How to Boost Immune System of your Body
When it comes to fighting viruses, immune system does a fantastic job of defending you against harmful microorganisms.The immune system of our body consists of two parts – innate immune system and adaptive system. It is not a single entity, perhaps a whole system that requires balance and harmony to work properly.
COVID-19 pandemic has forced majority of human population to remain indoors. Many people initially found it difficult to accept the lockdown conditions but healthy people, patients and those suspected of the disease are now living in the interiors of homes and hospitals. As one spends the whole time indoors, the lifestyle undergoes a drastic change and even health may be affected. As remedy for COVID-19 is yet to be developed, one has to boost the immunity by adopting some healthy habits. Some among them are:
Immune System & Diet
The conclusion of many studies shows that nutritional deficiencies can weaken our immunity and make us more vulnerable to infections. The immune system of our body needs energy to make immune cells which need vitamins and minerals to function effectively.
Therefore, we should ensure that we’re consuming all essential elements including vitamins, minerals and macro-nutrients. These elements should include vitamins C, D, B6, B12 and minerals like zinc, iron, selenium and magnesium.
One should eat more whole plant foods like fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts. These foods are rich in fiber, nutrients and antioxidants which can help you while fighting against harmful pathogens. Always try to consume healthy fats like olive oil and Omega3 acids that can boost your immunity by decreasing inflammation.
Stress and your Immune System
Is stress bad for you? Yes. Chronic stress depresses the immune system and increases the risk of several infections catching your body. It raises the level of hormones called catecholamine in your body. Some research has highlighted the close link between mind and body. A wide range of sickness including stomach upset, hives, and even heart disease are linked to the effects of emotional stress.
To reduce stress, you must ensure work-life balance if working from home. Take short breaks whenever required and engage yourself in various calming or relaxing techniques used to reduce stress. If you are not working from home, you can manage stress by indulging in various other activities like cooking, playing board games with family, doing yoga, and so on. Managing your stress levels through meditation, yoga, exercise and other spiritual practices can keep your immune system work properly.
Get Adequate Sleep
Sleep is important for health in general, and as a bonus it may also benefit your immune function. Getting adequate sleep can strengthen your natural immunity. That’s why we sleep more when feeling sick to allow our immune system to fight illness. Inadequate or poor quality sleep may increase your chances of getting sick. For instance, one study showed those with insomnia had, on average, less immune response to the influenza vaccine, while another study in twins showed those with worse sleep had altered expression of genes related to immune function.
If you’re isolated at home, that likely means spending more time on electronic devices like tablets, phones, and TVs. This may be a good time to invest in blue-light blocking glasses and to look for non-tech related activities to do in the evening, like puzzles, crosswords, or reading an actual book (not an eBook!).
Doing regular exercise is one of the essential needs of a healthy lifestyle. Just like a healthy diet, exercise can also contribute to boost immune system of your body. It improves blood circulation, cardiovascular health, control body weight, and protects against a variety of diseases.
Don’t overdo it, though. Excessive exercise can harm your immune system and cause fatigue. If you’re involved in excessive training, support your system with your nutrition and other lifestyle measures. Stay active but remember that now is not the time to start a new high intensity exercise routine.
If you already enjoy strenuous exercise, consider decreasing the frequency or intensity by 10-20% (this is not scientifically backed but is recommended by some experts). Also, try to focus on home or outside exercise. Shared gym equipment, like weights and cardio machines, may be surfaces that transmit the virus. Although prolonged intense exercise can suppress your immune system, moderate exercise can reduce inflammation and help your immune cells regenerate regularly. So, try to wake up early in the morning followed by regular exercises.
Yoga and Meditation
Yoga, the ancient art that combines the movements of the body, mind, and soul has a powerful effect on uplifting health and wellness. It is one of the ways that can ensure our immunity system is best equipped to keep us healthy. While meditation helps balance the autonomic nervous system, the asanas, and kriyas of Yoga and Pranayama heal on a spiritual and physical level.
Through the flow of yogic exercises, meditation, and breathing patterns, the body’s immune system, respiratory system, nervous system, and spiritual system align making one fight against health conditions, injuries, pain and even virus optimally.
Immune System & Age
The immunity of our body gets reduced with age making it more susceptible towards various diseases. As compared with younger people, the elder people are more likely to contract infectious diseases and probably die from them. Respiratory infections, influenza, pneumonia, and now COVID19 are a leading cause of death in older peoples worldwide.
Both our lifestyle and habits are known to affect the strength of our immune system. But the most effective way we can help ourselves to avoid the viruses is through our diet. Older people tend to eat less and often have less variety in their diets. Therefore, special care is required in terms of diet for older people during Coronavirus pandemic as they are prone to catching it faster.
While almost everyone is practicing hygiene as per the measures stated by the World Health Organization (WHO), washing hands, and isolating from their social circle, in effort of controlling the pandemic – it is your strong body’s immune system that helps protect and fights through this deadly virus.