Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a type of illness caused by a novel coronavirus now called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2; formerly called 2019-nCoV), which was first identified among due to an outbreak of respiratory illness cases in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.
It was first time reported to World Health Organization (WHO) on December 31, 2019 and on January 30, 2020, the WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global health emergency. On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.No drug or biological product have proven its efficacy for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19. Numerous antiviral agents,anti-malarial drugs like Hydroxychloroquine, antibiotics like Azithromycin, immunotherapies, and vaccines are being investigated and developed as potential therapies. As the world scrambles to find a cure for Covid-19, health experts have suggested boosting the body’s immune system may help minimize the effects and hasten the recovery from the disease. AYUSH ministry says that ayurvedic herbs such as tulsi, cinnamon, black pepper, shunthi (dry ginger) and raisins and regular yoga are potent aids to increase the body’s immunity against harmful viruses. The AYUSH ministry’s protocol outlined measures to build a robust immune system, and it included: consuming warm water, practising yogasana, pranayama and meditation for 30 minutes every day.
It also advised usage of Giloy,Turmeric, Cumin, Coriander and Garlic in cooking, besides taking 10 gm of chyavanprash in the morning. Jaggery, fresh lemon juice can also be helpful in the fight against Covid-19.
These herbs also help increase the production of interferons (proteins) and antibodies to generate an immune response against viruses and increase the rate of phagocytosis to destroy microorganisms, thus, increasing immunity from containing viral infections. The idea of traditional system of medicine is that if you don’t have a potent weapon to combat the enemy, a strong and effective shield is the best way to protect yourself. Ayush Ministry has also recommended 150 ml hot milk with half a teaspoon of turmeric powder once or twice a day because Turmeric is a natural antibiotic , application of sesame oil/coconut oil or ghee in both the nostrils in the morning and evening s also recommended.
Individuals in certain pre-existing illnesses like diabetes, hypertension, cardio vascular disease, and respiratory issues are at a higher risk of having Covid 19 complications, it also aggravates with age as the general immunity reduces as you get older. In the younger generation with no underlying illnesses, Covid 19 can result in a minor infection, provided you have a robust immunity and do not engage in activities like smoking or vaping to combat the onslaught of the virus. Here is a list of measures you can undertake to improve your immunity.
The food you eat plays a key aspect in determining your overall health and immunity. Eat low carb diets, as this will help control high blood sugar and pressure. A low carb diet will help slow down diabetes and focus on a protein-rich diet to keep you in good shape. And regularly consume vegetables and fruits rich in Beta carotene, Ascorbic acid & other essential vitamins. Certain foods like mushrooms, tomato, bell pepper and green vegetables like broccoli, spinach are also good options to build resilience in the body against infections.
You can also eat supplements rich in omega 3 & 6 fatty acids for your daily dose, if stepping out to buy groceries is not an option during social distancing. Some natural immunity supplements include ginger, gooseberries (amla) and turmeric. Some of these superfoods are common ingredients in Indian dishes and snacks. There are several herbs that help in boosting immunity like garlic, Basel leaves and Black cumin. Certain seeds and nuts like sunflower seeds, Flax seed, pumpkin seeds and melon seeds are excellent sources of protein and vitamin E.
Probiotics like Yoghurt, Yakult and fermented food are also excellent sources to rejuvenate the composition of gut bacteria, which is important for nutrient absorption by the body. These are good options for the older generation too.
Good snooze time for 7-8 hours is the best way to help your body build immunity; lesser sleep will leave you tired and impair your brain activity. The lack of sleep will prevent the body from resting and this will impair other bodily functions that will have a direct impact on your immunity. Lack of sleep adversely affects the action of the flu vaccine.
Drink up to 8-10 glasses of water every day, to stay hydrated. Hydration will help flush out the toxins from the body and lower the chances of flu. Other alternatives include juices made of citrus fruits and coconut water, to beat the heat.
While the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic is fought by our health care workers, we can do our bit by limiting our exposure to the virus by staying indoors, maintaining social distance, eating healthy, hydrating and following basic hygiene protocol.