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COVID-19: ‘Boosting immune system is imperative’

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As COVID-19 continues to ravage the world, one health fact that has been emphasised by medical professionals and others is the need to boost the immune system, which is capable of preventing individuals from contracting the dreaded disease, or overcoming it if contracted.

One of the best ways of doing this is through eating healthy, balanced diet that comprises especially lots of fruits and vegetables, as well as water.

During this stay-at-home period, it is also important to engage in some form of physical exercise, get adequate sleep and reduce stress, all which also help boost the immune system.

Former President Association of Residents Doctors at Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, Lagos, Dr. Olubunmi Omojowolo disclosed eating healthy would help keep the immune system strong.

He said: “People should plan their meals to include immune-boosting food, fruits and vegetables, such as citrus fruits, garlic, broccoli and spinach. They can also supplement with key vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C, Vitamin B, Vitamin D and zinc. Avoid street foods and cold refrigerated foods to prevent infection. Be cautious while eating uncooked foods and salads. Consume freshly made, warm home-cooked food. Always cover your food and prevent it from getting exposed to flies and such other germ-transmitting. Wash fruits and vegetables properly before cooking.”

Omojowolo explained that the human body produces stress hormones, which tax the immune system whenever people are stressed, which in turn ages the body. Therefore, one of the most important ways to boost immunity is to reduce stress and have adequate sleep.

“To reduce stress, it is important you ensure work-life balance, take breaks when needed. Lack of sleep can severely impact the immune system and overall health. It is important to get at least seven hours of sleep daily for a healthy system.

“People should reduce their intake of sugar, refined carbohydrates, processed meat, vegetable oils, excess alcohol and smoking, all of which are harmful to the body, as they cause inflammation. They over-work the immune system, leaving other problems in the body unaddressed. And this is why it is important to remove these inflammatory foods if we want a healthy immune system.”

A Family Physician, Dr. Chukwuma Ogunbor said people should engage in some form of exercise, which is one of the best things to do to boost immunity.

He said: “But we must be careful because too much exercise is also stressful to the body and can be tough on our immune system. Keep the other tips in mind; keep stress low and remember to exercise at home, as this is not the best time to exercise outdoor with other people. Staying indoors is one of the measures against the spread of Coronavirus.”

Ogunbor advised people to stay away from toxins, as these can be devastating for the immune system. For example, mycotoxins from mould are notorious for destroying immunity. Many other toxins seem to have a detrimental impact on immunity as well. So, there is a need to minimise exposure to generator fumes, chlorinated drinking water, pesticides, aromatic hydrocarbons, heavy metals, air pollution and food additives. Liver detoxification is essential to reduce toxins burden on our body.


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