The escalating fear over the deadly and debilitating effects of Ebola virus triggered a question on my mind: What about the 10 per cent of infected people who survive the attack of the virus? What makes them different from the helpless victims? The answer lies in how powerful our immune system is. And how protective it is against any external attack.
In the view of Derek Gatherer, a Bioinformatics researcher at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom, who studies viral genetics and evolution, “when a person becomes infected with Ebola, the virus depletes the body’s immune cells, which defend against infection.
“In particular, the Ebola virus depletes immune cells called CD4 and CD8 T lymphocytes, which are crucial to the function of the immune system”, Gatherer noted, arguing that “if a person’s immune system can stand up to this initial attack — meaning their immune cells are not as depleted in the first stages of infection — then they are more likely to survive the disease.
“The patients that survive it best are the ones who don’t get such a bad immune deficiency. But if the body is not able to fend off this attack, then the immune system becomes less able to regulate itself”, Gatherer said.
To understand these assertions consider your body as a country and the immune system as the soldiers, performing their constitutional responsibilities. If a country has a set of strong, well trained and equipped army, it would be difficult for foreign invaders to defeat it on the battle field. So also are our antibodies and the capacity to ward off disease-causing microorganisms called pathogens.
To understand this further, if two groups of people who live in the same environment; breath in contaminated air, water and food, the group that does not fall sick easily is made of people with high immunity.
You must have observed that there are some families in your environment whose members hardly get sick or go the hospital for frequent treatment. The answer lies in the wise choice of the food they eat regularly as well as their general lifestyle.
Foods That Boost Immunity:
It has been discovered by scientists that some foods are powerful in contributing to the body’s immunity. We need to know them, eat them regularly in this age when new diseases such as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and now Ebola virus have become prevalent.
Listed below are immune-boosting foods and their functions. Please note that i do not refer to them as foods that kill Ebola virus. No!
Eggs? Yes, eggs because they are packed full with useful amino acids, zinc and B-vitamins. Contrary to previous belief, scientists at Harvard University, United States, U.S. have proved with empirical evidence that eggs do not raise blood cholesterol levels.
Eggs also build white blood cells (wbc) and antibodies, which the body needs to fight off illnesses. Eat them boiled for maximum effect. An egg a day increases blood levels of lutein by 26% and zeaxanthin by 38% without raising cholesterol. Eggs may not contain as much lutein and zeaxanthin as we have them in the eye-friendly anti-oxidants present in dark green, leafy vegetables but are better able to absorb them according to nutritional bio-chemist, Elizabeth Johnson.
It contains pro-biotics that strengthen the body’s immune system. In one research, it was found that people who drink three-quarters of a cup of yoghurt daily for a year had 25 per cent fewer colds than those who didn’t.
3. Red ball pepper
One pepper contains a whopping 200mg or more of vitamin C (an orange provides 70mg). It helps in both the building and protection of body cells.
For centuries, the Chinese had used ginger as a cure-all for cold. Fresh ginger fights viruses by helping your body to sweat out toxins.
To enjoy it, peel it, chop to small pieces and add to shrimp mixed with vegetables that are stir-fried.
You don’t like the smell, do you? However, it is nature’s own anti-biotic. This is because it contains sulphur-based compounds that keep your body free of infection. Peel, crush it and mix with mashed potatoes.