As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the country (more than 1000 citizens are reported to have tested positive for the virus), it’s essential now more than ever to take care of our health.

It has been reported that Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has warned that at least six to seven out of every 10 South Africans would be directly affected by the coronavirus, with at least two out of every 10 cases being severe. 

The foods we eat can either strengthen or weaken our health over time. Therefore, adding foods to our diet that are rich in vitamins, nutrients and healthy fats will strengthen our bodies to help fight off diseases and viruses effectively.

How can I boost my immune system quickly

If you are experience any coronavirus symptoms, seek professional advice immediately. However, there are also foods you can eat that can assist you, while taking medication, to help you feel better. 

  • Exercise regularly .
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to remove and prevent the spread of germs.
  • Eat a balanced diet that contains lots of fruits and vegetables.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Get enough rest (between six-to-eight hours at night).

What are signs of a weak immune system?

Your immune system exists to fight off infections. If you have a weak immune system, you may be prone to having infections. Some of the symptoms of a weak immune system are the following:

  • Skin infections 
  • Digestive issues (diarrhoea, loss of appetite, abdominal pains)
  • You always feel fatigue
  • You easily get infections
  • Wounds take long to heal

If you have a weak immune system, you should take extra precautionary measures toward protecting yourself against infections and viruses.

  • Always wash your hands(if you do not have soap and water nearby, use a hand sanitiser with an alcohol count of at least 60 per cent)
  • Sanitise commonly used areas around your home(door handles, taps, remotes, kitchen counters, toilet handles, etc.)
  • Stay clear of people who are already sick.
  • Consider getting a flu vaccine.

What foods are bad for your immune system

There is a famous saying, “you are what you eat.” If you eat unhealthily regularly, it can cause serious implications on your health. Research suggests that eating and drinking foods high in sugar can suppress your immune system cells that attack bacteria. Here are a few junk foods that are not good for your health:

  • Carbonated drinks
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Foods high in sugar (cakes, doughnuts, pastries, low-fat yoghurt, bottled spaghetti sauce, canned fruit.
  • Processed foods (food that has had its nutritional composition changed by preserving in a can, frozen and placed in a bag and packaged. Some of these include tinned vegetables, packets of sauces and ready-to-eat foods such as granola bars and deli meats).

For inspiration on delicious food that is good for your health and meals that your family will enjoy, try browsing through our healthy dinner ideas.

How can I boost my immune system when I’m sick?

If you are already ill, there are several natural and healthy ways to get you feeling better in no time! The below tips will help you feel better if you have the flu and it will also help your body fight infections so that you do not get a cold or flu.

  • Drink lots of water– water allows our bodies to flush out toxins and carries oxygen to your blood cells. Although there are various opinions on how much water to drink in a day, drinking 2 litres of water is commonly recommended.
  • Take supplements– taking additional vitamins can help your body fight off illnesses quicker. Supplements that contain zinc, Vitamin A, B6, B12, C, D, E, selenium and copper are recommended by the British Journal of Nutrition to improve immune function.However, be sure to use the supplements in moderation – stick to what is recommended on the bottle. 
  • Eat healthy foods. Fruits and vegetables are enriched in healthy antioxidants to keep you strong. Choose foods that are high in vitamins, zinc and selenium.

Foods to eat to boost your immune system

To boost your immune system, eat the following foods:

  • Button mushroomsare high in selenium and B-vitamins
  • Spinachis rich in folate, which helps the body to create cells. They also contain vitamin C, iron and magnesium – eat raw or quickly cooked for optimum benefit.
  • Sweet potato contains beta-carotene which transforms into Vitamin A when ingested into the body.
  • Broccoli is rich in Vitamins A & C as well as glutathione which prevents damage to the body’s cells.
  • Ginger root has potent anti-inflammatory and antiviral benefits. Grate fresh ginger in black tea or warm water and enjoy as a drink.
  • Freshpomegranate juice contains flavonoid antioxidants to fight viruses to reduce the length of a cold.
  • Green vegetablescontain folate and Vitamins A & C. Blend in a smoothie or add to soup with turmeric, black pepper and fresh garlic.
  • Garlichas been proven to decrease the length of a cold as well as reduce the risk of having a cold. 

Browse through our quick and easy recipes to try and home using some of the immune-boosting foods.

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