Here’s why we should all focus on increasing body immunity
When the shock waves of the COVID-19 pandemic started rippling across global headlines, one question was on everyone’s mind. How do I make sure I don’t get infected? By taking certain steps to fortify your immunity, you are strengthening your body’s defence mechanisms against infections. You’ll be less likely to fall ill and if you do, you will have milder symptoms. Here Avaana shares four top tips to help you improve your immune system and stay healthy.
1. Make healthier lifestyle choices
Your immune system can either focus on detoxing your body or fighting the invading infections. Habits like smoking, overeating, or excessive drinking divert your body’s immune response towards cleaning out your system. By quitting bad habits and adding adequate balance to your life, you allow your body to build the strength it will require when you fall ill.
According to this FAQ section by the World Health Organization, smoking is one of the lifestyle factors that puts you at risk for elevated symptoms if you contract COVID-19. Smoking impacts the ability of the lungs and COVID strikes the respiratory system. Weakened lungs may not be able to fight off the virus. The best way to avoid this is to quit smoking today.
Sleep is also important to your health and immunity. If you don’t get enough rest regularly, your system stops producing the white blood cells that power your body’s immunity. By switching to a routine that gives you at least 7 hours of sleep at night, you will be stronger and healthier.
People who are sleep-deprived over long periods are more susceptible to health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart conditions. If you are not getting the recommended minimum of 7 hours of sleep each night, it’s time to change your routine.
2. Get some exercise
When you do any form of exercise, you flush out toxins from your body before your immune system has to. It also enables your body to push newly created white blood cells through your system so that they can seek out and destroy bacteria or diseases.
Apart from these direct benefits to your immunity, exercise also helps improve your cardiovascular health, build muscle tone, and reduce your weight. You’ll avoid many health problems if you have a healthy heart, strong muscles and a lean body.
The best forms of exercise are activities that get your heart pumping, help you stretch and tone muscles, and involve strength or resistance training. Throw in a short session of meditation and you have found the perfect workout.
3. Eat your way to health
There is a great deal of debate about the benefits of multivitamins and supplements, including this article by Harvard Medical School. What we do know is that a varied diet of fresh, unprocessed food, including vegetables, fruit, grain, and sources of protein is the best food for immunity.
But eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. Choose seasonal produce that is grown in your region. When planning a meal, try to get at least three vegetables with different colours. Brightly coloured vegetables like red peppers, carrots, tomatoes, and purple cabbage are known to have more vitamins and green veggies like broccoli and kale are packed with goodness.
Eat more whole foods: Usually, plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes and seeds are quite high in nutrients and antioxidants that may help you form antibodies to fight any virus-created antigens.
Another eminent factor to increase immunity is to watch out for inflammation. Although temporary and low levels of inflammation are common and not of grave danger, chronic inflammation can suppress your immune over time. Some food items that prevent and relieve inflammation are olive oil, salmon and chia seeds.
If you have a specific diet with restricted food groups, you should consult a nutritionist to see what you can do to get all the nutrients and minerals your immune system needs and how to improve your immune system.
4. Work off that stress
All of us face stressful situations regularly but if your stress levels are high over a long period, it can have a detrimental effect on your body’s immunity. When you are stressed, your body produces cortisol which is beneficial in small infrequent doses but can damage your system’s production of white blood cells. When your white blood cell count is low, you are more vulnerable to bacterial infections.
By finding ways to reduce your stress levels, you will improve your sleep patterns, boost your appetite (so you can eat more healthy food), find motivation and energy for exercise, and maintain a positive mood.
There are many ways to reduce your stress levels. Making time for hobbies you love, creating a fulfilling workout routine to help you sweat it out, spending time with loved ones or close friends, writing a journal, doing a yoga or meditation session, or going for a run by yourself – all these are great (and healthy) ways to get your stress levels under control. If you find that your job or lifestyle is making you anxious regularly, it might be worth considering some bigger changes.
By making improvements to specific areas of your life, diet and exercise schedule, you will notice incredible benefits apart from increased immunity and better health.