This is a guest blog post by Belinda Njonguo.
The other day at a hair salon, apart from the normal gossip that goes on, I overhead a woman (let’s call her Amanda) trying to sell some sort of supplements to another lady (let’s call her Lucy). By then coronavirus was just something we heard on the news and had not yet become an issue in Cameroon. So the conversation went something like this:
‘40,000 XAF for this supplement, my sister I di tell you, ei di work, ei go boost ya system and you noh go get coro. I di tell you, diabetes and cancer patients dem too di takeam na so they dey strong. 40,000 XAF for 14 tablets, one everyday.’
Just like Lucy, I did a rapid calculation in my head….that amounted to 80,000 XAF a month!!! I could hear myself screaming in my head. Well I continued silently eavesdropping to see how the conversation will end.
Lucy gave the typical Cameroonian response to Amanda ‘ok, I go see then I come’. As soon as Amanda (who had also come to do her hair) left, the Lucy confessed it was too expensive for her but she was however concerned about boosting her immune system. Lucy then scrolls in her whatsapp for different recipes she received about boosting her immune system.
The good news is that you do not need 80,000 XAF a month to boost your immune system. With as little as a supplementary 5,000- 10,000 XAF you can boost your immune system.
Taking care of ourselves is now more important than ever
But first, what is the immune system?
The immune system is the body’s self-defense system against infections.
Sometimes this defense system can get weak because of some reasons like poor nutrition or health. A weakened immune system puts you at more risks of getting sick.
So how can we help boost our body’s defense system? Here are 10 budget-friendly ways you can boost your immune system. (You can scroll down for the summary)
1. Fruits and Veggies
You might be thinking fruits nedi flop belle (do not fill the stomach) or rather what will a simple portion or slice of this leafy and colorful foods do for me. But the old saying ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ is not far-fetched. This foods when added to our meals supplies your body withnutrients such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help in the fight against viruses and bacteria which help in preventing infections and help clean the system.
Not only is eating this foods important but eating in the right portion and combinations. Dietitians say eating five a day is good enough to get the protective benefits of fruit and veg – although eating more may be additionally beneficial. Raw fruits and vegetables are usually healthier than when cooked as this destroys some of its nutrient content.
Also try varying the types of fruits and veggies you eat. Some examples of fruits and vegetables are; oranges, pawpaw, apples, celery, huckleberry, carrots just to name a few. For more about a healthy plate, click here
2. Herbs and Spices
Not only do herbs and spices play a perfect role in garnishing our meal but they also helps in giving our immune systems the boost it requires. We have garlics, ginger which can be added to honey, turmeric, black and green tea, to name a few.
- Garlic haven proven to be a great reliever from stress, and helping our body cells to fight against various viruses, common cold and catarrh.
- Ginger has qualities in improving blood flow, help prevent shivering, fever. It also helps in reducing pain, fighting of germs and giving us the million dollar smile which can improve confidence.
3. Get Active
Physical exercises not only gives us the hour glass figure or 6-pack we desire but also keeps us in good health than by strengthening our heart muscles, increasing our productivity level , keeping us in better moods and even helping people cope with depression.
Some indoor sports one can do are, squats, jumping rope, push-ups and bench press etc. For more on taking care of your heart click here
4. Get Enough Sleep
It will be shocking for most to know what a good night’s sleep can do for you , not only help with clearing off some eye bags as a beauty factor but giving a boost to T Cells[ they are found in our body to help fight against infection].
Investing into ones sleep “resources” like a good and cozy pj, a clean bed sheet and a comfortable mattress can contribute greatly to improving the quality of your sleep. It is recommended for an adult to get 6 to 8 hours of sleep and infant to get 12 to 15 hours of sleep.
5. Staying hydrated
Not only is water a good tool during weight loss programs but its use has a great impact on our immune system. It is recommended to drink 1.5-2L (approx. eight 8 glasses) of water per day. Not getting enough water has noticeable effect like body temperature control, reduced motivation, increased fatigue, headaches, constipation and kidney stones.
If drinking plain water may be boring to you there are always alternatives like lime water, eating water rich fruits like water melon, or sipping little quantities all through the day.
6. Reduce Stress
How can one not feel stressed with all the news, the uncertainties and fear? But stressing will only make things worse because easy put, stress stresses the immune system.
Some easy ways of reducing this stress levels are; listening to soothing music, laughter plays one of the greatest effect as it relieves you of all forms of stress, spend time with friends and family, reduce caffeine intake, even getting a journal to write what you’re grateful for.
7. Regular Check-up
Most chronic disease come with a big blow to the immune system(like HIV, cancer, Diabetes, hypertension just to name a few) and living with a chronic disease is usually not an easy journey for most, but with regular check-up and proper effective medication your immune system will be up and running.
With the change in routine, some routine check-ups may have been cancelled and with the stay at home policy, you may have a hard time getting your medication or always skipping doses.
Here are some quick tips:
- Keep an ample supply of your medication so you never run out
- Never skip doses. Try using reminders (e.g. your phone alarm, family and friends)
- Ask your health care provider how things will go forward from here with the given stay at home policy. Maybe checkups could continue by phone.
- Connect with your family and friends even by phone calls to be keep your emotional health in check.
8. Be up to date on your vaccinations:
The importance of vaccines can’t be overstated. They help the body to detect specific germs and provide defense. So if there be any money to be spent, skip the supplements, get vaccinated and get booster shots when necessary.
9.Stay substance/drug free
Most drugs (with potential) of abuse contribute to weakening the immune system. So it goes without saying that staying drug free will boost your defense system.
The risk to the immune system is not necessarily from drugs or alcohol, but from the toll they take on the body. Many substances cause dehydration, mental or physical fatigue, and lack of food or sleep, which can result in a weakened immune system. When the immune system is down, it is at heightened risk for invasion of disease and infection – Addiction campuses
This implies drinking alcoholic beverages (if you cannot do without) within the low risk-limits (see recommendations beside), no tobacco (shisha included), and no to all illegal drugs like heroin.
know quitting may not come easy to you and we are here to help. Write to us and we will be glad to help you in this journey.
Here are some quick tips of what else you can do during this period.
10. Supplements [Optional]
Most nutrients we need can be gotten if we eat a healthy balanced diet (good news right?). However in some case a doctor might recommend you take some supplements, for example where you do not have access to fruits and veggies or your body is unable to produce (or needs more of) some vitamins/minerals, you may have to take some supplements to compensate.
Supplements can be bought without a doctor’s prescription at a pharmacy (not at a hair salon like Lucy). Also read drug labels and talk with your healthcare provider to be sure what you are taking is appropriate to you.
Some vitamin supplements that help boost immune system include vitamin C (found in citrus fruits like oranges, lime) vitamin B6 (found in green vegetables), vitamin E (found in nuts), vitamin D.
Again the best way is to get such nutrients from your diet, why? Most supplements come with some unwanted side effects.
Your money might be better spent elsewhere!
There you go, 10 budget friendly ways to boost your immune system.
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