The immune system plays a crucial role in a healthy existence. When you have strong immunity, your body can quickly and effectively fight those infections, pathogens, or disease-causing organisms. Although, there is no blueprint way to increase immunity but there are lifestyle strategies that will help to improve or boost your immunity.
This article discusses various easy and doable lifestyle adjustments that would definitely aid to improve your immunity.
Why is your Immunity Important?
The first line of defense when your body encounters any pathogen is the physical and chemical barriers like skin, mucus, tears, stomach acid. If the pathogen passes the first line of defense, we have a second line. The second line of the defense comprises of phagocytic lymphocytes that engulf the foreign body and inflammatory responses like a fever.
But what if the pathogen defies both the defense lines? What does our body do then? Well, we are equipped with a third and much stronger line of defense called immunity. This includes antibodies, Helper T cells, and Memory B cells. Moreover, these not only fight the pathogen but also keep storage of those antibodies which are memorized in B cells. Hence, if in the future, the body encounters that pathogen, the body will automatically defy it before it starts to show symptoms, thereby conferring long-term immunity.
Therefore, we can safely conclude that the immune system plays a vital role in our existence. So, let’s dive into learning several strategies to increase immunity a bit notch!
1. Physical Exercise Improves Immunity
It is a scientifically proven fact that physical exercise readily increases immunity. However, rigorous and intense workout sessions may suppress the immune system.
So, curate a well-structured workout plan that works for your body and take a day or two off to relax your body.
Read a detailed article on workout here.
2. Get plenty of good sleep
Sleep and immunity work together. While sleeping, the body works to regulate the metabolic processes, fights germs, and keeps the body healthy. This is why it is essential for adults to have at least 7-8 hours of sleep. Infants should get 13-14 hours of sleep.
Research shows that people who have a regular, well-maintained sleep cycle, their body is less prone to diseases as their bodily functions are working smoothly which consequently makes the immune system stronger.
Also, maintain sleep hygiene by limiting screen time before bed, sleeping in a dark room, going to bed at the same time every night, and meditating before sleep.
3. Check your diet
In order to have a good immune system, the prime requirement is a nutrient-rich and nourishing diet. This is because malnutrition and deficiencies cause the immunity to weaken and hampers its pathways.
Incorporating specific foods in your diet can help increase immunity. Let’s check them out.
Foods that Boost Immunity
Citrus rich fruits are infused with Vitamin C which is said to increase the production of white blood cells that fights infections. Popular citrus fruits are listed here:
Green Leafy Vegetables
Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage, and others are a rich source of vitamins and minerals. In addition to this, they provide the body with the required nutrients and fibre that boost the immune responses.
Turmeric and Ginger
Ginger has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties while turmeric has active an ingredient called curcumin that improves immunity. They certainly increase the body’s ability to fight infections. These ingredients form the pillars of ancient medicine and are highly beneficial for the body.
Dark chocolate contains an antioxidant called theobromine and phenolic compounds that help in improving the immune system.
Research shows that dark chocolate boosts immunity by activating T cells which are white blood cells that enable the body to fight diseases.
Juices and Smoothies
Juices and smoothies are a blend of different fruits and vegetables of your choice. You can even add herbs and dry fruits to it as well. These deliver you a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins, and essential chemical compounds that increases immunity.
Time needed: 10 minutes.
A Step by Step Process of Immunity Booster Smoothie Recipe
Firstly, start by collecting ingredients. You will need: (Quantity accordingly)
-Unroasted Flax Seeds
- Peel and Grind
Peel the fruits and put all the ingredients in the mixer grinder.
Your immunity booster smoothie is ready!
Yogurt is rich in probiotics and vitamins like B2, B12, and vitamin D. Yogurt is also rich in minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium that is responsible for healthy bones. It has certain beneficial enzymes called ß-D-galactosidase that help to digest lactose present in dairy products.
Yogurts that are labeled with ‘live and active cultures’ are proved to be more beneficial than the pasteurized packs. Avoid consuming unsweetened and non-flavored yogurts as they are loaded with sugar. You can add honey to sweeten it. You can also mix your yogurt with different fruits and cereals to add natural flavors.
4. Meditation Improves immunity
Scientists are working to establish the interconnection between meditation and healthy living that influences immunity. It is a proven fact that even ten minutes of meditation subsequently helps to lower anxiety, blood pressure, and regulate the heart rhythm.
In addition to this, meditating also helps to reduce stress which is one of the major causes of diseases. Read more about the various merits of meditation here.
Therefore, there is no harm in inculcating this habit into your lifestyle which will help to improve overall health and boost immunity.
5. Herbs and Supplements That Helps to Boost Immunity
It is essential to take in enough micro-nutrients that are vitamins. Vitamins are proven to boost immunity and its responses. You can consume multivitamin supplements after consultation with your doctor.
Herbs that aid in improving the immune system are:
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Flax Seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
6. Minimize stress levels
Long-term stress and too much stress causes imbalances in the immunity function. It puts unnecessary strain on the cardiovascular and also respiratory system.
Therefore, indulge in activities that keep a check on stress levels. Some of them are meditation, journaling, yoga, talking to a friend, and other mindfulness techniques.
7. Stay Hydrated
It is an age-old saying that water cures everything. Dehydration leads to dizziness, rapid breathing, headaches, overall weakness that makes the body prone to illness.
Hence, as a general health guideline, it is very necessary to consume 2-3 litres of water every day to help the body achieve it’s highest state of health and overall improve the immune system.
8. Stepping Out In Sun Improves Immunity
Sunlight is a major source of Vitamin D. Stepping out in natural light for 10-15 minutes contributes to the body’s dose of Vitamin D. Also, it is responsible for strengthening the bones and increasing immunity by producing antibodies.
9. Quit Smoking
Cigarette smoking releases various toxins like nicotine, carbon monoxide, cadmium, nitrogen oxides into the body that not only develops the chances of causing cancer but also compromises the immune system.
Similarly, smoking interferes with the body’s efficiency to develop immune cells and weakens the body’s defense mechanisms.
10. Keep alcohol consumption moderate
Excessive alcohol consumption weakens the immune system. Studies suggest that too much alcohol intake tampers the body’s ability to fight infections and slows down recovery, as a result, reduces the body’s immune responses.
So, to avoid these unwanted problems, it is highly suggested to monitor your alcohol consumption and keep it to a certain limit.
Get all your answers about alcohol and health here.
Editor’s Note | Ways to Improve Immunity
COVID-19, a disease that predominantly affects various major systems of the body, thereby weakening the immune system in severe cases, has become a major cause of concern amongst the masses.
Scientists say, having a strong immune system may help you recover from the virus in its initial stage itself if you get infected. Therefore, to sum up, the least we can do in these uncertain times is to try to improve our immune system using these easy lifestyle changes and reduce the chances for this virus to become fatal.