Are you worried about your immunity going down? Know how to increase immunity
It has almost been a year since we are going through the COVID-19 pandemic. We all have faced a falling economy, empty workspace, public spaces, and unbearable stress during this pandemic, and a new threat of virus mutation has worsened it all. However, the word “immunity” is like a ray of hope in our cloudy life. We all wonder how India a densely populated country is still managing to keep the infection and mortality rate low. in this article, we discuss how to increase immunity by having natural raw food and ways to boost it.
The recovery rate among Indians is above 95%, for which three factors are being considered. First, the widespread immunity in the Indian population, second, food and environmental habits (for e.g., turmeric used as a food ingredient), and third high genetic diversity particularly, HLA genotype.
We know we cannot change genetics as per our needs, but there are ways from which we can improve our immunity!
Our immune system
We have an immune system that is spread throughout the body and consists of various types of cells, tissue, organs, proteins, and secretions. Our immune system is organized in such a way that it can identify what is self (body) from non-self (foreign). Apart from keeping us safe from foreign pathogens it also regularly clears the nonfunctional or dead tissues and keeps our body healthy and updated.
Here are some ways to increase your immune system naturally and easily!
The first and most important step is to select a healthy lifestyle. Following good day-to-day habits can offer you a near-perfect immune system. Although there are various methods for boosting immunity, eating, and sleeping healthy remains the two most important factors.
1. Say no to tobacco and alcohol
Tobacco and alcohol are very harmful to our bodies. Almost all the common diseases can be linked with their abuse. However, a small amount of wine can be beneficial for the brain and heart.
2. Make exercise a daily routine
Regular exercise improves overall bodily function, improves cardiovascular health, controls blood pressure and body weight, and gives us protection against a variety of diseases. It does all that by significantly improving the flow of oxygenated blood across the body.
3. Get enough sleep
Insufficient or poor-quality sleep not only makes our body more prone to illnesses but, also affects our mental health. Our body has a natural clock, a wrong timed sleep or an inadequate sleep may hamper the body’s capability to heal itself. Minimum 6-7 hours of sleep has been recommended adequate for adults however children might need up to 10 hours of per day sleep.
4. Destress your mind
Stress! this word is subjective which means what can be stressful to you, may not necessarily be to the other person. We can neither measure the amount of stress nor its effects on individuals. Our minds and body are closely linked. There are pieces of evidence of stress leading to stomach and GIT upset, heart diseases, diabetes, and various mental illnesses. There are studies being carried out on the link between stress and the immune system.
5. Eat healthy, with plenty of fruits and vegetables preferably in raw form
Markets are full of products that claim to enhance immunity, but should we rely on them? in fact, no one knows what type of cell line in our immune system do they act upon!
With advancing age our body becomes prone to get more infections, scientists believe that it happens due to a fall in the number of certain immune cells (T cells). However, the possibility of other factors (e.g.; nutrition) playing role in it cannot be ruled out.
Older people tend to eat less in both amount and variety, which results in a form of malnutrition known as “micronutrient malnutrition” in which the body becomes deficient in some essential vitamins and minerals that can be provided through diet.
The most commonly attributed nutrients are zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, vitamin A, B6, C & E.
How to increase immunity! Here is all you need to know to improve your diet!
One basic fundamental to understand is that a low carbohydrate diet helps us control high blood sugar and pressure. So, we should keep our primary focus on having a low carb and high protein diet, it will not only give us good immunity but good shape as well. This regular consumption of fruits and vegetables which are rich in essential micronutrients builds resilience against infections. As much as possible say no to processed food, high sugar consumption, and junk food.
Every culture has different food habits. Here are some chosen ones for the ultimate balance of health.
Ginger is a proven anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.it has properties to improve digestion and gives relief from flatulence. It helps to fight against colds and coughs.
Garlic has been an ultimate health food since the time of the Greeks and Egyptians. It reduces blood cholesterol and helps blood to flow freely, also helps in reducing blood sugar and blood pressure levels. Apart from these garlic also has antibacterial and anticancer properties.
Onions are best eaten fresh. They help in reducing the risk of heart-related diseases and strokes. They have antibiotic properties. Build resistance against cancer.
Turmeric is used in very small quantities while cooking. It has curcumin in it, the main active ingredient which has been claimed to have very strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. It can also improve your memory by increasing levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which is a kind of growth hormone.
