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COVID-19 fear, stress can reduce immunity –Nutritionist

A Nutritionist, Dr. Chioma Emma-Nwachukwu, says constant stress and fear due to the novel COVID-19 pandemic can reduce and work against an individual’s immune system.

Emma-Nwachukwu, also the Manager, Nestlé Nutrition Institute, Central and West Africa, said on Thursday that when the immune system becomes low, such an individual would become vulnerable to infections and diseases such as COVID-19 pandemic.

She spoke at an online training programme tagged: “Advancing Nutrition, Health and Wellness Through the Media.”

Emma-Nwachukwu said that immune system consisted of various organs, tissues and cells located in various parts of the body.

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.

“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 pandemic 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 had 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.

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