Updated: Feb 28, 2020
When we come into contact with a virus molecule, it can enter our body in various ways, either through our lungs, our mouths or even through our eyes.
Our body has various types of defence against these viruses, and our first line of defence happens to reside in our mucus, also known as Secretory Immunoglobulin A (sIgA).
What we can do to increase the production of these molecules includes having a balanced microbiome (the bacteria kingdom that lives within us and supports our health) and to keep our mucous layer strong.
Foods to support our first line of defence
Consuming whole-foods high in soluble fibre such as rolled oats, beans, lentils, soy products (tempeh, tofu, edamame), cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, turnips and radish serve as useful nutrients that feed the bacteria to support our mucosal immunity.
Another way to support a healthy microbiome and mucus immune system is to eat foods high in resistant starch such as unripe bananas, green papaya, cooled potatoes and cooled brown rice. (It has to be cooled for the chemical change to resistant starch).
Our immune system is also made from protein building blocks known as amino acids.
In our stressful modern busy lifestyle, our ability to properly digest and absorb protein is reduced, resulting in a depletion of these immune building blocks. It is well-known that individuals that are protein deficient have a weak immune system.
This is why old remedies like chicken broth soup cooked with vegetables and herbs are used the world over for colds and cases of flu. The best way to support your immune system is to make bone broth with hormone-free chicken parts with its connective tissue. Boiling the soup for 24 hours with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, garlic, ginger, onion and carrots will provide the nutrients you need in an easily absorbable form.
Last but not least, we need to reduce our sources of stress that can wear out the nutrients we need for our immunity. While we may not be able to avoid that project deadline, there are other strategies to avoid stressing your body.
Get plenty of sleep, avoid over-exercising or not moving at all, and avoid alcohol and smoky places. Diet-wise, you should avoid processed foods, high-sugar foods and drinks, and deep-fried or foods cooked in high heat like BBQ meats.
And don’t forget to drink lots of water and get your daily dose of sunshine!
If you have any questions, feel free to comment below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Secretory IgA: Arresting Microbial Pathogens at Epithelial Borders
Secretory IgA's Complex Roles in Immunity and Mucosal Homeostasis in the Gut
The Effects of Secretory IgA in the Mucosal Immune System
The immune modifying effects of amino acids on gut-associated lymphoid tissue
Multi-Faceted Functions of Secretory IgA at Mucosal Surfaces