Nutrition crucial in immune system management

A nutritionist and the manager, Nestlé Nutrition Institute, Central and West Africa, Dr Chioma Emma-Nwachukwu, has said that although eating certain foods or diets will not protect against coronavirus, they can ensure an improved immune system to fight off the infection.

Dr Emma-Nwachukwu made the recommendation at a virtual workshop on the theme: ‘Advancing Nutrition, Health and Wellness (NHW) Through the Media.’

Nestle in collaboration with Lagos Business School (LBS) organised the online programme for health journalists in Nigeria.

Emma-Nwachukwu said that when the immune system becomes low, such an individual would become vulnerable to infections and diseases such as COVID-19.

According to her, the immune system is like police checkpoints in the body, and it is constantly working to protect the body from infection, injury and disease.

She declared that with constant stress and fear due to the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the body immunity can become low. Such an individual would become vulnerable to infections and diseases such as COVID-19.

“When one is stressed and in constant fear, especially during this pandemic, the body releases a hormone known as Cortisol which reduces inflammation and white blood cells thereby compromising the immune system.

“The challenge of fear is taking more toll on individuals than the COVID-19 itself, and we need to watch it by practising positive stress management and taking care of our nutritional status,” the nutritionist said.

Emma-Nwachukwu said that nutrition has an important role in supporting the immune system and maintaining proper immune function to fight infections and disease such as COVID-19.

“Improving our immunity is the best way to be healthy. We can achieve this by eating right, especially vegetables and fruits, exercising regularly, maintaining personal hygiene and healthy weight and hydration.

“In this time of the pandemic, we must evolve, learn and adapt to choose a healthy lifestyle to survive,” she said.

Emma-Nwachukwu while giving an outline on how to boost the immune system declared: “Choose a healthy lifestyle – eat right, exercise regularly, maintain personal hygiene, practise positive stress management, maintain healthy hydration, maintain healthy weight and planned diet.”

She reviewed Nigeria’s national policy efforts on nutrition, health and wellness, and, therefore, advocated that it is important for the country to strengthen its strategy and ensure nutrition security for all ages.



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