Have you ever wondered why there are some people who walk around in the winter unscathed while you always get a cold? Or why some recover very easily from illnesses while others who stroll around at home carrying a blanket for days on end?
No, it’s not because some people are born with magical powers and the rest, are well, just muggles.
But it’s because some people have a strong immune system.
While boosting up your immunity is easier said than done, making several lifestyle changes and following certain dietary plans can help strengthen your body’s natural defenses and fight those harmful disease-causing organisms.
In today’s time when coronavirus has become a reality for most people across the world and America has already passed the mark of 68,000 new daily COVID-19 cases, it becomes all the more important to shift to a healthy way of living and strengthen our immune systems.
Think of your immune system as security guards that keep a watch around your neighborhood. They recognize, fight and remove crime and criminals (disease-causing germs like bacteria, viruses, bacteria or fungi) when they walk into the neighborhood (body).
Other than that, your immune system also helps to fight disease-causing changes in the body such as the growth of cancer cells.
Your immune system is an intricate network of cells, organs and tissues that come together to defend your body against unknown and known invaders. These invaders could be anything that the body does not recognize as its own.
Once the body comes in contact with a disease-causing germ for the first time, your immune system stores information about that germ and how to fight it. If this germ comes into contact with the immune system again, the system recognizes the germ straight away and starts fighting it faster.
When your immune system is working properly, it can keep almost all kinds of health problems like common colds, infections and even cancer away.
While a strong immune system does not ensure that you don’t catch coronavirus but recovering from it can become a lot easier.
For people who are already suffering from pre-existing health problems or illnesses like diabetes, heart disease or lung disease, it becomes all the more important to follow a healthy lifestyle and keep your immunity strong. It’s because the immune cells in these conditions are already worn out and exhausted. Jessica Lancaster, an immunologist researcher at the Mayo Clinic describes this condition, “Their immune cells are kind of used to hearing these signals over and over again. When they have to actually respond to something, they’re already exhausted.”
Especially when it comes to dealing with coronavirus, this delayed immune response could turn out to be quite catastrophic.
While social distancing and avoiding going out are the best measures for people like these, it’s also important to have a good lifestyle and take proper care of themselves.
While these 6 steps may not bring you overnight results, you are bound to see small, gradual change in your day-to-day lives.
Getting less sleep doesn’t just make you feel drowsy at work or less energetic during working out but it has other implications as well. Inadequate sleep is linked to having a higher susceptibility to sickness. In a study conducted on 164 healthy adults, it was found that those who slept less than 6 hours each night were at greater risk to catch a cold than those who slept 6 or more hours every night.
That’s not all. Have you noticed that you often sleep more when you’re sick? There’s a reason why. You sleep more because it allows the immune system to better fight the illness. Getting adequate rest is paramount to having a strong immune system.
The recommended number of hours you need to sleep is 7 or more for adults, 8-10 for teens and up to 14 for young children and infants.
If you are suffering from insomnia, you should limit your screen time before sleeping, wear a mask, and exercise regularly. If these things do not work, it’s best to consult your telemedicine provider and ask for some trusted solutions.
Have you ever gone out for a jog early morning and after coming back home felt energetic and refreshed?
These are some of the benefits that exercising regularly brings into your life.
You do not have to engage in high-intensity workouts that make you feel like every drop of energy in you is disappearing into the air. But instead, choose moderate exercises like light hiking, jogging, brisk walking, swimming and cycling. Experts recommend that you should get in at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.
But how does this help in strengthening your immunity? According to research, moderate exercise helps in reducing inflammation and regenerating your immune cells regularly.
Taking too much stress for a prolonged period imbalances your immune cell function.
One way to lower your stress is to practice meditation. Even five minutes of performing meditation regularly can lower your heart rate and blood pressure and reduce anxiety and stress. If you think about it, the logic is very clear. The practice of meditation forces you to pay attention to your breathing and stay in the present and as most of our worries are because we either keep thinking about the future or the past, meditation helps us ward off those stress factors.
Other things you can try are journaling and mindfulness practices. You could even undergo virtual therapy sessions by accessing various telemedicine services.
Having a healthy diet makes sure your body is filled with the right fuel to fight any infections or other such illnesses.
Below is a list of some food items you should include in your diet:
- Vitamin-C rich foods: Did you know that a deficiency of Vitamin-C could pose the risk of weakening your immune system and exposing you to infections? Not to worry. You could include citrus fruits, red bell peppers, broccoli and spinach to your diet.
- Probiotics: If you have a flourishing network of gut bacteria, your immune cells can better differentiate between normal, healthy cells and harmful invaders. Include yogurt, kefir, natto, kimchi and sauerkraut for this.
- Garlic: Due to a heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds such as allicin, garlic has been proven to have immune-boosting properties.
- Almonds, ginger, turmeric and green tea are some other food items that may help boost your immunity.
It’s important to note that including just one food item that is known to fight infections won’t help you. You need to have a balanced diet that will help your body gain access to different vitamins and not just an excess of one or two.
Staying hydrated may not seem like a big deal. But due to negligence, when you get dehydrated, your body undergoes changes that may cause headaches and hinder digestion, focus, mood, heart and kidney function.
All of this can then increase your susceptibility to illnesses.
If you perform high-intensity exercises, stay in a hot climate or work outside, you may need to take in more fluids to avoid getting dehydrated.
Having a positive mindset is vital for your wellbeing and general health. Having positive thoughts not only reduces stress and inflammation but also increases resilience towards infections.
If you find yourself being depressed or suffering from some mental illness, it’s best to get help by registering to a telemedicine program.
As Joel Osteen says, “Choosing to be positive and having a grateful attitude is going to determine how you’re going to live your life.”
Following these six steps will not automatically make your life a miracle and always save you from getting infected but it will surely help you live a better life, reduce the chances of getting infections and increase your recovery period if you get infected.
While there are a lot of websites claiming that certain supplements help boost your immunity, it’s better to take advice from a specialist physician by signing up for a telemedicine plan on: https://dbtelehealth.com