Preparing Our Immune Systems

By March 21, 2020 March 30th, 2020 COVID-19 (Coronavirus), Editors' Choice
Preparing Our Immune Systems

By Sister Dr. Patrice —

As one of the health care professionals in the Nation of Islam for 26 years (Alhamdulilah!), I would like to offer a few recommendations to my family at this time. I’m pretty sure that everyone is spiritually, mentally and emotionally prepared for this time because of the overwhelming information and reminders that we’ve been given for more than 60 years! Therefore, I’d like to offer recommendations and words of encouragement as it relates more directly to things we can do physically to be prepared during the anticipated quarantine within our homes.

As the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has already sent forth his guidance and instructions on how to condition our homes in preparation for the anticipated quarantine, I would like to expound on a few simple nutrition and wellness aspects that could play an important role on the health and survival of our families and communities.

Optimism

Let’s first start with the power of the mind. Book of Proverbs, chapter 23, verse 7: “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”. “Optimism” strengthens the immune system.

In a study of about 125 first-year law students, researchers examined the relationship between personal optimism and cell-mediated immunity (CMI), which plays a central role in protecting you against “viral infections”. The end-of-year results were decisive. Changes in CMI across time correlated with changes in optimism. When optimism increased, so did CMI. When optimism decreased, so did CMI. This concept is extremely important. Since thought travels at 24 billion miles per second, we can increase our cell-medicated immunity in less than ONE second flat! So, let us have overwhelming optimism now and in the days ahead. If you’re running a little low on optimism, Allah is closer to you than your own jugular vein! Just pray and watch HIS works instantaneously!

Hydration and nutrition recommendations

Water

Drinking adequate water is vital for flushing food through your system, flushing toxins and keeping your body hydrated. Being adequately hydrated will regulate body temperature, assist with weight loss and other systemic (body) functions.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A boosts immunity, lowers your risk of infection and supports wound healing through collagen strength, (collagen helps improve skin health by reducing wrinkles and dryness, and helps increase muscle mass, prevent bone loss, and relieve joint pain). Food sources: carrots, squash, dark leafy greens, cantaloupe, wild-caught Alaskan salmon, and pastured eggs.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C supports your immune response to infection, helps repair tissue and rebuild collagen. Vitamin C also reduces damage from inflammation and oxidation (results in production of free radicals, which are unstable molecules that causes damage to fatty tissue, DNA and proteins in your body). Vitamin C rich foods include citrus fruits, from tangerines to limes, along with leafy greens, bell peppers and broccoli. Berries are another great source.

Vitamin B

Vitamin B complex is a germ-combating vitamin complex that naturally boosts and strengthens your immune system, and even protects against the damaging effects of air pollution. Vitamin B complex also protects the brain and spinal cord, boosts energy levels, assists with mental clarity, helps prevent infections and promote growth of red blood cells. Food sources: dark leafy greens, raw milk, cheese and yogurt from grass-fed cows, wild-caught cold water fish (salmon, herring, sardines) and pastured chicken.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D plays a major role in overall immunity by strengthening the function of the immune system, and is also essential in prevention and treatment of influenza and upper respiratory infections. Vitamin D can be found in limited quantities in raw milk (from grass fed cows), wild-caught Alaskan salmon and pastured eggs, but the ideal way to optimize your levels is by getting direct sunlight.

Quercetin

Quercetin is a powerful immune booster, broad-spectrum antiviral and inhibits the release of specialized inflammatory cells of the immune system, which can contribute to the progression of symptoms, multi-organ failure and eventually death if not suppressed. Food sources: leafy vegetables, broccoli, red onions, peppers, apples, grapes, black tea, and green tea.

Selenium

Selenium is a mineral, which has powerful antioxidant properties for immune system protection, found in bananas, brown rice, cottage cheese, eggs, lentils, milk and yogurt, oatmeal, sunflower seeds, spinach, chicken and turkey.

Zinc

Zinc is a protectant antioxidant (removes potentially damaging oxidizing agents in a living organism), which helps create and activate your immune system’s white blood cells and is essential in the enzymatic reactions needed for wound healing. Zinc-containing foods include spinach, pumpkin seeds and pastured chicken.

Things to avoid

Lastly, there are several ways you can help protect your immune system by avoiding harmful substances and lifestyles that will reduce the effectiveness of the body’s immune response to any pathogen that invades the body.

Sugar

To keep your immune system functioning at its best, one of the most effective strategies is to avoid sugar, pure and simple. Sugar has become a daily habit that happens to coincide with weakened immune response, increasing rates of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, CANCER and other chronic illnesses. One of the most insidious ways sugar works in your body is to damage both mitochondrial function and energy production, which triggers cell mutations that are then fed by continued sugar consumption. Break the cycle and save your health. Recent research demonstrates cancer cells use sugar as their primary fuel.

Processed Foods

Avoid processed foods as they make you vulnerable to developing chronic conditions, which severely weaken your immune response to infection.

Obesity

Avoid obesity, as it can affect the ability of white blood cells to multiply, produce antibodies and prevent inflammation.

Unnecessary Medications

Avoid taking unnecessary medications, as even nonprescription drugs, antibiotics, and cold and fever fighting medications may weaken your immune system.

Inadequate Sleep

Studies show that not getting the sleep you need, between six to eight hours on average based on individual functioning, can compromise your health in ways you may not have considered. In fact, several nights in a row with less than restful, adequate sleep puts your body at greater risk for illness. Some of the ways lack of sleep manifests itself in disease include: rapid decline in immune function (leaving your system wide-open for environmental influences, including viruses like colds and flu); increased cardiovascular disease, especially for blacks; Diabetes, which is true even for children; and increased risk of obesity, etc.

Another study notes that cutting just one hour of sleep a night increases the expression of genes associated with inflammation, immune excitability (which can lead to auto-immune disease), cancer risk and stress. Furthermore, chronic stress can make you more susceptible to colds and the flu, as well as more serious health problems like heart disease, diabetes and other diseases. By practicing stress-reducing activities like PRAYER, yoga, meditation and laughter, you can keep your body from going into chronic stress mode.

IBW21

About IBW21

IBW21 (The Institute of the Black World 21st Century) is committed to building the capacity of Black communities in the U.S. to work for the social, political, economic and cultural upliftment, the development of the global Black community and an enhanced quality of life for all marginalized people.