Our immune system comprises cells, tissues, and organs that help us fight against different pathogens which are in the form of viruses, bacteria, fungi, etc. When our immune system is strong, we are away from repeated infections and diseases. As parents, we are often asking about ways to boost immunity in kids. As infants, kids get their immune cells from their moms through the placenta during pregnancy and from breast milk after birth. The immune cells help the infant to fight off the infection until his/her system becomes mature and tackles the infections. Recommended vaccines and immunization at scheduled times are most important to help fight childhood infections.
Immunity in adults (a bit tricky):
To fight against any kind of viral or bacterial infection, focussing on building one’s immunity as well as overall health is most important. Before the lockdown, we were taking lives for granted. Agreed, a crisis of this magnitude impacts human breed once in 100 years. But, the point is that up until now we were exploiting our bodies by working overtime, spending excess hours browsing, not sleeping, or resting enough, just chasing the rat race. But, now adults will have to follow a healthy lifestyle that includes getting enough rest, a balanced diet plus exercise, low stress, etc, their immune system strengthens.
Tips on how to boost immunity:
The key is to focus on building one’s immunity as well as overall health. Immunity cannot be developed overnight. Several dietary and lifestyle changes over a period of time help strengthen our body’s natural defences.
Following 4 tips can help strengthen and boost immunity in adults and kids:
Getting enough sleep. Adults, especially the millennial have become so addicted to the net, working, late-night plus partying that their sleep cycle has skewed up affecting their health. A healthy adult needs 7 or more hours of sleep. Teens need 8 to 10 hours, younger children and infants need up to 14 hours of sleep. Ensuring good sleep by limiting screen time, an hour before sleep, a dark room or sleep mask and adhering to the sleep timings helps improve immunity.
2. Food habits
Addiction to fast food like pizzas and burgers is playing havoc with health. Now is the time to realize that healthy food habits are essential for immunity and good health. Eating whole plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and seeds helps build up our immunity. Several vitamins such as C and E present in fruits, vegetables, etc are effective antioxidants. The antioxidants are molecules that help fight free radicals in our bodies. The free radicals if present at high levels can cause diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc. Not only eating the right food is important, but eating at the right intervals is also very important for good digestion and assimilation.
3. Moderate exercise
Exercise and workouts help to maintain general good health and promote the immune system. When we exercise, there is a good circulation of blood that facilitates the movement of molecules that help fight the invading disease-causing microbes and building up our immune system. Yoga, Pranayam, meditation, etc. will help us keep our body and mind balanced. A walk on the terrace of the house or garden, early morning and evening will boost our health and keep us connected to nature.
4. Home remedies to increase Immunity
Until now, we have consumed food without checking the ingredients and flavors that are sometimes artificial and play with our health. Now is the time to pay importance to our ancient cooking methods that use herbs, roots, and condiments that make our meal tasty and healthy but also increases our immunity. Since ancient times we have been using herbs, roots, and condiments in cooking that not only make our meal tasty and healthy but also increases our immunity. Ginger, garlic, turmeric, coriander, aniseed, jeers, etc., are some of the immunity boosters ever-present in our kitchens. We have to realize its importance and make an extra effort to include this in our food, snacks, drinks, etc to ward off infections.
Personal hygiene and immunity:
If we follow all the above tips to improve immunity but ignore personal hygiene, everything will go for a toss especially when we are fighting a war against COVID-19. Till recently, hygiene was last on the list of important things to do. Now we have to realize that only proper hygiene, for example, washing hands thoroughly can save us from life-threatening diseases. We have to follow the health ministry advisory of social distancing, keeping indoors and wearing a mask when it is absolutely necessary to step out.
In spite of taking care of our immunity, if by bad luck we contract the disease or have symptoms of the disease, do not hesitate to get tested and treated. We may be able to fight the disease because of our immunity but not everyone can be as fortunate. Getting treated at the earliest is the best option before our infection passes unknowingly on to others and causes damage.
by C. Radhika