10 ways to boost your immune system

(Authored by Dr.Anand Philip, MBBS(CMC, Vellore), Head of Medical Quality, DocsApp)
The key to staying fit and healthy is strengthening the immune system and protecting yourself from disease-causing microbes or nasty viruses. Made up of a host of cells, it is the immune system that increases the body’s ability to fight infections and provides complete protection against several illnesses. A weak immune system can result in flu, cold and other diseases, which is often caused due to improper dietary habits and chronic stress. While monthly or yearly health check-ups cannot be ignored, it is advisable to follow a few healthy living strategies regularly to stay fit as a fiddle.
1) Get sufficient Vitamin D: Morning sunlight is the best source of Vitamin D; therefore, it is necessary to soak up the Sun, at least for 10 minutes everyday in order to stay healthy. Vitamin D helps the immune system produce antibodies that decrease the susceptibility to infections. Thus, the sunshine vitamin is an important ingredient to stay healthy.
2) Eat right and healthy: Include a rich diet of fruits, vegetable and whole grains in your daily food items. Cut down on saturated fats, especially those found in processed food items, which can increase cholesterol levels and raise the risks of heart diseases. Include a lot of leafy vegetables, nuts and citrus fruits that are loaded with nutrients to boost your immune system.
3) Regular exercises is a must:Only a healthy body can help in the smooth functioning of the body. Exercises give a boost to the immune system, as it increases your energy levels, fights fatigue and improves overall well-being. Exercise for at least 30 minutes everyday. Cycling, brisk walking, yoga, recreational sports,are some ideal exercises to keep your immune system strong.
4) Get sufficient sleep:A good night's sleep is essential to stay healthy. Sleep-deprived people are prone to a lot of physical and mental illnesses. The lack of adequate sleep or rest to the body can result in an impaired immune system. At least 7-8 hours of sleep helps the muscles relax and increases the blood supply in the body. When you sleep, your energy is renewed and leads to the release of important hormones for the proper functioning of the body. Any sleep disturbance will impact them and your health.
5) Say no to smoking and alcohol: Consumption of alcohol and smoking cigarettes have a severe impact on the body. They not only weaken your immune system but leave you at a high risk of stroke, heart attack, cancer and asthma. These habits deprive the body of essential nutrients and harm the immune system. They reduce the ability to kill viruses and multiply white blood cells in the body.
6) Beat the stress: Today, people are susceptible to stress in their personal and professional lives more than ever. However, chronic stress can reduce the production of good prostaglandins and increase cortisol levels, which can dip the immunity level in the body. Adopt to stress coping methods such as yoga and meditation to boost your immune system.
7)Bathe regularly: Some people find bathing daily a tiresome task. But this ritual cannot be skipped, as bathing not only keeps you fresh, but it also helps in reducing muscle tension, improving blood circulation and boosting the immune system. This activity washes off all the impurities from your body and highly reduces the chances of falling sick.
8) Include probiotics in your diet: Supercharge your immune system with probiotics that can be found in naturally fermented food items such as yogurt, fermented dairy product kefir, tempeh made from soybeans, pickled sauerkraut and kimchi, a sour and spicy fermented cabbage. Including probiotics in your diet can help combat cold and flu.
9) Include natural ingredients: Spices such as garlic and ginger are immune-boosting ingredients that can be commonly found in the kitchen. While garlic consists of allicin, which helps to destroy viruses that cause cold and flu, ginger contains shagaols and gingerols that stimulate blood circulation, cut down on fever and soothe sore throats. Both the ingredients are helpful to fight against viruses and help to boost the immune system naturally.
10) Give way to sufficient minerals: Not just vitamins, minerals are equally important in the right proportions to boost the immune system. Zinc, magnesium, iodine, selenium are immune-boosting powerhouses. These minerals can be found in legumes, nuts, meat, fish, etc.

Friday, April 7, 2017