Immunity system also known as defence system of the body is made up of special cells, tissue and organs together forming a network to defend against antigens, or other invaders. When antigens are detected, several cells wok together to recognise them and respond. On the whole its functionality is remarkable, but at times it fails and the invaders successfully invades to cause disease. Therefore, it is important to boost immune system in order to achieve optimal health. Here, are a few simple ways to do so:
1. Eat diet enriched in Vitamins and Minerals:
A lack of micronutrients has been linked to reduce immunity. Scientists have long recognised that malnourished people are more vulnerable to infectious diseases. Taking diet rich in vitamins and minerals not only boosts up overall heath but also aids natural immune system. Following are few micronutrients best known to avoid chronic infections or getting sick frequently:
Zinc (15 to 30 mg A day): Along with strengthening the immune system zinc also acts as an antioxidant fighting off free radical. Natural sources of zinc are meat, legumes, shellfish, whole grain, etc.
Vitamin C (1,500 mg daily): Vitamin C, also known as powerhouse vitamin for immunity can be obtained from citrus fruits oranges, lemon and amla: amla being the richest source.
Vitamin B6 (1.3 to 1.7mg a day):Vitamin B6 is closely linked with proper functioning of nervous system and immune system. More recently it has been found that it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties too. Major sources are pork, bread, vegetables and soybeans.
Iron (13.7-15.1): Iron helps the body to carry oxygens to cells and lifting up immunity can be found in poultry, beans, spinach, or broccoli.
2. Exercise daily:
Besides bestowing with cardiovascular, mood, and weight management, exercise is also known for uplifting natural immunity. Though while exercising it is important not to overstrain as chronic strenuous exercise has been associated with an increased susceptibility to infections, as well as frequency of injury. One can engage in general aerobic exercises to obtain miraculous results like cycling, swimming, dancing, jogging or even brisk walking for 20 minutes.
3. Manage your fats:
Lipids or fats though provide energy but if taken more than necessary can hamper immunity. Nutritionists recommends that diet should not contain more than 30% of calories. Overconsumption of fatty food leads to obesity that further gives way to many bodily abnormalities, thus, checking on fat intake is important. To calculate food percent of calories one needs to know its number of calories and grams of fat. To obtain results multiply the grams of fats by 9 ( 1gram = 9 calories), and then divide the value by the number of calories present in food.
4. Hunt out for fungi:
Mushrooms are known to have powerful immune boosting, antiviral, and anti-cancer properties. Fungus that can be helpful are
Reishi – though not edible but can be taken in form of capsules
Shitake – these delicious mushrooms can be easily found in groceries. They contain beta glucans that benefits immunity as well as strengthen the white blood cells.
Maitake – also known as “hen of the woods” increase our immune cells providing them ability to engulf harmful bacteria.
Turkey tail mushroom- they also contain bioactive compounds beta-glucans that stimulate immunity by enhancing macrophage and natural killer cell function.
Tremella Mushroom- besides fighting infection it is also used as immune tonic, and inhibits anti-aging properties.
4. Try Colostrum:
Colostrum is the “first milk” from nursing mammals, and is a rich source of antibodies as well as anti inflammatory substances like lactoferrin. Given to the advancement of medical science and technology besides baby adults can also benefit from in the form of powder from grass fed cows, goats, and other mammals. It can be mixed with smoothies, juice or just water.
5. Cook with bone broth:
The delicious homemade chicken soup not only cure flu but is known to enhance immunity too. A research suggests that cooking with organic broth can improve and enhance health; the natural gelatin, collagen, and amino acids tends to the gut, improve wound healing, and support immune cells such as lymphocytes.
6. Say hi to only healthy hygiene:
According to “Hygiene Hypothesis” an environment that is “too clean” can be a window to reduced immunity. In such a surrounding the functioning of antibodies hamper and cannot act even when they are needed. Though the solution to it is not being unhygienic but opting healthy hygiene. Overuse of soap, or antibacterial products should be avoided and should be used in a judicious manner.
7. Go for sun bathing:
Sun is known as the power house of energy, but besides that it presents us with healthy immune system. It is a major source of Vitamin D that plays a vital role in producing antibodies and also correlated with a higher risk of respiratory infection. To achieve the benefits exposure to sun ranging from 10 minutes to 30 minutes is necessary, depending on skin type.
8. Sauna sweating:
Many studies have featured that using infrared sauna on regular basis along with improving health of WBC also makes it harder for bacteria and viruses to survive, given to the high temperature. While sweating in sauna toxins are also reduced from the body known for causing inflammation.
9. Swich to natural anti-microbials:
One of the best way to boost up immunity is implementing superfoods in the diet like garlic (having both strong antimicrobial and antiviral properties), oregano oil( besides the prior two it also has antifungal properties), or manuka honey ( natural immune booster, anti inflammatory agent , and an antimicrobial agent.)
10. Pay off the sleep debt:
Sleep is one of the extremely important heath behaviour, essential to both longevity and avoidance of many diseases. It represents the “perpetual wall” between the conscious mind and the outside world. When people sleep less than ideal number of hours i.e. 7 to 8 hours, they accumulate sleep debt, which must be paid off for the optimal functioning of natural immune system. Though the number of hours needed to pay off the debt does not have a perfect one to one relation with the number of hours of sleep lost. Usually, it can be paid off in somewhat shorter time. The best way to get rid of the debt is spending a nice lazy weekends; sleep and gain health.
11. Avoid stressing:
According to a report done by meta analysing around 300 empirical articles describing psychological stress and parameters of the human immune system stress is closely linked to downregulation of immunity. Though eustress or positive stress does not affect immunity to a great extent but distress or negative stress is known to suppress the cellular immunity and also if chronic then humoral measures too. To avoid stress one can join stress management programs or adopt an optimistic approach towards life. Though the later according to some researcher is acquired trait while others say it can be gained with experience and practice.