Why a Balanced Diet can Help your Immune System to Prevent Infected by COVID-19
Written by : Peeters, Former Community Engagement Project Child Indonesia
As the World Health Organization declares Covid-19 as a global pandemic resulting in countries grappling with imminent dangers that this virus poses to humanity, there are very few measures that individuals can take to fight this pandemic.
Indonesia currently ranks first in Covid-19 mortality rate in Asia. Data shown from John Hopkins University states that due to its poor public health management and regional disparities within its health system, the mortality rate spikes to 8-9 percent. And as a result of widespread testing absence as a matter of precaution, Indonesia has also put 27,549 patients under strict observation for suspected coronavirus infection.
During disease outbreaks, such as today, it is always the most vulnerable and marginalized communities who suffer the most. The lack of high testing rate, tight biosurveillance, solid contract tracing and sufficient hospital capacity, marginalized communities in Indonesia are in jeopardy.
Project Child Indonesia is supporting the community and the government to a certain extent to prevent the spread of the disease, especially among vulnerable and marginalized communities through promotion of healthy food information that leads to behavior change.
Hence, what have we learned to prevent ourselves from being infected by the virus? We have learned to prevent ourselves from Covid-19 by taking simple daily precautions such as washing your hands, practicing social and/or physical distancing, exercising and getting enough sleep, are several ways to lower risk of infection.
While it is crucial to mention hygiene standards, there are also certain methods to improve your immunity which is paramount at this juncture. The immune system is a complex system of structures and processes that have evolved to protect the body from disease. More than 70% of the body’s immunity is located in the intestinal digestive system. Because of that, intestinal health is one of the keys to maintaining endurance.
Hence, the question arises, how can one boost their immune system or maintain a healthy gut and/or intestinal health to fight Covid-19?
It is a tough question, indeed, mainly because the immune system is not a single-system that can be measured easily, as mentioned prior. It’s an intricate and delicate system with many different variables.
Although no research has been done on foods that help fight against Covid-19 specifically. There are previous studies that have found consuming certain foods can help improve your gut health and strengthen your body’s ability to fight other invasive viruses.
Optimal intestinal health should be considered, especially during times like this. As having too many” bad “bacteria in the gut has been linked to various problems, including allergies, autoimmune disorders and maybe even anxiety and depression.
Research shows, when the number of probiotics Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus in the intestine decreases, it will cause an imbalance in the intestine (Gut Dysbiosis). This will reduce the body’s production of immune substances (IgA, CD4 +, B and T, IL-10 lymphocyte cells) by probiotics.
As a result, viruses that enter the body cannot be killed by the body’s macrophages. Hence, if inflammatory reactions occur, especially in the lungs, it will be progressive. As a result of the more severe symptoms of shortness of breath due to Covid-19 will aggravate and worsen and decrease oxygen flow throughout the body.
- Tempeh (Fermented Soybean Cake)
This particular food made from fermented soybeans contains a significant number of health benefits, such as proteins that help build and repair muscles tissues.
This slightly fizzy and acidic tea does not only contain probiotics, but also contains B vitamins, which help support the immune system and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink that does not only contain probiotics, but also a rich source of calcium and protein.
Pickled cabbage is the result of lactic acid fermentation, the process by which bacteria convert sugar into lactic acid. By consuming pickled cabbage it would help keep the intestines healthy by preventing the development of bad bacteria. Furthermore, one cup of sauerkraut provides about 30 calories and is an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K. This food also provides fiber and iron.
A great source of probiotics, which are good bacteria that can help promote a healthy gut and immune system, it is also effective for fighting the common cold and influenza-like respiratory infections. Yogurt contains live and active cultures including lactobacillus bulgaricus. Lactobacillus bulgaricus is able to produce lactic acid which helps fight bad bacteria.
- Probiotic Supplements
In any case that you are unable to consume food that is rich in probiotics due to unavailability or any other reasons, there is always an option of consuming probiotic supplements.
This is the time to look at your lifestyle and see what you are capable of changing. Proper hand sanitation is the number one method of control, but you can do more than just that. But remember, it is not about consuming all the healthy food at once, but rather a balanced diet of healthy food.