Viruses and other pathogens can attack us more easily when the immune system is weakened. But the body’s defenses can be strengthened with simple measures. We give tips on how to strengthen your immune system during the corona pandemic.
The fact that the virus particularly attacks people with previous illnesses and a weakened immune system shows how important an intact immune system is. A healthy diet and the like do not necessarily prevent you from becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2. However, the measures help to stay as healthy and defensive as possible in times of Covid-19. Because if the body’s defenses are weakened, it is easier for pathogens – regardless of their type – to do so. We have collected advice on how to strengthen the body and soul in the corona crisis.
Balanced nutrition for a strong immune system
A healthy diet with sufficient vitamins and minerals has been shown to help arm the immune system against attacks by pathogens. Please note the following for a healthy diet:
Plenty of vegetables and fruit: The German Nutrition Society (DGE) recommends at least three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit a day. This corresponds to around 400 grams of vegetables per day (around 200 grams of cooked vegetables and 200 grams of raw vegetables or salad) and around 250 grams of fruit. Ideally, you buy regional goods and prepare them fresh and vitamin-friendly.
Vitamins A, vitamin B1, B6 and B12, vitamin C, vitamin D and E, folic acid and niacin as well as the minerals zinc, selenium, iron and copper are important for the immune system.
The following foods contain many of these important micronutrients: Legumes such as lentils and beans, broccoli, dark berries, garlic, nuts, red peppers, citrus fruits. In addition, foods like ginger, oregano, and onions are thought to be helpful in improving lung function because their essential oils help loosen phlegm.
Salt and sugar: you should use both sparingly. It is better to season your dishes with herbs and spices than with plenty of salt and flavor enhancers.
Whole grain instead of white flour products: Choose the whole grain variant for cereal products such as bread, pasta, rice and flour.
Plenty of fluids: The DGE recommends around 1.5 liters of water a day. More may be needed in extreme heat or when exercising. Water and unsweetened herbal and fruit teas are ideal.
Animal foods in moderation: The DGE recommends: Eat milk and dairy products such as yoghurt and cheese daily, fish once or twice a week. Do not eat more than 300 to 600 grams of meat per week.
Dietary supplements: Claims are currently circulating online that certain dietary supplements protect against corona. Reliable sources see no evidence for this. The North Rhine-Westphalia consumer center recently warned: There are no dietary supplements that can prevent illness with the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). You should only use dietary supplements if there is evidence of a deficiency in certain nutrients.
Sunlight for the body’s defenses
With regard to the new corona virus, sunlight has been shown to have a specific effect: It dries out the virus quickly, for example when the pathogen is on surfaces.
But sunlight also plays an important role in the human immune system. Because it promotes the body’s own production of vitamin D in the skin. According to experts, short stays such as walks in the fresh air with 15 to 25 minutes of sun exposure per day are sufficient to produce enough vitamin D through the skin. In strong sunlight, however, you should make sure that you only spend a limited amount of time in the sun, preferably in the morning or in the afternoon.
Insufficient sleep weakens the immune system
Many people don’t get enough sleep. But right now you should make sure you get enough sleep, because it promotes the work of certain defense cells, the T cells. These attach to infected body cells and destroy them. Conversely, lack of sleep can weaken the immune system.