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  • Dr Nilda Negretti

Four tips to boost your immune system in times of COVID-19. Tip 1

Updated: Dec 25, 2020



Our immune system is essential for our survival. Without a functioning immune system, our bodies would be left vulnerable to bacteria, viruses, parasites, and more. It is our immune system that keeps us healthy and prevents us from getting infections. This complex system is spread throughout our body and comprises a vast network of cells, organs, proteins and tissues that are constantly on the lookout for invaders.


In the current times of COVID-19, it is of vital importance to have a strong immune so that we can respond to external pathogens, which may weaken our immune system and make us more susceptible to infection. If we are to feel healthy, strong, energetic, and live a robust, healthy life, it is necessary to strengthen our immune system.


Some of the questions that can guide us in determining whether our immune system is weak are:

· Do I have digestive problems?

· Am I under constant stress?

· Am I always feeling cold?

· Do I have frequent infections?

· Do I feel frequently tired?

· Do I have slow wound heal time?

If the answer is yes to 4 of these questions, we may need to pay particular attention to our immune system in order to make it more robust.


To enhance immunity is necessary to have a holistic approach, not only to look at the digestive system, where 70 % of immune system is found, but also to the emotional environment and the lifestyle we have, which may alter the integrity of the immune system.


I will give you some of my best tips to boost your immune system, so that you can feel stronger, and healthier at this difficult time when we are experiencing the pandemic. I will deliver the tips in three parts in three different articles, starting with tip 1:


Tip 1

Enhance your gut’s microbiota balance and eat foods that boost your immunity. Our gut is a barrier to the outside world and is in direct contact with the food we eat and the bacteria we are exposed to on a daily basis. The gut is responsible for the absorption of all of the nutrients from our diet which are what we rely on to fuel all of our body’s processes. We depend on our gut to not only to keep us nourished, but also to remain healthy and free from infections.

The gut houses a colony of microbes that are known as the gut microbiota, which communicate with our human cells and have the ability to shift our mood, hormones, alter our immune system and so much more. Since the balance of bacteria in our gut influences the balance of our immune system, an unbalanced bacterial flora can shift the immune system to an increased inflammatory state with a so-called "leaky gut". This inflammatory state may subsequently, affect other body systems and increase the risk of obesity, type 1 and type 2 diabetes and even depression. The immune system produces immunoglobulin which helps to regulate the bacteria in the intestines (sIgA) and one of the roles of sIgA is to reduce the overgrowth of bacteria. If your immune system is not functioning properly then you might not be producing enough sIgA for optimal gut health.


Given that there is an inter dependent relationship within the gut microbiota and the immune system, it is important to keep them balanced by eating foods rich in probiotics (live microorganisms that improve or restore gut flora), prebiotics (specialized plant fibre that acts as food for the good bacteria) and in elements that stimulate the immunity.

It is important to eat foods rich in probiotics, which are found in fermented food like kimchi, unpasteurised miso, kefir and yogurt and try to have at least one serving per day.

It is important also to eat foods rich in prebiotics like chicory roots, garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, bananas, barley, oats, apples, dandelion roots, cocoa powder, etc.

In addition, try to include in your diet foods that lift your immune system like berries, ginger, garlic, mushrooms, oily fish, turmeric, fruits, vegetables rich in vitamin C and Beta-carotene (lime, oranges, Guava, kiwi, nectarines, peppers, broccoli, kale, spinach, cilantro, sweet potatoes, carrots, watermelon, etc.).


Look up the next article about immunity for Tip 2:

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