Dec 17

Boosting Immune System

In order to strengthen the immune system (defense mechanism of our body), one has to follow a healthy diet, do regular exercise and stay away from smoking and alcohol.
Before knowing how to improve immune function, it is necessary to know what is the immune system. In simple words, it is the defense mechanism of our body that does the job of destroying dangerous micro-organisms, thereby preventing the body from falling sick. The way United States has a powerful military force to defeat its enemy, similarly our body has an immune system that combats infections effectively. A number of organs form the immune system that manufacture specialized cells (white blood cells), which invade and kill pathogens. The defense mechanism of your body is able to carry out its assigned task successfully only if it is strong enough to do so. Poor immunity is ineffective in combating infection. Boosting immune system while pregnant is especially important for a healthy delivery. So, what are the different ways to empower the immune system? It is discussed below:

Choose the Right Food
Foods that are good sources of essential nutrients like vitamins A, C and E as well as minerals such as zinc, play a crucial role in strengthening the immune system. All these nutrients contribute in their own way to keep the immune healthy. For instance, vitamin C helps to stimulate synthesis of white blood cells, thereby improving immune function naturally. Apart from that, the presence of vitamin C in adequate amounts boosts performance of white blood cells in eliminating harmful microbes. On the other hand, vitamin E does an excellent job of increasing B cell production. B cells are a type of white blood cells that make antibodies which destroy the bacteria. Whereas vitamin A assists the immune system to improve production of T cells that protects the body against viral infections. Some of these foods are given below:

Vegetables like carrots, spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, cauliflower and cabbages
Fruits like mangoes, oranges, cantaloupe, papaya and kiwi fruit
Milk and dairy products like cheese and butter
Nuts that include almonds, pine nuts and peanuts

Besides eating vitamin rich foods daily, one should also include food sources of zinc and omega 3 essential fatty acids in the diet. These foods mentioned below also act as excellent immune system enhancers, hence their inclusion in moderation is highly recommended in the diet.

  • Oysters
  • Fish (salmon) or fish oil supplements
  • Olive oil (for cooking)
  • Lean cuts of roasted beef
  • Roasted pumpkin

Exercise Regularly
Following a regular exercise routine works to improve your immunity. However, that doesn’t mean, one should spend endless hours sweating in the gym. Intense workouts for long periods of time will do more harm than good to the immune system. Studies have shown that moderate intensity exercises for 35-40 minutes daily allows the immune system to produce macrophages (cells expert at invading dangerous microbes). So, one can say that daily exercise allows the immune system to increase its army of infection fighting cells. Women will have to consult a doctor when it comes to doing exercise during pregnancy.

Avoid Sleep Deprivation
A good night’s sleep consisting of 7-8 hours can go a long way in improving the immune function. Adequate sleep everyday also reduces the chances of autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis. So, make sure that you get sound sleep during your sleeping hours for increasing your immunity naturally.

Follow Proper Hygiene
The habit of not washing hands before meals is a perfect opportunity for dangerous microbes to enter the body in large number and make the person sick. However, cleaning hands with a good antibacterial soap prior to eating substantially minimizes exposure to harmful microbes. Thus, the burden of the immune system to defend the body reduces considerably, thereby making us less susceptible to infections.

Ditch Unhealthy Habits
Habits like smoking is the primary contributory factor behind low immunity. The smoke from cigarettes make the white blood cells less effective in fighting foreign invaders. In others words, smokers are vulnerable to all sorts of infections, especially those that affect the lungs. So, staying away from the ‘cancer’ sticks is a prerequisite to ensure a healthy immune system.

Strengthening the Defense Mechanism to Fight Cancer
The cancer fighting ability of our defense mechanism also gets a boost with intake of vitamin A rich foods. With vitamin A, the production of cancer killing cells increases by leaps and bounds. Studies show that foods high in vitamin C also reduce the risk of colon and prostate cancer. Apart from eating foods that boost immune system, using anti-cancer herbs like ginger to prepare day-to-day recipes can add more protection against cancer.

Exposure to high stress levels in today’s fast paced life is common. It is observed that too much stress can depress the immune function. So, managing stress through age-old remedies like yoga and meditation is essential to ensure that the body’s defense mechanism does not weaken due to stress. On the whole, following the aforementioned tips for strengthening the immune system can increase longevity and allow you to lead a healthier life years down the line.