Humans are gifted with an inbuilt defence mechanism by the almighty to combat with the pathogens. From the very first breath we take, our body starts it’s fight against the micro demons. Breast Milk becomes the first supporter of the immune system and later on the foods from the mother earth gradually builds the system stronger.
But before 2020, we never took this system seriously, did we? NO. But a microscopic tiny creature which is in the verge of living and non living state blew our mind with its virulence and introduced some scientific terminologies like “Immunity”, “RT-PCR”, “Vaccine”, “Quarantine”, ”Pandemic” to the population. SARS-COVID19 which stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome – Coronavirus Disease 2019 has shaken the world by all means and showed our incapabilities and helplessness in a whole year.
It became a “struggle for existence” and the only best friend was our immunity. Those who had won the battle against the virus are alive, and sadly who failed are no more with us.
So, let’s dive into the concept and relation between covid and immunity.
WHAT IS SARS-COVID19?
Let us first know what is this thing and why is it so fatal? It is a group of RNA- viruses that cause disease in humans and animals. Specifically, SARS-COVID19 is responsible for the recent endemic which affects the respiratory tract primarily and hampers the immune system badly affecting other organs of the body.
HOW DOES IT GET INSIDE OUR BODY?
- When an affected person coughs or sneezes in front of a healthy person/people.
- Through surface contaminations and then touching the eyes, nose & mouth.
- Through aerosols.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN IT ENTERS IN OUR BODY?
A typical corona virus has a crown like appearance due to its protein spikes which helps to adhere with the cell membrane. Once it clutches the cell membrane, it pours it’s inner core material into the cell. Then it replicates and camouflages into a human cell for which our defender cells fail to identify. Later, it is circulated in the whole body and causes diseases.
WHAT IS IMMUNITY?
In simple Layman’s words, immunity is our defence mechanism that resists any pathogenic reaction in the body. Immunity can be of the following types:
- INNATE IMMUNITY: the immunity with which we are born.
- ACTIVE IMMUNITY: the immunity we acquire in our lifetime.
- PASSIVE IMMUNITY: the immunity we acquire through vaccines.
HOW IMMUNITY WORKS?
There are two types of responses:
- Cellular response – which involves T cells. They attack the infected cells and itself multiplies in number to tackle the situation
- Antibody response – which involves B cells. They produce specific antibodies and memorise the particular pathogen for future reference.
Herd Immunity is the concept of epidemiology, a key to prevent epidemic situations, generally implemented after the second or third epidemic curve. The concept is to vaccinate a portion of a population to decrease the rate of secondary cases from the primary victims.
BOOSTING IMMUNITY AND NUTRIENTS :
In this situation, where medicines, vaccines and other treatments cannot assure you complete recovery – you need to focus and trust on your inner strength that is your immunity. And what boosts immunity is fresh foods.
Food not only satisfies your hunger, but also nourishes your body, helps in metabolism and supports your defence system. It is believed that seasonal fruits and vegetables have some unique characteristics which are made specially for that season. For example, the fruits in summer are filled with pulp and water which provides our body refreshment and cooling whereas winter is for vegetables which generates heat to keep our body warm.
Sadly, our busy schedule and so called modern life has removed the tag of simple living and eating and has driven the youth towards fancy eating which fills our body with toxins.
WHAT TO DO?
Healthy eating habits and a healthy lifestyle is a key to combat covid19. Addition of antioxidants to your plate will be the first line of prevention. Viruses create a oxidative state and oxidative stress which produces free radicals causing damage to the healthy cells. These antioxidants prevents the production of free radicals, rejuvenates cells and thus stops cell damage. Researches have shown that antioxidants are beneficial for reducing inflammation and have a recovery role to treat coronary lung infections.
Following are some specific nutrients which are beneficial for immunity boosting:
- VITAMIN C: it has been suggested to provide an effective result in the pandemic due to its excellent antioxidant activity. It helps in the production, function and migration of immunity cells. It has an antiviral immune response, antiinflammatory response too. Foods like oranges, lemons, amla, guava etc.
- VITAMIN E & SELENIUM: both are excellent combinations of antioxidants. The moderate level of vitamin E supplementation not only regulates cellular free radical antioxidant balance but also enhances antibody response. The duo exhibits a strong response against viral mutation. Research shows that selenium shows an antiviral effect with its modulatory role in antioxidant defense , redox signalling and redox homeostasis.
- VITAMIN D: researches have shown that vitamin D has an active role in preventing acute respiratory diseases. It decreases inflammatory responses, tissue damage prevention etc. Deficiency in vitamin D has shown multiple organ dysfunction, increased mortality rate in severely ill patients whereas supplementation decreases the above said problems. Research shows that vitamin D3 supplementation has improved critical care patients.
- ZINC, COPPER, IRON: These metals also have some properties to hinder the viral mutation and enhance the defence mechanism. Deficiency in these metals can make the situation more vulnerable.
Other nutrients actively participate to provide a guard and boost immunity from all means.
NUTRITIONAL GUIDELINES BY WHO:
WHO has recommended the following advice to adults during the pandemic:
- Eat fresh & unprocessed foods every day
- Drink enough water every day
- Eat a moderate amount of fats and oil
- Counselling & psychological support
- Eat less salt & sugar
- Avoid eating out.
No one has any idea when will this paradoxical situation come to an end. By this time, the second phase has rushed into the country and is showing its destructive behaviour desperately. What we can do is to maintain the protocols, staying inside and preparing our body by eating healthy foods because no one knows who is the next prey of COVID19!