It is needless to say that you want to stay healthy at every milestone in life.
Maybe you are a front-line worker involved in dealing with the current pandemic, a school going kid or maybe you are working from home. Everyone from the bottom line needs a high immunity level, not just for coping with the pandemic but in general.
The immune system defends the body against infection, germs, bacteria and most importantly viruses. Although our immune system works effectively most of the time, but sometimes it fails and we eventually become sick.
But are there ways through which we can boost our immune system and prevent illness? Let`s try to find out. But before that let`s brush up on the general idea of how the immune system works.
Cutting through the scientific jargon and in layman terms the immune system gets triggered when a foreign substance enters our body.
These foreign substances called as antigens are recognized by the immune system and simultaneously our white blood cells (lymphocytes) produce antibodies, called as immunoglobulins. These antibodies are some kinds of proteins which then attack the antigens. The antibodies remain in our bodies with a motive to fight off the same antigens if a need arises in the future.
For this reason a person once infected with chickenpox usually doesn’t get sick from it again. Even vaccines which are administered for combating a particular disease stimulate on the same principle as that of our immune system.
Humans have been fortunate enough to have three types of immunity which gets developed in different circumstances. These are Innate, Adaptive and Passive Immunity. Innate Immunity is the natural form of immunity which one gets by birth, like the skin which acts as a barrier blocking germs from entering the body.
Adaptive immunity develops throughout the life as and when we get exposed to diseases or through usage of vaccines. Passive immunity is borrowed from another source lasting for a shorter duration. A mother’s milk gives temporary immunity to the baby.
While there is no magic pill as of now, there are tried and tested ways to boost your immunity to the higher level. Though washing hands for 20 seconds, not touching one’s face and social distancing are new accretions to immunity regime & these are proving effective as well.
Apart from that more can be done. Four full proof ways to gain brownie points for increasing immunity are- Focusing on the right food, lifestyle improvements, right attitude and immunity aids.
Immunity boosting foods are no myth and whole, unprocessed foods have time and again done wonders. Garlic contains a compound allicin which is a known immunity booster. Eating a raw garlic clove would be the most beneficial though it may not be easy for some and so can even be roasted and consumed.
Excellent sources of prebiotics such as green bananas, artichokes, asparagus, chicory roots and leeks keep the gut bacteria healthy and in turn protect us against various infections. Vitamin C Rich Foods are known for their immunity boosting powers and consuming orange juice alone would not be suffice as it contains more of sugar and less of nutrients.
It is better to get vitamin C from oranges, kiwi, squash, lemons and broccoli. It is also widely proven that stress will lead to lowered immunity making one more prone to illness. In order to avoid the same, colourful fruits and vegetables including berries, carrots , pumpkins, mangoes, apricots and spinach rich in antioxidants protect the body against oxidative stress leading to a strong immune system.
Living in a stressful environment day in and out produces too much of the stress hormone cortisol which gets elevated due to continued stress. This lowers the body’s resistance in fighting off infection contributing to poor sleep and high blood pressure. Bolstering your immunity can be achieved by drastically improving on your lifestyle patterns.
Sleep is very necessary in our life. But if you are an insomniac and binge watching late into the night, here is the deal. If you manage to catch up on quality sleep of seven to eight hours each night, fighting off infections will not be so troublesome. Some sleep apps are trending in the market and finding one as per your preference would be a piece of cake.
Even five minutes a day of guided meditation or finding that peace and concentrating on your breath can make a difference. It is calming and would reduce anxiety levels. Our bodies also function better when we are physically active every day even for 10 minutes.
And not just eating right and living right is enough, a positive mind-set will also be vital for a healthy being.
According to the researchers, positive thoughts are a stress buster, increasing resilience towards infections, making one less susceptible to common cold and flu. But if you are ready to go the extra mile then natural immunity aids can be considered. A lot of people are deficient in various types of nutrients and minerals and Vitamin D deficiency accounts for most of them.
Taking supplements after consulting physicians can be a last resort when all the above measures fail, though going out in fresh air and soaking sunshine will be more easy and comforting.
Some Essential oils have a calming influence when consumed or inhaled, easing anxiety and improving erratic sleep schedules which would improve immune system. What better excuse than immunity to take that long desired hot water bath with a drop of lavender oil in it.
And even after lots of sleep and steady supply of oranges superheroes do get sick. It is OK! The key remains to not make it a recurring trait and take time off to recharge yourself. In no time you would be donning your cape again and this time with increased immunity.