If you are healthy and feeling good today, then you should thank your immune system. It is your immune system that is working round-the-clock to protect you from harmful viruses and bacteria. A sedentary lifestyle, poor eating habits, and chronic stress may contribute to a weak immune system. Like other cells of your body, cells of the immune system require proper and adequate nutrition to work properly. A balanced diet combined with healthy lifestyle habits such as exercise, reducing stress and adequate sleep is of utmost importance to boost the immune system.
Does this question bother you too? Let’s get a clear understanding of the different ways to enhance body immunity and kick-start your way to good health.
Eating the right food is essential, as the saying goes, “you are what you eat.” Eating immunity-boosting nutrients as a part of a well-balanced diet is crucial for your health and wellness. The nutrients essential for the proper functioning of the immune system include vitamin A, B, C, D, E, iron, zinc, selenium, and proteins, etc.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are rich in micronutrients, whereas processed foods lack not only nutrients but are also harmful to your overall health. Healthy foods that you should try to include in your daily diet are:
Citrus fruits such as oranges, tangerines, and kiwifruits are rich in vitamin C
Root vegetables such as carrots are a good source of vitamin A
Seeds, avocados, and nuts are rich in vitamin E
Fruits, vegetables, and green tea are rich in antioxidants
Mushrooms, egg yolk, etc. are a good source of vitamin D
Yoghurt, pickles, and cheese are probiotics
Garlic contains Allicin which is a compound that increases T-cells in the body
Chicken, bananas and chickpeas are rich in vitamin B6
In addition to healthy food, it is also imperative to keep your body hydrated. So, drink plenty of water to boost your immune system because it helps in the formation of lymph - a fluid that carries white blood cells to fight infection-causing pathogens.
Fast and processed foods such as chips, cola, pizza, burgers, candies, and cookies are high in calories and do not contain vitamins and minerals. High sugar content in these beverages and processed foods may lead to a spike in blood sugar levels. Consumption of such foods is associated with the risk of obesity and other chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, liver diseases, etc.
Consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts, healthy fats, fish, etc. reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disorders.
Further, a diet that is rich in sugar may affect gut bacteria too. Bacteria present in your gut are important for a healthy immune system.
Physical activity plays a significant role in your overall well-being. Studies have shown that exercise stimulates the immune system and strengthens it.
Exercise helps in the better functioning of white blood cells (that fight with pathogens). You can practice these exercises to build immunity:
Brisk walking for 20 minutes
Play a game such as table tennis or golf
Going to a gym five days a week
Stress harms your immune system as well as your health. Stress can induce inflammation in the body that can lead to many diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, and depression.
Moreover, stress can affect your sleep and weaken the immune system. Practicing mindfulness can reduce anxiety and has a calming effect. Meditation lowers blood pressure and heart rate. You can reduce stress by indulging in one or more of these activities:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
Connect with your loved ones or friends
Pursuing art and other hobbies
Many herbs and supplements have antioxidant, antimicrobial, and immunomodulating properties and help boost the immune system. These are:
It is a well-known herb in Ayurveda that enhances memory and improves health. It activates the white blood cells and aids in the normal functioning of the immune system.
It has anti-inflammatory and healing properties. It also boosts the immune system. Curcumin present in turmeric helps in stabilising the immune system.
Amla is helpful in problems associated with the respiratory system. It is rich in vitamin C that increases the functioning of the immune system.
Tulsi is a natural immune system booster and helpful in respiratory disorders. It also helps in reducing stress and anxiety. Additionally, antioxidants present in Tulsi help the body detox.
This herb is rich in antioxidants and helps in improving immunity. It also fights disease-causing bacteria.
This herb is used to strengthen the immune system. It fights off many disease-causing pathogens.
These herbs and supplements can be consumed along with a balanced diet to get all the essential nutrients that help build immunity. However, these supplements should be used as adjunct nutrients and not as a primary source of nutrients. Further, you may contact your doctor or nutritionist regarding advice on the use of various herbs and supplements.
Amid the challenging times of the pandemic and beyond, a robust immune system will help you keep diseases at bay. While there is no ‘magic pill’ to boost your immune system, there are various ways to strengthen your immunity. Eating a balanced diet along with herbs and supplements, and regular exercise is of paramount importance. They activate the soldiers of your immune system to fight disease-causing microorganisms.
Further, a positive mindset is crucial for your overall well-being. Positive thoughts help in reducing stress and associated diseases. Try these ways to increase your immunity and also to take care of yourself and your loved ones. Furthermore, you must also keep a check on your body’s immunity. Finserv MARKETS helps you with just that. Just simply use the immunity score calculator and manage your health better. Health insurance is another aspect that helps manage your health better as you are covered for the medical expenses that could otherwise eat up your savings. Hence, it is important to make a wise decision.