The Immune system does a great job of protecting you from disease-causing microorganisms. It is an intricate network of cells and proteins that guards the body against infection. The immune system is a very sophisticated system that keeps a record every microbe or germ that the system has ever defeated so that it can kill it immediately if it enters again.
However, in some cases, it fails to protect and the germs that invade into your system and make you sick. You must wonder, whether you can actually stop this from happening? Can you actually boost up your immune system so that it can fight the germs and keep you healthy? Well, the answer is yes, you can strengthen your immune system. You can improve your diet, take herbal preparations and vitamins. You could make certain other changes in your lifestyle habits to better work in your favor for a better immune-response.
The immune system is a system and not an individual entity. The system needs proper conditioning to function properly. Your lifestyle including eating and other habits can improve the conditioning of your system.
You can improve your immune system to fight diseases and not get attacked instead if you improve your lifestyle habits. You can follow these guidelines for good health to improve your current situations like-
- Regulate Substance Consumption Habits: Do Not Smoke and Do Not Drink excessively
- Take a healthy diet- high in vegetables and fruits
- Exercise regularly and keep a healthy weight
- Get Enough Sleep
- Keep Good Hygiene
Regulate Substance Consumption Habits:
Avoid smoking completely and if you drink, moderate the consumption amount.
Smoking and Immune System:
A non-smokers lungs has alveolar macrophages, which work as guardian inhabitants. But when tobacco smoke enters, it activates intense invasion of neutrophils and macrophages in the bronchi and also the pulmonary epithelia.
When you smoke, the epithelial tissue gets directly exposed to minimum 60 chemical carcinogens. They can cause damage to the DNA of the larynx, epithelial cells in the lungs, and bronchi. Tobacco contains nicotine, ammonia, formaldehyde, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, tar, benzopyrenes, acetone, cadmium, hydroxyquinone, and nitrogen oxides.
Drinking and Immune System:
Dr. Mathur at Sanjeevani Kaya Shodhan Sansthan says that when a person is exposed to virus the body towers an immune response to destroy the foreign pathogen. The immune system of a healthier person is quicker to terminate a virus and recover – including COVID-19. Alcohol by default makes the defense of the immune system harder to protect the body from harmful germs.
“Alcohol consumption is associated with a range of communicable and non-communicable diseases and mental health disorders, which can make a person more vulnerable to COVID-19. In particular, alcohol compromises the body’s immune system and increases the risk of adverse health outcomes,”the WHO has stated.
Take Healthy Diet:
Eat more of whole plant foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, and seeds which are rich in antioxidants and nutrients. Your system will be able combat the harmful pathogens.
The antioxidants present in these foods fight the radicals- the unstable compounds, when they build up, and help to decrease the inflammation. Chronic inflammation and heart disease, certain cancers, and Alzheimer’s are linked together.
Taking fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C reduce common cold duration. Healthy fats found in olive oil and fish as salmon are good for you. Olive oil is a strong anti-inflammatory and reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart diseases and can fight diseases causing viruses and bacteria. Omega3 fatty acids are good for you and are found in chia seeds and salmon.
Take more fermented foods as probiotics are rich in good bacteria that are found in your digestive tract. Probiotics include kimchi, yogurt, natto, and sauerkraut. The gut bacteria help your immune cells to distinguish between healthy and harmful invading organisms.
Children who drink fermented milk are 20% lesser prone to illnesses. If your intake of fermented foods is not regular then probiotic supplements are a good option.
Take Limited amount of added sugars:
Taking refined carbs and added sugars can add disproportionately to obesity. Obese people are more prone to sickness and conditions as heart diseases and type2diabetes.
So what should be the proportion of sugar intake to your daily diet?
Dr. Mathur advises taking less than 5% of added sugars in proportion to your daily calories. This works out to be 2 tablespoons or 25 grams on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Engage in a reasonable amount of Exercise:
Long and intense exercises are not advised as they can suppress immune system, whereas moderate exercises can boost-up the immune system. Even one session of moderate exercise can boost up vaccine effectiveness in people. Moderate Regular exercises also lessen inflammation and regenerate immune cells recurrently.
Exercises as brisk Walks, cycling swimming, jogging, and light hiking are a good way to boost up your immune system. About 210 minutes of exercise per week should keep you fit.
Hydration does not directly protect you from viruses and germs but does protect from dehydration and maintains your overall health.
Dehydration can hurt your physical performance as it can cause headaches that may affect your mood, focus, kidney and heart function. This may make you more susceptible to illness. Your water intake should be enough so that your urine color is pale yellow. Avoid juices and iced tea for sugar content.
How much water should you drink?
Drink enough to quench your thirst and stop when you are no longer thirsty. If you work outdoors, or workout excessively, or live in a region with hot climate, your water intake can increase.
Note- Older adults do not get thirsty often as their bodies do not give thirst signals properly. So the older adults need to drink water periodically, habitually even if they do not get thirsty.
Take Care of Your Stress Levels
Maintain your immune health by getting rid of anxiety and stress. If you have been ailing from stress, be careful as it can create imbalance in immune cell function and increase inflammation.
Psychological stress in children for a long period can affect the immune response. Activities as exercise, meditation, yoga and mindful practices.
Take Supplements Wisely
Vitamin C: taking Vitamin C between 1,000 and 2,000 mg can reduce the period of cold by 9% in adults and 15%.
Vitamin D: deficiency of Vitamin D can make you sick more often, so supplement to reverse the affect. But do not supplement if already have sufficient Vitamin D levels.
Zinc: 75mg of zinc per day reduces the cold duration by 33%.
Elderberry or बड़का फल: it can reduce symptoms of upper-respiratory viral infection.
Garlic: Garlic can reduce cold by 30%.
So keep your immune system strong, by taking the right measures to enhance your dietary and lifestyle habits. Keep away from cigarettes, drink moderately if you do, keep hydrated, manage your stress levels, workout regularly, and get sufficient sleep. Your body’s defense mechanism will be able to fight viruses as Covid-19.