How to Boost Your Immunity Naturally?

In the wake of the recent Corona pandemic, keeping our immunity at its peak has become one of the highest priority tasks. In this series of posts, we will help you choose the right immunity booster foods and lifestyle modifications to jumpstart a healthy change in your life.

How to Boost Your Immunity Naturally?

What is the meaning of Immunity Boosters?

Immunity is the capability to resist harmful microorganisms entering the circulation and cells and kill the ones which eventually gain entry.  Our immune system uses cells (B cells and T cells, Macrophages etc), Antibodies, Various substances (Cytokines, Lysosomal Enzymes etc) to fight against various viruses and bacteria. Like all other body functions, immunity also requires good nutrition and proper supply of various factors and vitamins which we tend to miss in our casual diets. Those foods, vitamins, fruits which contribute in making our immune system strong are kept in the category of immunity boosters.

Taking proper nutrition helps to reduce the risk and impact of infections, as well as to build strong immune system in long term. While the global population is growing rapidly, and people are living longer, our living environment has changed substantially. It seems that this particular pandemic is going to be a prolonged one and even in future there will always be some infectious diseases for which the course of treatment will not be easy.  Hence, there is a greater need to support our health and wellbeing, primarily our immune system, as it will impact different stages throughout our life.

How to boost your immunity naturally?

While boosting your immunity takes lot of effort, several dietary and lifestyle changes may strengthen the body’s natural defenses and help you fight harmful pathogens, or disease-causing organisms.
Here are 8 tips to strengthen your immunity naturally.
Plant based diet is really good for our body because it has necessary vitamins and minerals, which helps our Gut, lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar and it's great for good bowel management., immune system, skin and hair.  Whole plant foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that may give you an upper hand against harmful pathogens. The antioxidants in these foods help decrease inflammation by combatting unstable compounds called free radicals, which can cause inflammation when they build up in your body in high levels. Meanwhile, the fiber in plant foods feeds your gut microbiome, or the community of healthy bacteria in your gut. A robust gut microbiome can improve your immunity and help keep harmful pathogens from entering your body via your digestive tract.
Furthermore, fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients like vitamin C, which may reduce the duration of the common cold.
Healthy fats, like those found in olive oil and salmon, may boost your body’s immune response to pathogens bdecreasing inflammation. Olive oil, which is highly anti-inflammatory, is linked to a decreased risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Plus, its anti-inflammatory properties may help your body fight off harmful disease-causing bacteria and viruses. Omega-3 fatty acids, such as those in salmon and chia seeds, fight inflammation as well.

3. Eat more fermented foods or take a probiotic supplement

Fermented foods are rich in beneficial bacteria called probiotics, which populate your digestive. These foods include yogurt, kimchi, kefir etc. Research suggests that a flourishing network of gut bacteria can help your immune cells differentiate between normal, healthy cells and harmful invader organisms.

4. Limit added sugars

Emerging research suggests that added sugars and refined carbs may contribute disproportionately to overweight and obesity. Obesity may likewise increase your risk of getting sick. Curbing your sugar intake can decrease inflammation and aid weight loss, thus reducing your risk of chronic health conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Given that obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease can all weaken your immune system, limiting added sugars is an important part of an immune-boosting diet.

5. Engage in moderate exercise

Although prolonged intense exercise can suppress your immune system, moderate exercise can give it a boost. Studies indicate that even a single session of moderate exercise can boost the effectiveness of vaccines in people with compromised immune systems; including exercises include brisk walking, steady bicycling, jogging, swimming, and light hiking. Most people should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.

6. Get enough sleep

Sleep and immunity have a close association. In fact, inadequate or poor quality sleep is linked to a higher proneness to sickness. Adults should aim to get atleast 7 hrs of sleep each night, while teens need 8–10 hours and younger children and infants up to 14 hours.

7. Stay hydrated

Hydration doesn’t necessarily protect you from germs and viruses, but preventing dehydration is important to your overall health. Dehydration can cause headaches and hinder your physical performance, focus, mood, digestion, and heart and kidney function. These complications can increase your susceptibility to illness. To prevent dehydration, you should drink enough fluid daily to make your urine pale yellow. Water is recommended because it’s free of calories, additives, and sugar

8. Manage your stress levels

Relieving stress and anxiety is key to immune health. Long-term stress promotes inflammation, as well as imbalances in immune cell function. In particular, prolonged psychological stress can suppress the immune response in children.  Activities that may help you manage your stress include meditation, exercise, journaling, yoga, and other mindfulness practices. You may also benefit from seeing a licensed counselor or therapist, whether virtually or in person.

Medically Reviewed by: Dr Sandeep Moolchandani MS, (DNB Neurosurgery), MHA