s Canadians move into the forecasted ‘second wave’ of COVID-19 that will fall in line with influenza (flu) season, a twin epidemic is possible. What can you do to stay healthy and how can you make the most of your body’s disease-fighting and healing superpowers?
How the Immune System Works (simplified)
Our body has natural immune protection mechanisms that we are born with to fight off foreign invaders and infections that our body detects. Examples include the skin which acts as a physical barrier to pathogens; sticky mucus membranes in your nose and digestive tract which help to trap small particles; ejection of foreign bodies out of your body and respiratory tract through coughing. The innate immune system is not designed to fight specific pathogens while the acquired/adaptive system, explained below, is.
If an invader gets past the innate immune system, it will continue to work alongside the acquired system, a sophisticated cascade of immune responses that are triggered in an attempt to control the microbes or resultant infection. This includes the release of antibodies to destroy the invader. Antibodies are developed either through previous exposures or vaccinations. This immune system gets its name by virtue of being able to remember foreign invaders so it knows what to do (which antibodies to produce) if they attack again.
Our innate immune system can’t really be ‘boosted’, in fact, if it were to go into ‘overdrive’ you’d feel quite dysfunctional with constant and intense symptoms. The rate of functioning of the acquired/adaptive immune system can be increased if the invader is a familiar one via previous exposure or vaccination. So, is there a need to go out and raid your nearest health food store, or virtual health food store (remember social distancing!) to get all the supplements and oil that claim to ‘rev up’ your immune system? Absolutely not!
What can you do? If you can’t ‘boost’ your immune system, you may wonder where nutrients and healthy activities fit into the equation. You can certainly support and maintain your immune system, and doing so is a must, based on what’s going on around us, and what we know is coming.
This article outlines some of the things that will help lessen your chances of your immune system having to go into full-blown defence mode, and some may be helpful if you do fall sick. But how to prevent contracting COVID-19 and/or influenza in the first place?
Practice “social distancing” and good hygiene. Try to keep at least 2 metres from others, wear a mask, and wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol hand rub, especially after touching surfaces that might be contaminated.
Take care and stay tuned for food and nutrient suggestions from KitchenMate ❤️