In addition to the novel coronavirus that’s endangering public health, there’s another threat, so to speak, that poses risk to people’s well-being.
The colds and flu season that comes along with the rainy season is here, hence it is important to keep your immune system strong and in top shape.
There are several natural ways to strengthen our immune system, which is our body’s defense against viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. First is staying hydrated.
Don’t wait for signs to rehydrate as water is a natural immunity booster that cleanses our body from toxins. The average fluid intake recommended for adult is two liters a day.
Drink water to maintain moisture on the sense organs (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin) and prevent penetration of infectious material.
Next is increasing intake of vitamin C- and vitamin D-rich food items.
Good nutrition is a prerequisite to good health, and eating a variety of foods following the Pinggang Pinoy of DOST-Food and Nutrition Research Institute is fundamental to adequately provide one’s needs.
Along with other nutrients found naturally in foods, vitamin C is essential in maintaining the integrity of the immune system. Citrus fruits are good sources of vitamin C and you can increase your intake in the form of fresh fruit juices and shakes, infused water, and tea with a squeeze of lemon or calamansi.
The recommended intake of vitamin C per day ranges between 60mg to 70mg. For reference: three pieces of dalandan contain 48mg, two pieces of red-fleshed guava have 95mg, two segments of pomelo contain 46mg, five pieces of rambutan come with 50mg, one slice of ripe papaya has 67mg, and one slice of unripe mango contains 49mg.
Meanwhile, increasing intake of vitamin D-rich food sources is important during the rainy season as exposure to sunlight in the morning may be reduced.
The primary function of vitamin D is to promote calcium absorption. It likewise helps regulate the immune responses in the body.
With limited sunlight, you may obtain your daily dose of vitamin D from dietary sources such as egg yolks, tuna, mackerel, salmon, and liver. Milk, dairy products, and cereals are also significant sources.
When common symptoms ensue during an episode of common colds or flu, it’s recommended to use indigenous food as remedy. Better still, go domestic and obtain your fresh produce and products from our farmers to help uplift their economic status.
Four popular food remedies include garlic, ginger, honey, and spices.
Garlic is known for its antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. Ginger, as in ginger tea is a perfect remedy to alleviate nasal congestion during episodes of cold and chills. It also alleviates progression of muscle pain and exercise-induced muscle sores.
Honey is known to relieve cough and cold symptoms, as well as heal wounds and burns, relieve diarrhea, prevent acid reflux, and provide hangover relief, among many others.
Spices such as chili, cayenne pepper, horseradish or wasabi are known to help unclog stuffy nose. In addition, the combination of ginger, coriander, and cinnamon helps alleviate fever and promotes sweating.
Finally, a natural way of boosting our body’s defenses is by getting a good amount of sleep.
The optimal amount of sleep for adults is seven to eight hours. Resting and sleeping have lower body energy expenditure that enables your immune system to function in full capacity thereby allowing the repair and growth of body tissues.
Taking 30-minute naps twice a day may lessen stress from sleep deprivation.
Staying hydrated also helps in getting enough rest as proper hydration stimulates the body’s production of melatonin and other sleep-inducing chemicals.
Learn more about the in-depth science of Nutrition and Immune System through an online diploma program in Holistic Food and Nutrition to be conducted by the School of Professional and Continuing Education of the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde on August 8, 15, and 22. Email [email protected] or visit benilde.edu.ph/space for more details.
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