protein can help you gain lean muscle and lose weight
Read on to find out what exactly whey protein is and why you need this supplement in maintaining a healthy immune system
New Delhi: You may hear heard about a lot of people, especially athletes, bodybuilders, and those trying to lose weight, consuming whey protein as a supplementation, along with exercise. Perhaps, you may have tried the supplement to help increase your intake of protein or improve lean muscle growth. But, do you also know that the supplement can also help strengthen your immune system? As the cases of novel coronavirus continue to rise, global health organisations are advising citizens to adhere to best practices that include enhancing their immune system by maintaining a healthy diet, exercising moderately, getting good sleep, managing stress, etc. Some experts also recommend taking nutritional supplements to help strengthen the immunity against infections.
Whey protein is one of the best-studied supplements in the world, with research indicating that it can have positive effects on health, including weight loss and lowering cholesterol. The fact is that whey is more than just protein as it contains several other nutrients that may improve health. Proteins are the building block of the body. They are the most important macronutrient for us, so much so that the word Protein itself comes from the Greek word Proteios – which means primary. Proteins are important for the proper functioning of the cells, muscle growth and metabolism. A deficiency of protein in the diet is one of the leading cause of modern lifestyle diseases. Lack of protein is linked to obesity, diabetes, PCOD, poor cardiovascular strength, low immunity, slow cognitive performance, hair fall, dull skin, weak muscles, Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer.
This article explains what exactly is whey protein and how it can help boost your immunity against infections.
What is whey protein and how is it made?
Basically, whey is the liquid that remains after milk has been curdled and strained. It is the by-product of the dairy industry and produced during the manufacture of cheese. The liquid when dried, filtered and processed, leaves behind a powder called ‘whey protein’. If you can drink milk, then you can have whey protein. Since the regular diet of western countries has enough protein, the global dairy manufacturers started positioning whey protein supplements for bodybuilders who wanted to build massive muscles and compete professionally.
How does whey protein help boost your immunity?
Whey protein is a complete protein source that provides the body with all the essential amino acids it needs. The supplement also contains individual proteins, including lactoferrin and immunoglobulins that have immune-enhancing bioactivity. As stated above, proteins are vital to build and repair body tissue and fight viral and bacterial infections. Antibodies and immune system cells depend on protein for proper functioning. Immunity is a function of your genes, diet, lifestyle and habits. No one thing can boost immunity instantly.
But according to Dhruv Bhushan, the founder of Habbit.Health, a Delhi-based global nutrition tech startup, most supplements available in the market as immunity boosters which have various micronutrients are a sham, and a waste of your hard-earned money, unless you have enough protein. Hence, maintaining proper nutrition with adequate protein intake can strengthen the immunity and give you a fighting chance. If you can’t get enough protein from your diet, you may consider protein supplements in consultation with your healthcare professional.
Which whey protein supplements should you buy?
As per a study by Assocham-RNCOS, up to 70 per cent of dietary supplements available in India are fake. Industry insiders say that the figure is upto 90 per cent with a massive prevalence of adulteration or artificial boosters or low quality and close to expiry ingredients. This is predominantly because most formulations available in the market are replicas of those developed by global corporations for bodybuilders and full of chemicals and compounds meant to provide an artificial performance boost, added Bhushan.
You should speak to your healthcare expert, nutritionist or physician. Look for whey proteins that are not positioned for fitness, athletes or bodybuilders. It is highly recommended to buy a brand that offers close to 25g protein per 30g serving, with less than 3g carbohydrates and fats. Best is to buy from someone you can trust, or directly from the brand, and not from distributors. Some experts advise avoiding international brands since counterfeiting is most prevalent in those. In case you are facing stomach pain, digestion issues, bloating, or flatulence, then try plant-based proteins.
How much protein do you need?
There is a lot of misunderstanding and confusion about proteins. A major misconception is that proteins are only for bodybuilders. This is far from the truth. As per the ICMR, we must consume 1g per kg of our bodyweight of protein every day to maintain our muscle mass. Thus, an adult weighing 70kg should consume 70g of protein every day. The requirement increases in special cases like growing children, pregnant women, those who exercise and in certain medical conditions such as cancer. It is estimated more than 85 per cent of Indians have a deficit of approximately 25g of protein every day, resulting in lifestyle diseases.
