A healthy lifestyle can help you to boost immunity naturally as it is the best way to ensure that you remain healthy and free from disease.
Immunity is defined as the ability of a person to fight infection, disease, or other unwanted biological invasion and also having sufficient tolerance to avoid allergy and autoimmune diseases.
Why It is Important to Boost Immunity Naturally?
The immune system of the body is a complex system that requires a fine balance and harmony between the functioning of various body organs as well as mental faculties.
Read more about Immune System-Parts and Functions
There is no magic ‘immunity pill’ available which can increase your immunity. The only way to build up your immunity is boost immunity naturally. This can be done by adopting a healthy lifestyle.
The various body parts including the immune system function properly when we adopt a healthy way of life and don’t abuse our body. A healthy diet, proper exercise, having a positive attitude towards life, stress-free work and home environment, etc all contribute to strengthening the immune system. Mental and emotional health are equally important and should not be neglected.
Here we discuss a few ways by which we can boost our immunity naturally.
1. Eat Healthy
The importance of a healthy diet can never be over-stressed. It is one of the most important ways to boost our body’s immunity. It is rightly said that ‘we are what we eat’. So one must take the utmost care of our diet.
One should consume a balanced diet rich in whole grains, nuts, fruits, and vegetables including green leafy vegetables, etc as they are a rich source of nutrients and antioxidants which protect us from harmful disease-causing organisms.
- Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Consume whole-grain foods.
- Reduce the consumption of red meat (like beef, pork, lamb, etc) and processed meat (like bacon, sausage, hot dogs, etc).
- Consume alcohol in moderation if you can’t totally eliminate it from your diet.
- Avoid smoking.
2. Limit Intake of Junk Food
Junk food has always been linked with obesity and other lifestyle disorders like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc, However, recent studies have proved that this unhealthy food causes far more damage than previously thought.
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Excessive intake of junk food causes the immune system to act as if it was dealing with infections and produces a strong inflammatory response throughout the body so as to protect our cells and tissues. The continuous bombardment of junk food results in chronic inflammation which impairs the ability of our immune system to react when the body comes in contact with disease-causing micro-organisms.
In addition, junk food reduces the number of good bacteria present in our intestines and further compromises the body’s immunity.
Hence to boost the immunity of our body, we must:
- Reduce the consumption of fast foods and other processed foods rich in saturated fats, sugars, high salt foods and other high-calorie foods.
- Avoid cereals, biscuits, and bread made from refined products as they are rich in calories and possess very low nutritional value.
- Avoid artificially sweetened drinks like cold drinks, packaged fruit juices, etc.
3. Keep Your Body Hydrated
Although drinking water does not protect the body from infections, it plays an important role in promoting overall health.
Drinking an adequate amount of water keeps the body and skin hydrated and helps to flush out toxins. It also promotes intestinal movements thus helping the body to digest and eliminate food efficiently thereby preventing constipation.
Dehydration can result in improper functioning of several body organs and make the body susceptible to illness.
In fact, drinking water early in the morning on an empty stomach should be one of the first activities carried out as soon as we get out of bed early in the morning.
Read more about 7 Healthy Morning Habits Everyone Should Follow
While some studies suggest drinking an average of 8 glasses of water every day, a general rule is to drink water when you feel thirsty. The water requirement also increases in case of hot weather, intense exercise, or working outdoors.
Any fluid like coconut water, fresh fruit juices, etc may be used to keep the body hydrated. But water is considered ideal as it is free of calories, unwanted sugars, and additives. It is best to limit the intake of fluids like sweetened tea, coffee, artificially sweetened juices, cold drinks, soft drinks, etc.
4. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise is known to reduce inflammation and promote the growth of immune cells. Thus, it is one of the great ways by which you can boost immunity naturally.
A common misconception is that people who are not overweight or have an ideal weight for height don’t need to exercise. This is far from being true.
Exercising regularly not only keeps the bones and muscles strong, but it also releases endorphins which produce a feel-good effect on the mind and prevents the release of stress hormones.
Any type of exercise including brisk walking, gym exercises, yoga, aerobics, etc can be included in your daily schedule depending upon your preferences. However, there is no need to over-exert your body as it may actually cause harm. A moderate amount of exercise is ideal for boosting the body’s immunity.
Besides, one must be physically active throughout the day. This can be ensured by introducing small changes in the lifestyle, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking for short distances instead of using the vehicle, not sitting for prolonged periods, etc.
5. Take Adequate Sleep
Taking adequate rest and sleep increases the natural immunity as it gives time to the body to recover from the wear and tear that occurs regularly.
During sleep, the body releases certain proteins called cytokines which further promote sleep and also protect against infection or inflammation. Thus a good quality and adequate sleep make the body better equipped to fight any illness or invasion by micro-organisms.
Inadequate or poor quality of sleep makes the body more susceptible to diseases and infections.
Although the adequate amount of sleep required varies from person to person, one should aim to get a sound sleep of at least 6-8 hours. For teens, 8-10 hours of sleep is considered optimum while younger children and babies require a total of 14 hours of sleep daily.
For people having trouble sleeping, a few sleep hygiene tips including following a proper sleep schedule, eating a light dinner, staying away from gadgets, sleeping in a dark and quiet room, etc may be helpful.
Read more about 7 Healthy Bedtime Habits Everyone Should Follow
6. Stay Away From Stress
Although acute or short-duration stress as the one experienced before exams or giving a public speech is unlikely to cause long term or serious consequences; it is the long-term stress that can lower the body’s ability to fight diseases.
Chronic or long term stress can have serious effects on physical and emotional health. It affects the immune system, making a person vulnerable to a variety of infections and inflammations.
Moreover, how one copes with stress also contributes to the ill-effects of stress. Chronic stress is more likely to lead to smoking, drinking alcohol, reduced physical activity, and an unhealthy diet all of which further reduce the body’s immunity.
Activities that help to manage stress include regular meditation, yoga, music therapy, exercise, etc. Pursuing a hobby like gardening, playing a musical instrument, painting, or even playing with a pet can all contribute to calming the mind and warding off stress. You can even take the help of a professional to manage chronic stress.
The fist is that you should have minimum stress to boost your immunity naturally to the max.
7. Health Supplements
There are many products available in the market that claim to boost the body’s immunity.
It is important to stress here that immunity or good health does not come from a ‘pill’ or any ‘magic potion’. As described above, immunity is the sum total of a healthy lifestyle, good physical and mental strength coupled with a balanced and healthy diet.
The ideal way to get all the nutrients required by the body is to get them from food. The body is better able to absorb and utilize the nutrients if they come from a natural dietary source. Health supplements can, at the best, help to fill in the gaps in the diet.
Nevertheless, the following nutrients and food supplements may help to reduce any deficiencies present in the body and strengthen the immune system.
Vitamin C: It strengthens the immune system and helps to fight coughs and colds. As an antioxidant, it also helps to reduce inflammation. Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, grapefruits, Indian gooseberry, etc are rich sources of vitamin C. Vitamin C tablets are another cheap source.
Vitamin D: Besides its importance for bone health, vitamin D is also essential for optimal immune functioning. Low vitamin D levels have been associated with an increased risk of upper respiratory tract infections, including asthma. It is synthesized in the body through exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. It may be obtained through supplements available in the form of oral preparations and injectable forms.
Zinc: It is also an important component of the immune system. In addition, it may be helpful in people who are already sick as it helps shorten the duration of colds and respiratory infections.
Vitamin B complex: In particular, vitamin B6 is essential for the proper functioning of the immune system. It can be obtained as part of the daily diet such as fortified cereals or as multivitamin tablets.
Garlic: It has anti-viral properties and reduces the severity of colds and other flu-like infections. It can be eaten raw, added to food dishes, or taken as a supplement.
Curcumin: Curcumin is an ingredient present in turmeric. It has analgesic, antibacterial and antiseptic properties. It helps to fight inflammation and increases the body’s immune response. It can be added to food items or milk or be consumed as a supplement.
8. Build Your Social Network
Social support and network are vital for the psychological and emotional well-being of a person. Social support means having a network of family and friends that can provide help in times of need. In case of any crisis whether financial, personal, or health-related, there should be some well-meaning friends whom you can turn to, ask for help, or simply be able to spend time with them.
It is this social support that helps people to carry on with their lives and deal with a crisis with strength and vigor.
Poor social support can lead to depression, feeling of loneliness, suicidal tendencies, other mental disorders, and heart diseases. It makes the body more susceptible to disease and lowers the natural defense systems of the body.
9. Have a Positive Attitude in Life
It has been found that our mind exerts a powerful effect on the functioning of our bodies. The body’s immune system, for example, is greatly influenced by our thoughts and attitudes.
A positive attitude in life enables the body to protect itself against the harmful effects of inflammation induced by stress. Also, positivity helps people to make better decisions related to health and life and allows them to focus more on long-term goals.
Negative emotions can adversely affect our immune system. It is said that one minute of anger weakens the immune system for five hours. Happiness on the other hand boosts immunity.
One should practice gratitude, mindfulness, and love as it helps a person to be optimistic and happy. Count your blessings and be grateful for what you have.
Hence stay positive, happy, and laugh a lot to boost your immunity.
I hope you will find these methods to boost immunity naturally useful in your daily life.