It's no secret that COVID-19 (also known as the Coronavirus) is top of mind for many right now. And we get it! At MamaSezz, health it a top priority and the threat of pandemic can make even the healthiest people feel anxious. We are here to help you stay healthy, safe, and calm.
Although washing our hands and avoiding close contact is the first line of defense against coronavirus (or any virus), you also want to strengthen your immune system using every tool in your belt. Be prepared with these immunity-boosting tips.
Our immunity is our body's ability to fight off a foreign organism, like an infection or a virus. When your body senses a foreign substance, our immune response is to produce antibodies. Antibodies fight the germs, which we call antigens. When your immunity is at its strongest, you produce more antibodies, which means you have more good guys fighting on your side.
So if your “it’s just allergies” coworker takes a sip of your coffee, or that guy on the subway wasn’t covering his mouth while coughing, you have a lesser chance of their antigens taking over your body and getting you sick.
As you age, your immune response decreases. This is why it's especially important for the elderly to improve their immunity through diet because they are more susceptible to lasting damage and even fatality through common sicknesses like colds and the flu. High-risk populations include the elderly, those with weakened immune systems, heart disease, diabetes and lung cancer.
Click HERE to see recommendations made by the CDC
Your first line of defense against any virus! Even if you were diligent about washing your hands before COVID-19, this is the time to go over the top with your personal hygiene.
New protocol: Load up your hands with soap and hot water, then scrub the tops of your hands, palms, in-between your fingers, under your fingernails, and up to your wrists while you sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Don't stop scrubbing until you've finished the song, then rinse with warm water. Use a paper towel to first dry your hands, then to turn off the sink and open the bathroom door.
Avoid contact with your eyes, mouth, and nose. This prevents organisms from getting into your system. Wash your hands before eating, handling food, or putting your hands in contact with your face.
While hot water and soap is best, hand sanitizer is great when you're out and about. Carry a little bottle of sanitizer with you and use it whenever you touch public objects like shopping carts, handrails, credit card readers, gas pumps, doorknobs, etc.
Concerts, festivals, and public transportation should be avoided if possible. Postpone gatherings like birthday parties, especially if they involve anyone in the high-risk population. Remember, this is just a temporary precaution to avoid the rapid spread of disease. If you are avoiding the grocery store, you can opt for delivery services like MamaSezz.
This one is tough but it's necessary to avoid spreading the virus. Even if you're feeling well, stay home and limiting social interaction is best so you don't spread the virus to any high-risk neighbors, friends, family members. If you are sick, always sneeze or cough into your elbow, use tissues, and wash your hands frequently.
Take extra caution if you living in an area where there have been 1 or more reported cases of the Coronavirus. See map HERE to check if your community has been affected. If it has been, take extra precaution when spending time in public places.
Exercise frequently, get enough sleep, drink water, avoid stressful situations, and eat as many plants as you can! Certain veggies and fruits can actually boost your immune system by promoting the development of antibodies.
Ok, so if a strong immune system is the goal, how can you get there? Look to your plate!
Our biggest barrier to the outside world isn’t through our skin, but through our guts! What you eat has a lot to do with how your body fights off germs and sickness.
You can boost your immunity naturally (aka create more antibodies) by adding more fruits and veggies to your diet! Diets that promote 5-6 servings of fruits and veggies a day are proven to boost your immune response and antibody production.
While both fruits and veggies lessen your chances of getting sick, they work best when eaten in combination.
And when it comes to quantity, the more the better! The consumption of more than 6 servings of fruits and veggies was associated with an even higher immunity response (go figure)!
A whole food plant-based diet (healthy vegan diet) consistently contains the most servings of fruits and veggies of any diet and therefore is the best diet for immunity boosting.
Really, any fruit or veggie will help to increase your immune response, but there are a few in particular that take the (carrot) cake...and spoiler: they're not all citrus!
This nightshade is an absolute superfood. Not only are tomatoes delicious, they also contain compounds that prevent sun damage, have been associated with a lower chance of cancer, and can reduce the risk of heart disease.
Tomatoes also have incredible immunity-boosting compounds. In one study, subjects stopped including fruits and veggies from their diet. No surprise: their immune response plummeted. But by adding just 1 ½ cups of tomato juice a day to their nutrient-deficient diet, they were able to stabilize their immunity to where they were before they took fruits and veggies out altogether.
While other vegetables did help increase immunity in this study, none had an effect as drastic as the tomatoes.
These fungi have an extraordinary response to immunity. They are able to increase antibody production while decreasing inflammation. One study demonstrates that with just 1 cup of white button mushrooms a day, the IGA antibody production in saliva doubles. Even crazier? It stays that way for 2 weeks after eating the mushrooms!
Your mom was right: eat your broccoli! We know that not everyone is on the cruciferous veggie train, but if you hate them, it may be time to get on board. (Here are some chef tips for steaming vegetables perfectly, every time - no more mush!)
Cruciferous veggies are one of the strongest immunity-boosting foods out there and are required for proper immune response. Yep, compounds found in these veggies are “essential for sustaining intestinal immune function.”
Cruciferous veggies include broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and more.
Stay healthy, stay safe, and stay calm by being prepared. Avoiding the grocery store? Boost your immune system from the comfort of home with the MamaSezz Be Prepared Bundle. Stock your fridge with delicious and ready-made whole food plant based meals. Bonus: all meals are freezable! Pop in the freezer for 2 months. MamaSezz meals are chef-prepared, delivered fresh, and loaded with immunity-boosting ingredients like tomatoes, mushrooms, leafy greens, lemons, and cruciferous veggies.
By Caroline DiNicola Fawley
Caroline is a plant-based chef, recipe designer, and whole food plant-based nutrition educator, with a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies