In today’s changing world, ‘being healthy’ seems to incorporate a few criteria; looking fantastic and not being ill. However, it means having a holistic, wholesome approach to wellbeing and contentment, including physical and the mental sphere. Our immune system is essentially an unsung hero, a significant weapon to beat viruses that may cause colds or flu and keep your body’s defense system war-ready. Our immune system is highly dependent on the nutrients in our blood stream.
A healthy eating plan helps to lower anxiety and keep our immune system in top shape.
STRESS AND IMMUNE SYSTEM
The immune system is a collection of billions of cells that travel through the bloodstream. They move in and out of tissues and organs, defending the body against bacteria, viruses and cancerous cells. When we’re stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens is reduced. That is why we are more susceptible to infections. Stress responses have an effect on digestive system. Long-term or chronic stress can ravage the immune system. People who are older or already sick are more prone to stress-related immune changes.
Here are ways you can boost your immune or ward of sickness.
We all know that we are what we eat’. To keep your immune system strong and sturdy, one needs to focus on the diet. Food is a powerful medicine!
Kickstart your body’s defense mechanism with a plant-based diet, health supporting foods- fruits, like blueberries (full of anti-oxidants) and oranges (vitamin C), can bring serious benefits. Oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel are rich in omega3. Include a generous dose of ginger, garlic and turmeric – all great for your immune system. Green, iron-rich vegetables like spinach and broccoli top the list of must-eat foods. Keep your diet moderate, colourful and add variety. Think carrots, beetroots, peas, bell peppers, papaya, kiwi, oranges to sweet potatoes help the body decrease inflammation that cause diseases. Get your vitamin D in the right amount- via mushrooms, eggs, curd, milk, cod liver oil. Lentils, root vegetables, variety of herbs & spices play a huge role too. Keep your diet moderate, colourful and add variety. Don’t forget your lemon, green tea, or chamomile tea with honey, which up your immune system with powerful anti-oxidants. Also decaffeinated tea or coffee, less of wine is a better idea.
Staying well hydrated is also very important for detoxification pathways. Water plumps up your skin, keeps the body moving. We breathe, wee, poo and sweat out about four litres a day, on average, and hence we need to get about half that back in what we drink, and the rest in via the food. Soups, salads, fruits, juices super hydrating. Dehydration can contribute to muscle tension, headaches and digestive issues.
Probiotics are “good” bacteria touted to help maintain digestive health and boost the immune system. Kombucha, kefir, probiotics, or fermented drinks contain plenty of gut-friendly organisms that help to strengthen the immune system and digestive system. The majority of your immune system lies in your gut flora and health of friendly microorganisms in there. Also, kefir is easy to digest and lactose-free.
SEEDS & NUTS
Nuts and seeds are rich in zinc, iron and vitamins, all of which really helps the immune system to boost. Many nuts and seeds are a good source of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which lower cholesterol and reduce the heart disease risks
Load your body with nuts like almonds, Walnuts, Pistachios, flaxseeds, Chia seeds, peanuts, pine nuts, and pumpkin seeds, sesame, sunflower seeds which provide zinc helping ward of cold cough or infections and keep your immune system revved up. Zinc is linked to the production of white blood cells, which lie at the centre of the immune system.
No running marathons every day or benching to boost your immune system. Simple, moderate activity and avoid sedentary habits. Well, even a brief post-meal stroll, standing at your desk rather than sitting, or taking the stairs rather than the lift, can make a sea change. Also, try some gentle yoga, breathing exercise, mindful exercises, and meditation to calm the mind and body. Get plenty of sunshine when and if you can, stretch your body in the open it sure makes a difference to your mood and well-being.
A sterling seven to eight hours between the sheets can be a mood alleviator, brain cell repairer, clarity, and just about any other benefits one can dream. Our immune system can benefit hugely from a sound sleep putting our body’s defense mechanism in top condition. Sleep well to reduce stress. During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep. Without sufficient sleep, your body makes fewer cytokines, a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation.
STEER CLEAR OF SMOKING OR DRINKING
Quitting the cigarettes will have you feeling more energetic, more physical activity will raise endorphins or mood, and you’ll look and feel better. Go easy on drinking to keep sickness at bay. It’s a vicious cycle! Smoking, or drinking alcohol, can be taxing for your immune system and make it harder for it to fight off infection.
Get yourself some immune boosting, inflammation reducing remedies at home. With no cure of the virus yet, it is wise to fill your supplement closet to the brim. From elderberry syrup, Vitamin C or Vitamin D, turmeric shots, magnesium supplements, essential oils, ginger drops, tinctures and tonics stock them all up when self-quarantining.
Have a good look over the Stir in supplement on shelf of your local supermarket and opt for the ones which will protect your immune system.
GADGET FREE TIME
Unplug from electronic devices about two hours before sleeping. Instead try meditation or journaling, soft happy music or therapeutic chants, lymphatic massages, Epsom salt bath, relaxing the facial muscles all of it can be your best buddies in the evening. Lifestyle alterations have a positive impact on our gut microbiome, which instead helps in keeping our system up and running in top shape. So it keeps cough, cold, flu at bay! Stress can be a real immunity thief, and by indulging in these restful, rejuvenating activities one can calm the mind and body alike.
STEER CLEAR OF TOXINS
Use chemical free makeup or skincare. Instead pack in organic facial or body oils. Keep your house, fridge, makeup boxes mould free. Minimise exposure to chlorinated water, pesticides, air fresheners, perfumes, heavy metals, air pollution, or food additives and preservatives. Eating organic foods for one week can lower your toxin levels. Toxins play a havoc on our immune system.
Keep calm, de-stress and eat your greens!