In the time of Covid 19 increasing immunity to maintain good health is one of the most important factors a person should take into consideration. In addition to proper handwashing, what else can you do? One area that is squarely in your control is your immune system.
Foods to eat to increase immunity to maintain good health
Most people turn straight to vitamin C after they’ve caught a cold. That’s because it helps build up your immune system.
Vitamin C is thought to increase the production of white blood cells, which are key to fighting infections.
Almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. With such a variety to choose from, it’s easy to add a squeeze of this vitamin to any meal.
Popular citrus fruits include:
Red bell peppers
If you think citrus fruits have the most vitamin C of any fruit or vegetable, think again. Ounce for ounce, red bell peppers contain almost 3 times as much vitamin C (127 mg trusted Source) as a Florida orange (45 mgTrusted Source). They’re also a rich source of beta carotene.
Broccoli is supercharged with vitamins and minerals. Packed with vitamins A, C, and E, as well as fiber and many other antioxidants, broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can put on your plate.
The key to keeping its power intact is to cook it as little as possible — or better yet, not at all. Research Trusted Source has shown that steaming is the best way to keep more nutrients in the food.
Garlic is found in almost every cuisine in the world. It adds a little zing to food and it’s a must-have for your health. Early civilizations recognized its value in fighting infections. Garlic may also slow down the hardening of the arteries, and there’s weak evidence that it helps lower blood pressure. Garlic’s immune-boosting properties seem to come from a heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin.
Ginger is another ingredient many turns to after getting sick. Ginger may help decrease inflammation, which can help reduce sore throat and inflammatory illnesses. Ginger may help with nausea as well. While it’s used in many sweet desserts, ginger packs some heat in the form of gingerol, a relative of capsaicin.
Spinach made our list not just because it’s rich in vitamin C — it’s also packed with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, which may both increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems. Similar to broccoli, spinach is healthiest when it’s cooked as little as possible so that it retains its nutrients. However, light cooking makes it easier to absorb vitamin A and allows other nutrients to be released from oxalic acid, an antinutrient.
Look for yogurts that have the phrase “live and active cultures” printed on the label, like Greek yogurt. These cultures may stimulate your immune system to help fight diseases. Try to get plain yogurts rather than the kind that are flavored and loaded with sugar. You can sweeten plain yogurt yourself with healthy fruits and a drizzle of honey instead. Yogurt can also be a great source of vitamin D, so try to select brands fortified with this vitamin. Vitamin D helps regulate the immune system and is thought to boost our body’s natural defenses against diseases.
When it comes to preventing and fighting off colds, vitamin E tends to take a backseat to vitamin C. However, this powerful antioxidant is key to a healthy immune system. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it requires the presence of fat to be absorbed properly. Nuts, such as almonds, are packed with the vitamin and also have healthy fats.
You may know turmeric as a key ingredient in many curries. This bright yellow, bitter spice has also been used for years as an anti-inflammatory in treating both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Research Trusted Source shows that high concentrations of curcumin, which gives turmeric its distinctive color, can help decrease exercise-induced muscle damage. Curcumin has promise as an immune booster (based on findings from animal studies) and an antiviral. More research is needed.
Both green and black teas are packed with flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. Where green tea really excels is in its levels of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), another powerful antioxidant. In studies, EGCG has been shown to enhance immune function. The fermentation process black tea goes through destroys a lot of the EGCG. Green tea, on the other hand, is steamed and not fermented, so the EGCG is preserved. Green tea is also a good source of the amino acid L-theanine. L-theanine may aid in the production of germ-fighting compounds in your T cells.
Papaya is another fruit loaded with vitamin C. You can find doubleTrusted Source the daily recommended amount of vitamin C in a single medium fruit. Papayas also have a digestive enzyme called papain that has anti-inflammatory effects. Papayas have decent amounts of potassium, magnesium, and folate, all of which are beneficial to your overall health.
Like papayas, kiwis are naturally full of a ton of essential nutrients, including folate, potassium, vitamin K, and vitamin C. Vitamin C boosts the white blood cells to fight infection, while kiwi’s other nutrients keep the rest of your body functioning properly.
Exercises to do to maintain good health & increase immunity
Any exercise program should include cardiovascular exercise, which strengthens the heart and burns calories. And walking is something you can do anywhere, anytime, with no equipment other than a good pair of shoes. It’s not just for beginners, either: Even the very fit can get a good workout from walking. “Doing a brisk walk can burn up to 500 calories per hour,” says Robert Gotlin, DO, director of orthopedic and sports rehabilitation at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York. Since it takes 3,500 calories to lose a pound, you could expect to lose a pound for every seven hours you walk, if you did nothing else. Don’t go from the sofa to walking an hour day, though. Richard Cotton, a spokesman for the American Council on Exercise, says beginners should start by walking five to -10 minutes at a time, gradually moving up to at least 30 minutes per session. “Don’t add more than five minutes at a time,” he says. Another tip: It’s better to lengthen your walks before boosting your speed or incline.
- Interval training
Whether you’re a beginner or an exercise veteran, a walker, or an aerobic dancer, adding interval training to your cardiovascular workout will boost your fitness level and help you lose weight.
“Varying your pace throughout the exercise session stimulates the aerobic system to adapt,” says Cotton. “The more power the aerobic system has, the more capacity you have to burn calories.”
The way to do it is to push the intensity or pace for a minute or two, then back off for anywhere from two to -10 minutes (depending on how long your total workout will be, and how much time you need to recover). Continue doing this throughout the workout. “Varying your pace throughout the exercise session stimulates the aerobic system to adapt,” says Cotton. “The more power the aerobic system has, the more capacity you have to burn calories.”
The way to do it is to push the intensity or pace for a minute or two, then back off for anywhere from two to -10 minutes (depending on how long your total workout will be, and how much time you need to recover). Continue doing this throughout the workout
It’s time to roll out your yoga mat and discover the combination of physical and mental exercises that for thousands of years have hooked yoga practitioners around the globe. The beauty of yoga is that you don’t have to be a yogi or yogini to reap the benefits. Whether you are young or old, overweight, or fit, yoga has the power to calm the mind and strengthen the body. Don’t be intimidated by yoga terminology, fancy yoga studios, and complicated poses. Yoga is for everyone.
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