We all like the “hotness” of chilies and peppers! Capsaicin is the source of spicy flavor. Although people with peptic ulcers can’t tolerate them much, they are a good source of vitamin C. it helps in improving blood circulation, aids digestion increase the body’s calorie-burning, and may even reduce pain.
Tea is a remarkable antioxidant. The flavonoids in Green tea effectively reduce cancer-causing substances from our bodies. There are reports proving low cancer rates where tea is highly consumed. It also has fluoride in it which may improve oro-dental health, indirectly enhancing body health. And the most beneficial effect during the covid-19 pandemic is that it has antiviral action.
Broccoli is rich in many nutrients like beta-carotene, calcium, iron, zinc, folate, vitamin c and vitamin e. beta-carotene and vitamins in it are potent antioxidants. Apart from that it gives iron and minerals to our body, and can be regarded as a superfood!
As the name says, they are sweet and savory. They have potassium as well apart from other nutrients. And you can say they are the only low-calorie food providing enough vitamin E.
Carrots! Once thought to improve only vision, but they have other effects as well for e.g., protecting us from various forms of cancer. They also lower blood cholesterol and have high fiber content.
Spinach is also rich in flavonoids carotenoids vitamin C vitamin E and very rich potassium. they also have antioxidant and anticancer properties. They are claimed to cut down age-related macular degeneration (ARMG) and thus protecting from irreversible blindness.
Everyone enjoys lemon in their food it adds an extra flavor to our tongue and also a rich source of Vitamin C. citrus foods like lemon, oranges, grapefruit, and tangerines are also rich in calcium, folate, potassium. They improve the capillary circulation, lower blood cholesterol, and help fight against the common cold and even cancers. They facilitate the growth of connective tissue and maintain the daily wear and tear of the body.
Chocolates especially dark ones are antioxidants, and we know antioxidants strengthen our immune system. Antioxidants protect us from free radicals. Although it also improves your mood but is high in calories so should be consumed in a limited quantity.
Almonds are a rich source of vitamin E. They help in reducing blood cholesterol as they contain healthy fats and also provide calcium and magnesium.it is best to consume freshly unshelled, unblanched almonds.
Here is a comprehensive review of important micronutrients and their source-
Vitamin is important for vision. It nurtures skin and tissues and mucosal lining (which is the first defense against infection). Sources are full-fat milk, eggs, cheese, butter, oily fish, carrots, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, sweet potato, red pepper, dried apricots.
Nicotinic acid and nicotinamide in vitamin b3 are required for energy production in cells. Sources are breakfast cereals, milk, cheese, eggs, green leafy vegetables, peas, mushrooms, potatoes, liver, lean meat.
Pyridoxine is required for syncretization of proteins, help release stored glucose, and to process niacin from tryptophan, all these are important for bodily functions and growth. Sources are banana, potatoes, nuts (walnuts), sesame seeds, avocados, pepper, and fish.
Vitamin c is important for wound healing, gum health, maintenance of connective tissues. It also reduces the risk of heart-related diseases and strokes and cancers. Sources are strawberries, citrus fruits, guava, blackcurrant, tomatoes, potatoes, green leafy vegetables.
It is a potent antioxidant! To reduce the by-products of oxidation one should limit the consumption of polyunsaturated fats. Sources are sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, wheat gram, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, sweet potatoes, oats, avocados, and whole-grain cereals.
Needed for many essential nutrient productions especially during pregnancy. Another important role it plays with vitamin b12 for making genetic material for every cell. Sources are parsley, spinach, broccoli, raw beetroot, breakfast cereals, peanuts and pulses, liver, yeast extract.
Required for normal growth, healthy mucosal linings, male sexual maturation, also for recovering post-surgery or for wound healing or after burns. Sources are milk, hard cheese, yogurt, nuts, sunflower seed, pumpkin seeds beans and wholemeal bread, shellfish, oysters, and lean meat.
Like vitamin e selenium is also an important antioxidant. It works with vitamin, in fact, can actually replace it. May also improve male fertility. Sources are brazil nuts, seaweed, seafood, wholegrain cereals, sunflower seeds, and meat.
Our body needs copper for blood formation to bone formation. It’s also required for the production of melanin pigment for skin and hair. Sources are shellfish, liver, wholegrain cereals, and wheat gram.
We must understand that immunity is one thing that is to the most extent is in our hands to improvise. Like we have adapted to hand sanitizer and masks during this COVID-19 pandemic, we must give attention to other measures (like improving our diet and lifestyle) as well, which will help us not only during any pandemic but always.