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Home: The foundation for a strong immune system

Many a times we talk about the immune system as if it is outside the body or a separate entity on its own. When we conceive and understand that the immune system is embedded in our body and we have full control on how strong it can be and withstand the travails of our time, we take are  two steps closer to establishing the foundation for strong immunity. This is a 4-part conversation on how to establish a very strong immune system at this time.

My highlight today will just be an introduction to the subject… food and  immunity.  The background to having a strong immune system is the home and this is laid very early in life. From birth to be precise, when a new-born infant is fed the first milk from the mother’s breast…“colostrum”. Colostrum is rich in carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, disease-fighting proteins, growth hormones and digestive enzymes. Unfortunately, some women chose not to breastfeed or discard the first milk (containing colostrum). This is a subject in other series on the details on building immunity at this phase of childhood.

Irrespective of what we earn as income, or whether we are in selected or enforced lockdowns, we can still eat to strengthen our immune systems. The following tips will help us to ensure we are fully covered.

1. We are to eat a varied diet and not just rice, cassava-based foods (garri, fufu, lafun and so on), yam (boiled or pounded) and so on. We can eat boiled plantains, boiled beans, several greens, local oat meals, starchy vegetables and so on. The point is that the more varied your diet, the higher the chances that you will get all required micronutrients (vitamins, minerals) and macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) in a balanced form from your food.

2. Consume whole grains, nuts and healthy fat (nuts, olive) not processed foods such as pastries, froed foods, which have unhealthy transfats and saturated fats. Please note any oil consumed in excess, irrespective of type is still bad. Consumption is moderation is key.

3. Watch your intake of fats, sugar and salt. I say irrespective of age. When children are brought up with this in mind, it reinforces good dietary practices in childhood and subsequently adulthood. The foundation for this is laid at home and not any other community such as school, church or mosque.

4.Ensure you take 2 to 3 litres of water daily. Please note that when you drink water when you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated and this is not good for a strong immune system.

5. Exercise daily and but non-exhaustive exercises such as walking, especially if there are underlying health conditions. The role of exercise on immune system will be discussed fully.

6. Manage stress conditions, while noting the fact that any change of routine, physically, mentally, psychologically or otherwise is stress to the body.

7. Finally manage any chronic illness, if this exists and quit Smoking.

Please send your questions and comments to [email protected]; 08074181384 (texts only)

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