The new coronavirus disease is a viral respiratory infection that is rapidly spreading across the world. It is highly infectious since it is easily transmitted via respiratory droplets. The virus itself can remain viable on various surfaces for up to 72 hours.
But despite the exponential growth of reported cases, the disease itself is not a death sentence. Recovery is possible, and experts observe that the disease is only fatal given preexisting autoimmune and respiratory diseases.
As the body’s first line of defense against infection, the immune system identifies and combats disease-causing pathogens. However, poor nutrition and lifestyle choices can impair vital immune functions and render the body susceptible to a host of diseases.
Fortunately, a good way to fortify the immune system is to regularly consume immunity-boosting superfoods.
The elderberry is a dark, purple fruit that contains high amounts of anthocyanins. As antioxidant agents, anthocyanins prevent cellular damage caused by free radicals, which can lead to chronic diseases and premature aging. Anthocyanins also demonstrate antiviral and antimicrobial effects against disease-causing pathogens. Additionally, the elderberry can stimulate the body’s anti-inflammatory functions to reduce pain and swelling.
Elderberries also contain high amounts of vitamin C, an essential vitamin that greatly aids immune functions by stimulating the production of white blood cells. Vitamin C also enhances the ability of immune cells to combat pathogens.
Echinacea is a medicinal herb that is widely used across North America to treat inflammation and promote healing. It is an excellent source of flavonoids, such as cichoric acid and rosmarinic acid, that possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Echinacea is also positively linked to immunity. It has been shown to protect the body from viral and bacterial infections. Due to its antioxidant properties, echinacea is also often used to relieve symptoms of the common cold or flu.
Citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, grapefruits, tangerines and clementines, are excellent sources of vitamin C, an immune-boosting essential vitamin. Vitamin C is also necessary for various body functions including cell development, wound healing and collagen production.
Like most fruits and vegetables, citrus fruits also contain plant compounds that have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. For instance, flavonoids have been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease caused by high cholesterol levels. Carotenoids, on the other hand, enhance the body’s antiviral and antibacterial immune responses.
Andrographis is a medicinal herb that is widely used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines to stimulate the production of antibodies, treat respiratory infections and relieve gastrointestinal inflammation. It is a bitter-tasting herb that contains andrographolides, plant compounds that possess anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and antioxidant properties.
As a natural immune-booster, andrographis is commonly used to relieve symptoms of the common cold and flu. But it can also be used to treat various conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, sinus infections, skin diseases and ulcers.
Many varieties of mushrooms are excellent sources of immune-boosting antioxidants. In fact, certain varieties including lion’s mane, chaga and reishi mushrooms are hailed for their potent medicinal effects against chronic inflammation, high blood sugar levels and high blood pressure.
Mushrooms also possess antiviral, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties due to high amounts of beta-glucan, a naturally occurring polysaccharide that enhances the body’s immune and anti-cancer responses.
Additionally, regular exercise and adequate sleep can strengthen the immune system significantly. Individuals should also re-evaluate poor lifestyle choices, such as smoking and drinking, before various organs and body functions suffer irreversible damage.
Experts have yet to find a cure for the new coronavirus disease. That being said, a strong immune system, along with personal hygiene and social distancing, can greatly reduce the risk of infection. Moreover, it can reduce the severity of symptoms in case of infection.
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