Here are some of the best sources of protein
Fortunately, proteins are present in everything we eat or drink. The best way to get adequate proteins is to maintain a balanced nutritious diet which includes high protein foods like eggs, meats, pulses, milk, paneer, cheese, soy, nuts, spinach, broccoli, etc. While it is not impossible to do so, it becomes difficult to get enough protein intake for most people, especially vegetarians and vegans, since most of our foods are dense in carbs and fats. In such a case, it is recommended to add natural protein supplements to your diet – such as whey protein and plant-based protein supplements.
Does whey protein have any health risks?
Whey protein does not typically cause any adverse events when consumed in moderate doses. However, some individuals who are allergic to milk may be allergic to whey. Taking high doses of whey protein can cause various symptoms such as the following:
Stomach pain, cramps
The bottom line is, whey protein is a great addition to your diet to improve your protein intake and strengthen your immunity. Paired with an exercise plan, whey protein supplementation can extremely beneficial for those who are trying to gain muscle mass and strength while losing fat. But, it’s always safest to consult with your doctor before you start taking any type of dietary supplement.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.
Specifically, cannabinoids like THC can starve tumor cells by cutting off their blood supply. It also encourages apoptosis – cell tumors’ death without any adverse effect on nearby healthy cells and tissues. Chemotherapy, on the other hand, destroys cancer cells, and surrounding healthy tissues also suffer.
Besides preventing the division of cancer cells, CBD also stimulates the brain, hormones, and the body’s immune system. However, it is essential to note that CBD cannot serve as the sole treatment for cancer.
In the same way, bear in mind that there are forms of cannabis with varying effects on the body. Users can buy cannabis from a reputed weed store to get tremendous benefits.
Strengthens Your Mental Health
CBD Oil Can Fight Neuroinflammatory Conditions
If the brain does not get sufficient blood supply, it could pave the way for further health challenges like stroke, cerebral ischemia, or even head injuries. The immune system’s status is also vital in either boosting or restricting neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory conditions. This factor explains why people with a weak immune system are prone to developing such diseases.
One of the elementary functions of CBD in the body is achieving neurogenesis in the brain. This significantly reduces conditions like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, lateral sclerosis, and other neuroinflammatory diseases.
There are two ways in which the immune system fights diseases. These happen through humoral immunity and cell-mediated immunity. For optimum immunity and health, the body must maintain the right balance between the two. While this is the responsibility of the endocannabinoid system, you can stimulate it with CBD oil. The result is an optimal immune system kicking off diseases and pathogens at all levels.
With the pandemic coasting right along and flu season looming, everyone is wondering how to stay well. You probably know by now that there are no magic immune-boosting supplements or new age wellness tricks that will guarantee you a virus-free winter. There are, however, plenty of accessible habits that will strengthen your immune system, not just now, but in the long run. I talked to Mehmet Oz — a.k.a Dr. Oz, host of The Dr. Oz Show— about how to adopt healthier habits now so you can feel more confident in your body’s ability to fight off colds, flus, and anything else this winter.
“A lot of the things that make your immune system more resilient are things you have control over,” says Oz, who is also an NYC-based cardiologist and professor of surgery at Columbia University. This is great; it means that you have control over some elements of your health, but it also puts a lot of responsibility in your hands. “If you are sloppy about lifestyle issues, you’re setting yourself up for failure,” he says.
One of the first, and most important things that plays into wellness is rest. You need about 7-8 hours of sleep, Oz tells Mic, but more than 9 is too much. And apparently, it’s not just about how much sleep you get — it’s when you sleep matters, too.
Yes, I am about to tell you that you should sleep at night. I know it might not be how you wanted to do adulting, but staying in tempo with circadian rhythms — the body’s sunlight-aligned internal timing system — helps the immune system function at its peak. This is not new age woo or my attempt to sell you on the glory of being a morning person. Recent research suggests that sleeping enough and during the dark hours ofthe day is crucial for immune system balance.
Part of staying in circadian rhythm means getting sunlight, which is also good for your immune system and may play a part in warding off coronavirus. “The virus probably doesn’t like the sun,” Oz says. “More importantly, your body does. Being exposed to sunlight through the skin releases beneficial chemicals in your body and brain.” Some of the chemicals triggered by sunlight boost the immune system — like vitamin D — and some of them are hormones like serotonin, that help in mood regulation. Early morning sun exposure is best for setting up your circadian rhythm and, as Oz notes, “walking in the sun is an easy lifestyle switch to make.”
Taking a walk in the sun counts also as multitasking, immunity-wise, because not only do you need the sunlight, you need the exercise. “Living a sedentary lifestyle is devastating for the body,” says Oz. “Exercise revs up your engine. It is a powerful stimulant to immune function.” He uses a great analogy here. He tells me to imagine my cave person ancestors running from predators and think about what messages exercise sends to the body. “Exercise tells the body to protect itself,” he says.
