We coexist with other beings like microorganisms that either help us or harm us. The immune system does a phenomenal job of fighting against disease-causing microbes. However, for all the successful ceasefires and battles against the enemies, the immune system simply fails at times. Result – illness.
Is it possible for you to step into this process and save your immune system from the enemy?
Even though the research on the effects of diet, exercise, and stress on immunity is still going on, following healthy living routine is an excellent way to let your immunity have the upper hand over diseases. According to research, age, physical stress, unhealthy lifestyle, and malnourishment disturb the function of the immune system. Following are four natural ways that you can follow to enhance your immunity:
- Choose the right foods Science states that eating foods that improve the function of your immune system is an effective way to reduce the risks of getting infections or cancers. The effect of food on your immunity may be direct or indirect. Immunity is classified into innate immunity (the immunity that is already present in your body since birth) and adaptive immunity (the immunity that is produced in your body in response to a fight against a foreign substance). A diet rich in proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, and fats is good for enhancing your innate immunity. Probiotics, including the ones that have lactic acid bacteria, boost your innate immunity.Rather than popping immunity booster pills, including these elements in your diet can improve your immunity. You can include the following micronutrients in your diet to boost your immune system:
Magnesium: Sources include nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole wheat
Vitamin C: Sources include kiwi fruit, broccoli, tomatoes, citrus sweets, and sweet peppers
Vitamin E: Sources include almonds, safflower oil, peanut butter, and sunflower seeds
Vitamin B6: Sources include pork loin, cereals, potatoes with skin, and bananas
Zinc: Oysters, turkey (dark meat), and beef shank
- Exercise regularly The perks of exercising are not just limited to a good looking and a healthy body; they can also help you battle flu. Regular exercise boosts immunity. Following are some of the possible benefits for your immunity when you exercise:
- You breathe harder during any physical activity, which helps in flushing out the bacteria from your airways and lungs. This reduces your chances of developing flu or cold.
- Exercise improves the circulation of white blood cells and antibodies in your body to fight diseases.
- The risk of certain diseases like high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and heart diseases increases due to stress. Exercise can help you reduce stress by lowering the stress hormone levels and thus keep you away from certain illnesses.
- Your body temperature increases when you work out. The increased temperature makes it hard for the bacteria to grow. This can help your body fight better during and after an infection.
- Yoga and meditation A study conducted in Japan proved that people who practiced yoga for 12 weeks could stop the reduction in their immunity levels (linked to mental stress). Yoga also helps in resisting the involuntary changes that take place in immunity due to the development of stress during certain situations like examinations. As per the latest research, mindfulness meditation not only improves health by enhancing cognitive function and reducing blood pressure but also improves immune function.So if gymming or swimming is not your thing or if you simply cannot take out the time for walks and cycling, yoga and meditation could be your deal.
- Lifestyle changes Here are some lifestyle changes suggested by Harvard Medical School that will help boost your immunity:
- Maintain a healthy weight. You can check this regularly by calculating your body mass index, a simple formula that uses your height and weight measures to place you in a weight category. BMI = weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters
- Get 7 hours of sleep
- Drink alcohol (just kidding!). Drink only in moderation. According to dietary guidelines, moderate drinking is two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women
- Feast on a diet rich in veggies and fruits
- Stay clear of infections. Wash your hands regularly and cook meats thoroughly
- Try to stay away from stress. If it gets to you, then try minimizing the stress with yoga, pursuing a hobby, or exercising
Before the microorganisms make you their target, prepare to fight them back with a stronger immune system.