Author – Preeti Athri
(Reading time ~ 5 mins)
There are some of us who get infected by a cold, cough or a tummy bug at the drop of a hat and then there are some others, who appear unfazed by it all. What is it that makes some kids, or adults, healthier than the rest?
The answer lies in their immune system.
Your body’s immune system consists of certain organs and processes that can effectively fight toxins, infections and diseases. A strong immune system is critical to keeping us healthy. So, does that mean those with weaker immune systems should just consider themselves unlucky? The answer is, no. By making just a few simple changes, you can give your immune system the power to keep germs and allergens at bay, all-year round.
Focus on eating healthy and include plenty of fruits, vegetables, sprouts, nuts and seeds in your diet. Eating seasonal and regional also equips your body to keep those immune cells up and running!
Studies have proved that to have a healthy immune system, you need to have a healthy gut. Your gut microbiome plays a key role in balancing your body’s immune system. Eating a diverse range of fresh food and homemade fermented foods will keep your gut microbiota happy, and they in turn, will help boost your immunity.
Washing hands and keeping our surroundings clean is a must irrespective of whether there are illnesses in the air or not. Encourage your kids to wash their hands for at least two minutes (approximately as long as it takes to sing the Happy Birthday song twice) with an antibacterial hand wash or soap before meals, after using the toilet and after play, everyday.
The best way to flush out all the toxins from your system is to have plenty of water. Rightfully called the elixir of life, water hydrates and keeps the immune system functioning well.
Refined sugar can hamper the way white blood cells function and cause inflammations. It has been found that eating or drinking about 100gms of sugar can impair white blood cell function by 40%. Munch on fresh fruits or dried fruits such as dried figs or dates to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Exercise gets our heart rate up and improves circulation. Improved circulation helps the body to function optimally and lowers the risk of infection and disease. If you can’t go to the gym or a sports class, then try a fun exercise routine at home.
Vitamin C helps in the production and function of white blood cells and antibodies. Have a healthy dose of greens, bell peppers, citrus fruits, papaya and gooseberries to get those antibodies armoured! Herbs and spices such as garlic, turmeric, ginger and chillies are known to have natural antiseptic and antibacterial properties. So allow things to get spicy!
High stress levels are known to weaken the immune system. Calm those frayed nerves with some meditation techniques and stay zen, and happy, to stay healthy!
Lack of sleep is a recipe for a weakened immune system. Your body restores, cleanses and repairs when you sleep, so make sure you keep nighttime distractions to a minimum and get at least 8 hours of sound sleep.
A combination of a healthy diet, healthy habits, exercise and hydration can empower you to fight illnesses from within. Stay safe!