Ever since the Covid-19 pandemic engulfed the world, people across the globe have become highly conscious about developing a strong immunity system and the type of food they should eat to keep viruses at bay. This is indeed a good behavioural change that will help us maintain overall fitness and achieve holistic health goals.
But limited access to dieticians, lack of correct information and overly grandiose health advice coming from all sides fuel misinformation and myths. As a result many of us fall prey to different food items/supplements promising protection. It is essential and commendable to be cautious about boosting your immune system but following the wrong piece of advice may worsen your health further. Your ability to differentiate facts from fiction will help you make the right choice.
Myth 1: Increased intake of Vitamin C boosts your immune system
It is a fact that Vitamin C enhances the body’s power to fight diseases. But an overdose is not beneficial at all. For adults, 19 years or above, the healthy upper limit of Vitamin C intake is 2000 mg per day. Your body cannot digest Vitamin C over this limit; you’ll simply end up urinating more as your body flushes out the extra amount.
If it remains in the body, it may cause gastro-intestinal problems, including diarrhoea, nausea, abdominal cramps and vomitting. To avoid the risks associated with overdose, you must stick to what your healthcare provider recommends to you. If you have a healthy body, then you should be able to meet your vitamin C quota from dietary sources.
Myth 2: Superfoods are a cure-all
People have unrealistic expectations from superfoods. They consider them a cure for all health complications. Eating healthy is more important for your immune system than eating superfoods. Including a variety of colourful foods in your diet plan will help your body get the required nutrients to fight harmful elements and maintain overall health. You should focus on a balanced diet containing different vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, carbohydrates and other nutrients. Remember that superfoods are more like sales pitches and may blind people to equally nutritious options. Build variety in your diet.
Myth 3: Citrus fruits are the only immunity booster foods
It is true that citrus fruits, like lemons, oranges, and grapefruits, are powerhouses of Vitamin C, an essential nutrient to boost immunity. But, it’s a myth that they are the only foods that can support the immune system.
There are many food items available that can help you boost your immunity significantly. For instance, red pepper, garlic and carrot contain compounds that help you improve your immunity. You can find many more such food items.
Myth 4: Intake of nutrients is enough to boost immunity
A nutrient-rich diet is indeed a great way to improve the body’s immunity. But the effectiveness largely depends on your lifestyle. If you don’t get adequate sleep, your immune system becomes weak due to tiredness, stress and inflammation in different body parts. An adult needs to sleep around seven to eight hours every day to improve immunity.
Similarly, smoking and drinking habits hinder the functioning of your immune system. You need to curtail their consumption while maintaining the regular intake of a nutrient-rich diet. You should be cautious about your lifestyle and adopt healthy living habits such as adequate sleep, limiting stress, regular exercise, curtailing alcohol consumption and so on.
Myth 5: Immune-boosting supplements are good for everyone
Supplements are beneficial only in case your diet is poor. Even then, they cannot be recommended for everyone. Some people with certain health conditions require a personalised plan. You should consult a qualified dietician to understand what special supplements, if any, you require.
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