SIMPLE WAYS TO OPTIMIZE IMUNE FUNCTION DURING COVID-19 OUTBREAK
It is essential to have a functioning immune system in the fight against COVID-19 and the seasonal flu, as winter is approaching.
By NICK JOHNSON
There is scientific evidence suggesting certain nutrients and vitamins help immune function.
It is especially important during stressful periods to maintain healthy eating habits. The consumption of junk foods tends to increase during these periods. This is as a result of perceived comfort in eating highly refined sugary foods, as well as the easy accessibility of junk foods at lower cost.
Nutrient deficiencies can impact the immune system in two ways:
- Increased risk of contracting the virus
- Increased severity of the illness
Nutrients can be divided into two broad categories:
- Macronutrients ‘big nutrients’. These include carbohydrates, fats and proteins. These provide energy for cells
- Micronutrients ‘small nutrients’. These are vitamins and minerals. They help maintain cellular function.
During periods of illness, the macronutrient most affects are the proteins. Proteins are the building blocks of the body. They are responsible for the maintenance of muscles in the body.
Muscle mass is broken down during periods of acute illness.
As much as 10-20% of muscle can be lost in only 10 days with severe illness.
We therefore must ensure good muscle mass, through good protein in the diet and regular exercise.