As we prepare to welcome the monsoons, along with the ongoing pandemic, the change in season might affect some of you as you may show symptoms of cold and flu. During this time especially, it becomes important to protect your body against any illness or disease caused by bacteria or viruses. The best way to prevent cold and flu is to boost your immunity!
Types of Immunity
- Specific Immunity: Is related to specialized cells located throughout the body like thymus, lymph nodes, bone marrow, spleen, lymphoid tissues, etc. which respond to invasions of foreign materials/microorganisms like bacteria, virus, fungi produced by or entering the body.
- Non-Specific Immunity: Is related to the physical barriers like skin and mucous membrane. They form the first line of defence against the entry of microorganisms or foreign substances in your body.
- Others: These include mobile cells like leukocytes and lymphocytes. They are released in the blood and carried to the site where they are needed when any microorganism invades the tissue.
How To Boost Your Immunity
Each person has a different spectrum of immunity ranging from good to bad. But there are certain things you can do to try to boost your immunity.
- Have Nutritionally Adequate Meals: There are supplements in the market claiming that they increase immunity. However, it’s best to do so by consuming foods that boost your immunity. A healthy immune system is dependent upon a healthy eating pattern. Malnourishment leads to low immunity as nutrients like zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid and vitamins like A, B6, C and E are needed to maintain an optimum immune system. Some foods that boost immunity are Vitamin C rich foods like oranges, grapes, kiwi, pineapple, lemon, etc, along with broccoli, ginger, garlic, turmeric, green tea, etc.
- Boost Gut Health: Gut health is directly related to our immunity. The healthier the gut, the healthier the immune system. Adding prebiotics and probiotics like yogurt/buttermilk/curd, garlic, onion, apple, bananas, oats, flaxseeds, wheat bran, apple cider vinegar, Kombucha, Isapgol, etc. to your diet as they boost gut health, which in turn boosts your immune system. As they have good bacteria, they prevent digestion issues as well. For healthy digestion, make sure you avoid too spicy and junk foods, avoid long gaps between meals, hydrate yourself well, be on the move throughout the day, have a light dinner and keep stress away. Also have lots of fibre in the form of raw fruits and salads, oats, nuts, etc.
- Get Active: Exercising regularly for at least 20-30 minutes helps to bring in a healthier you by improving bones, muscle and joint strength. It prevents various metabolic disorders like diabetes, cardiac issues, etc. It also increases blood circulation which allows the proper functioning of T cells – which is a type of white blood cell that guards the body against infections to work efficiently and prevent us from getting any kind of viral infection or disease. A regular workout schedule even reduces stress which is a major contributor for low immunity.
- Curb Alcohol & Smoking: Alcohol and smoking are scavengers of our immune system. Try to limit the intake of the same to avoid cold or flu as they affect the liver and lungs respectively which helps in detoxification. They lead to medical problems like cardiac issues and blood pressure, which if uncontrolled, leads to cardiac attack. Smoking leads to respiratory tract infections like tuberculosis and bronchitis and alcohol also leads to fatty liver and in severe cases, leads to liver cirrhosis. Drinking and smoking also leads to cancer.
- Get Sufficient Sleep: Make sure that you get at least 6-8 hours of sleep everyday as enough sleep helps our bodies recover from everyday stress, both physical and mental. If you feel that your sleep is disturbed, try to be active throughout the day, avoid caffeine or alcohol before sleeping, keep the bedroom cool and keep the electronics away before sleeping and do some deep breathing or unwind yourself.
- Reduce Stress Levels: Stress is directly linked to our immune system as it secretes cortisol which interferes with the functioning of T-cells. To keep your stress in check, practice yoga, meditation, socialize on the internet and practice positive thinking or deep breathing in your regular routine.
- Maintain Good Hygiene: Wash your hands for 20 seconds under running water frequently in a day with soap or use a hand sanitizer with alcohol to disinfect yourself from germs frequently. After entering the house, make sure to immediately wash hands with soap to avoid infection. Wear a mask as instructed by WHO if you’re stepping out. Also, make sure to wash raw fruits and vegetables before consuming them.
Good immunity is the pillar of a healthy body and very important for providing longevity to life. Try the above tips and boost your immunity to live a long and healthy life. For more tips on immunity, check out Healthy Reads or view LIVE sessions by experts on GOQii Play. Do leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Stay home, stay safe, boost your immunity and #BeTheForce