Human Coronaviruses : How To Protect Yourself With A Strong Immune System
February 1, 2020
The latest news on the new human coronavirus coming out of China which started in December 2019 reminds us that those who are more likely to be dangerously affected are those who are not healthy enough to withstand a viral invasion. The CDC tells us on their website that, in general, common human coronaviruses are more prevalent than we might realize and that they are not as dangerous as the one originating from Wuhan, China.
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1. “Reported illnesses [of the new 2019 coronovirus] have ranged from infected people with mild illness to people being severely ill and dying.”
2. “Human corona viruses can sometimes cause lower-respiratory tract illnesses, such as pneumonia or bronchitis. This is more common in people with cardiopulmonary disease, people with weakened immune systems, infants, and older adults.”
So, at this point, it is important to remind people not to panic. But you might want to know what you can do on a self-care level to protect yourself and your family that goes beyond the first level tactics recommended by the CDC and other health care professionals. Let’s start with…
How Your Immune System Works
Good nutrition plays a key role in maintaining a healthy immune system. Lacking in one or more of essential nutrients may prevent the immune system from functioning at its peak; especially important in times of widespread virus infections and the flu season.
Functioning as a complex web of mechanisms inside the human body, the immune system is designed to protect and defend against millions of invaders such as allergens, bacteria, viruses, and other potentially harmful organisms, collectively known as antigens.
It is necessary to note that the first line of defense against these invaders are the skin and the membranes that line the entrances to the body. These entrances are the nasal passages, the eyes, and the respiratory and digestive tracts. This is why the CDC states that the first line of prevention is to wash your hands often and thoroughly as well as avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands and why so many people are rushing to buy face masks.
Not To Worry. Your Body Is Designed to Combat Virus Invasions.
If these antigens make it past the skin, they have to face the specialized white blood cells called T-lymphocytes, which continuously patrol the body in search of these body invaders. Other cells that keep the body protected from these harmful germs are B-lymphocytes, neutrophils, and macrophages.
B-lymphocytes are special blood proteins that neutralize or destroy germs. Neutrophils and macrophages, on the other hand, scavenge antigens from the blood for delivery to the lymphatic system, which disposes them.
But, It’s Important To Assist Your Immune System To Fight The Good Fight.
It is our obligation to help these virus-fighting cells to function efficiently in keeping our body protected from bacterial and viral infections. This is what could be called the second line of defense.
While essential nutrients are critical for the production and maintenance of key germ-fighting cells in the immune system, a balanced diet also has a strong effect on vascular function. The immune system is dependent on blood flow because the bloodstream is the route along which infection-fighting cells travel throughout the body to where they are needed.
Maintaining a well-balanced diet and keeping a healthy eating habit are your best assurance to keep the immune system functioning properly.
Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins A and C. It also has phytochemicals that lend fruits and vegetables their colors. These food groups also contain antioxidants that promote the body’s built-in anti-viral and anti-bacterial functions. These nutrients help ensure that the lymphocytes can divide and reproduce properly in response to a virus, and that the neutrophils and macrophages that engulf and kill invading bacteria can do their job.
Maximizing the variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can be achieved by eating 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. It is necessary to consume two different colors of vegetables and fruits with each meal, and one-third of lean protein.
Include in your diet a generous amount of protein to ensure production of more white blood cells to help combat the invading antigens. The building blocks of all the body’s cells, including the cells that power the immune system, are the amino acids found in protein. Protein and amino acids are essential in increasing immune cell proliferation. Plus, a University of Alberta study shows that one crucial amino acid called, arginine, is required to let the body know that it’s being attacked by an infection so that all those good virus fighting cells can react more quickly in a second-line defense against a human coronavirous.
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