US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — During the epidemic, in the hope of strengthening immunity and protecting themselves from coronavirus, some lean on garlic, others on ginger, and still others take shock doses of ascorbic acid. But what kind of food can actually reduce the risk of infection?
The antiviral properties of garlic have been confirmed by research. This spicy vegetable contains the substance allicin. It was noted that allicin strengthens the immune system by stimulating the synthesis of T-lymphocytes (T-killers), which are necessary for the destruction of foreign agents, including viruses. But in fairness it should be said that the research did not use garlic itself, but its extracts, in which the amount of allicin was different. Therefore, it is difficult to say reliably how much garlic should be eaten in order to strengthen immunity. Rather, it depends on the individual characteristics of the digestive system. It is believed that 1-2 cloves of garlic per day is quite enough for healthy people. However, with exacerbation of gastritis and colitis, garlic can be contraindicated, as it can provoke an increase in inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.
But studies confirming the antiviral agents of ginger do not yet exist. The main active ingredient of this root – ginger – has an antitoxic effect. This substance affects the system of cytochromes – enzymes that are involved in detoxification. In other words, ginger can be useful when the process, which produces a lot of toxic substances, is already running. It can accelerate their elimination in the case of, for example, poisoning or taking antibiotics. A viral disease can also provoke an increased formation of toxic substances. Therefore, for detoxification, ginger is suitable in this case. But against the virus itself, its active substances are powerless.
Do not go too far with ascorbic
Another popular way to prevent viral infections is to take vitamins, especially ascorbic acid. However, vitamins should be drunk wisely. For example, in the case of ascorbic acid, the dosage must be strictly observed. Vitamin C is involved in the synthesis of interferons. These are protective proteins, which are the first barrier to infection in our body. Interferons are produced on the mucous membranes of the nose, mouth and respiratory tract. Without the participation of vitamin C, hormones and enzymes involved in immune responses are not produced in the body. However, large doses of vitamin C taken as a preventative measure can increase capillary permeability and increase any inflammation. Therefore, vitamin C in high doses is prescribed in a short course and only at the discretion of the doctor. For the prevention of viral infections using standard dosages of ascorbic acid – 100 mg per day. It is quite possible to get enough vitamin C with food. To do this, include in your diet greens, citrus fruits, dark berries (you can frozen). The latter also contain rutosides and polyphenols, which will improve the absorption of vitamin C.
As for complex vitamins and dietary supplements, they can certainly benefit the body, especially after a long winter, however, as antiviral protection, “drugs against everything” will help little. Often in such preparations include components that are poorly absorbed with each other. For example, B vitamins: B₁, B₁₂, and B₆ mutually reduce one another’s absorption. They should be taken separately. To strengthen antiviral defense, it is good to use iron, zinc, folic acid, vitamin C, dihydroquercetin together (a substance that “drags” zinc into the cell, where it realizes its antiviral function). In a separate meal, you can take the supplement Omega-3, vitamins of group B.
Meat against complications
During the epidemic, it is especially important that there is enough protein in the diet. This is due to the fact that proteins are the main building material for all cells and active substances of our body. Cells of the immune system, hormones and enzymes that take part in immune reactions and detoxification are also built from it. Another important point – it is from the protein that hemoglobin is made, which carries oxygen to all organs and tissues. And as you know, it is hypoxia that causes complications after a number of viral infections, including after coronavirus.
In addition to proteins during the epidemic, your diet should contain omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are found in both plant and animal products. But, since Omega-6 is in many products, as a rule, we use it in abundance. And when this acid is too much, problems begin in the body – blood vessels narrow, blood thickens, and immunity decreases. Most of all, Omega-6 is found in sunflower oil, use it no more than 1 tsp. in a day.
Omega-3 fatty acids are divided into three types: alpha-linolenic (found in flax seeds and linseed oil), eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic (found in oily sea fish). It is Omega-3 fatty acids that will relieve inflammation in the body, as well as regulate the severity of the cytokine storm – a state of excessive activation of the immune system in response to a meeting with the virus. This condition is the cause of the severe course of many viral infections, including COVID-19.
But sweets for the duration of the epidemic is better to completely eliminate. Excess simple sugars in the diet contribute to the development of insulin resistance. This condition is almost always associated with an increase in systemic inflammation in the body. The latter greatly wears out the immune system. And when it becomes necessary to collect all the resources and direct them to fight the viral infection, they are simply not enough. In addition, an excess of glucose in the blood reacts with proteins, oxidizing them. This process is called glycation. Glycated proteins cannot fully perform their functions. This also applies to hemoglobin, which carries oxygen, as well as hormones and enzymes that are involved in immune reactions.
Top 5 Immune Products
During a pandemic, your table must have :
- Liver. Record holder for the content of heme iron, which is involved in the synthesis of hemoglobin. It is important for the prevention of cellular hypoxia, which is the main reason for the development of complications after viral infections.
- Fish. Contains phospholipids. They enter the surfactant lining the alveoli of the lungs. Its composition is important for maintaining their health and normal function. Plus phospholipids reduce inflammation in the body. It is also an excellent source of easily digestible protein.
- Greenery. An excellent source of antioxidants and fiber. The former are important for protecting immune cells from free radicals, the latter is the main food for the intestinal microflora, which provides up to 60% of the immune defense in our body.
- Berries Especially dark shades. An excellent source of antioxidants, which in combination with polyphenols are absorbed much better.
- Spices such as garlic, thyme, curry, turmeric, red onion. They contain various substances that stimulate the formation of immune cells.
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