You don’t need to overdo the exercise thing. “You need to raise your heart rate for about 20 minutes a day and it takes about ten minutes to get there,” Oz says. I asked him if the kind of exercise you do matters. “No,” he says, as long as it gets the heart rate bumping.” HIIT, Tae Bo, CrossFit — whatever’s trending is fine. It doesn’t matter. Just move your body for 30 minutes or so and it will activate your immune system.
And for those who are still wallowing in pandemic comfort food phase, you need to embrace a balanced plate. “Eat real food — food that looks basically the way it did when it came out of the ground,” he says. There are no magic super foods, but Oz says that eating nutrient dense meals is important for immune function. He also points out that eating whole foods, like, nuts, is a good way to maintain a healthy weight because the body gets more nutrients in fewer calories.
None of these physiological immune strengthening tips are obscure or inaccessible. The reality that I connect most with, though, is that immune function is intimately connected to mental and emotional wellbeing. “If you feel like you control your destiny, you feel less isolated and lonely,” he says. “Taking away people’s agency leads to chronic illness,” Oz says.
How do you find agency in this terrifyingly uncertain time, though? You need to have purpose, he tells me. And having purpose means living your life in a way that is bigger than just you. It’s good for everyone. “People who give to others live longer,” Oz says. Welp. You really can’t argue with a medical doctor telling you that the way to be healthy is to be a better person.
A healthy diet can help you enhance the functioning of the immune system
Vitamin C play a crucial role in boosting immunity
Consume small meals loaded with essential nutrients
Citrus fruits are loaded with vitamin C
In the past few months, the need to build strong immunity has been given enough emphasis. A strong immune system can help you prevent and fight against diseases. Several factors can help you boost immunity including your lifestyle too. Diet is one of the major factors which affects the functioning of the immune system. A healthy diet can enhance the functioning of your immune system. While poor eating habits harm your immunity. Those trying to lose weight should also watch their diet carefully and ensure the intake of foods that assist in building immunity. Many are not aware of the diet rule one should follow for better immunity. To cover all these questions, we spoke to Dr. Pooja Sharma who is Mumbai based dietician and nutritionist. She explains the crucial role diet plays for your immune system and some diet tips.
Boost your immunity with diet
“Immunity can be defined as your body’s defence system that can help fight against any harmful micro-organisms from entering the body. But your daily habits including stress, irregular sleep pattern, sedentary lifestyle and poor diet can harm your immune system. Some of these poor eating habits include high intake of tea/coffee, alcohol consumption, inadequate intake of water, high consumption of fast foods/refined carbs and much more,” Dr. Sharma explains.
A healthy diet and lifestyle can help you build strong immunity Photo Credit: iStock
How to boost immunity when trying to lose weight?
Whenever one talks about losing weight/following some diet pattern for nutrition they should be conscious of the quality and quantity of food. Eating right is not about having small portions; rather it is about having the right portions. One should feel energetic post-meal, not stuff and dull. So eat the right portions and after every 2 to 3 hours. Also, eat seasonal vegetables and fruits. It will help to absorb the freshness and goodness of food.
Three main nutrients that help to improve immunity or zinc, vitamin D and vitamin C.
Zinc: You should be consuming foods high in zinc like oyster, shellfish, cheese, legumes like chickpeas, lentils and beans. However, because of phytates, the absorption of zinc is not too good. Heating, sprouting or fermenting helps to increase absorption. There is a strong link between having zinc and good immunity. For almost every single level of your immune defence zinc is needed. Nuts like peanuts, cashews and almonds also boost up your zinc intake.
Nuts are a good source of essential nutrients Photo Credit: iStock
Vitamin D: It has anti-inflammatory properties and is crucial for building a strong immune system. Take your vitamin D supplements if recommended by your doctor. Exposing your body to the sun at least for 10 to 15 minutes 4 days a week might also help. Some food sources include oil, salmon and fortified milk. But vitamin D only works for immunity in the presence of vitamin A. So consume carrots, mangoes, dried apricot and all yellow veggies to get vitamin A.
Vitamin C: This vitamin is very important to support a healthy immune system. Leafy vegetables, fruits, lemon, berries and amla are rich in vitamin C.
(Dr. Pooja sharma, Dietician, Nutritionist & Life Style Expert and a Patron of SeekMed)
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.