Believe it or not the world runs on FEAR. From fear of death to the latest Fear Of Missing Out ( FOMO) all exist in our ecosystem. Coronavirus is The next biggest fear in individuals , countries and nations. While all measures are being taken to combat and restrict its spread, the most important self defence mechanism is immunity. Anybody with high immune system is least likely to get infected with this virus.
How The Immune System Works
First, we should quickly review how the immune system works. This is your built-in defense system against harmful germs that can make you ill.
The immune system has three primary jobs:
- To identify pathogens, or disease-causing germs, and remove them from the body. These include viruses, parasites, bacteria or fungi.
- Spot and neutralize harmful substances that come from outside the body.
- Combat major changes within the body, like cancer cells
Your immune system is activated when it recognizes antigens, or toxins and other foreign substances to your body. This triggers a response, where the immune system develops antibodies, or cells specifically developed to fight the invader. Once these antibodies are produced, the immune system will keep a file and use it again if it ever runs into the same issue; this is why you typically only fight the chicken pox once in your life.
Some lifestyle changes which we should incorporate in ourselves and within families that help in boosting the immune health are;
- avoiding smoking
- exercising regularly
- maintaining a healthy weight
- avoiding alcohol or drink in moderation
- getting enough sleep
- minimizing stress by regular meditation
- practicing correct hand-washing and oral hygiene
- Going out in the sun for a dose of Vit D
- Taking a salt water bath everyday
- Mopping our homes with salt water or disinfectants
- Using an essential oil based sanitiser
- Staying away from sick people
- Wear a mask while in public places
- Avoid direct contact with people, prefer a namaste with folded hands instead of a handshake.
- Sanitise regularly used products like cell phones and keypads.
Apart from these out health depends on what we feed into our body. Stronger the inner health better the immunity to fight back infections. Here is a list of some foods which will help in building strong immune levels. These can be incorporated in salads, soups, curries or chutneys. Some of them can be eaten raw while some will require cooking.
- Citrus fruits because they are packed with Vit C which help increase the production of white blood cells essential in fighting infections. This boosting the immune system.
- Red bell peppers because they contain twice as much vitamin C as citrus. They’re also a rich source of beta carotene. Besides boosting your immune system, vitamin C may help maintain healthy skin.
- Broccoli supercharged with vitamins and minerals. Packed with vitamins A, C, and E, as well as many other antioxidants and fiber, broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can put on your table.
- Garlic also helps lower blood pressure and slow down hardening of the arteries. Garlic’s immune-boosting properties seem to come from a heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin.
- Spinach, besides being rich in vitamin C, It’s also packed with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, which may increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems.
- Turmeric this bright yellow, bitter spice has also been used for years as an anti-inflammatory and used for curing muscular pains and aches.
- Green tea is packed with flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. It excels is in its levels of epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, another powerful antioxidant. EGCG has been shown to enhance immune function. Green tea is also a good source of the amino acid, L-theanine which aids in the production of germ-fighting compounds in your T-cells.
- Papaya is another fruit loaded with vitamin C.Papayas also have a digestive enzyme called papain that has anti-inflammatory effects. They have decent amounts of potassium ,B vitamins, and folate, all of which are beneficial to your overall health.
- Pumpkin is rich in vitamins A, C, E as well as calcium, potassium and folate which makes it a perfect immunity booster for kids and toddlers too.
- Yogurts may stimulate your immune system to help fight diseases.Yogurt can also be a great source of vitamin D which helps regulate the immune system and is thought to boost our body’s natural defenses against diseases.
- Almonds are packed with vitamin E which is key to a healthy immune system. It’s a fat soluble vitamin,meaning it requires the presence of fat to be absorbed properly.
- Kiwi is naturally full of a ton of essential nutrients, including folate, potassium, vitamin K and vitamin C. Vitamin C boosts white blood cells to fight infection, while kiwi’s other nutrients keep the rest of your body functioning properly.
- Sun flower seeds are full of nutrients, including phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin B-6. They’re also incredibly high in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant important in regulating the immune system.
- Blue berries contain a type of flavonoid called anthocyanin, which has antioxidant properties that can help boost a person’s immune system.
- Dark chocolate contains an antioxidant called theobromine, which may help to boost the immune system by protecting the body’s cells from free radicals.
- Cheese Yes, the good old cheese which many kids love is also one of the immune boosting foods! It is high in zinc, and zinc is useful in producing antibodies to fight infections.
- Mushrooms are zinc-packed which as we know boosts immunity. The best part is, different kind of mushrooms also have antibacterial and antiviral properties.
- Carrots These bright red vegetables are very high in beta carotene – a nutrient that the body turns into Vitamin A. This also boosts the body’s mucus membrane lining which means bacteria find it harder to attack.
- Lentils Iron-rich lentils can be added to the list of foods that boost your immune system.
- Watermelon is an immune-boosting fruit. One 2-cup serving of watermelon has 270 mg of potassium, 30% of the daily value of vitamin A, and 25% of the value of vitamin C. Calories in watermelon aren’t much at all. One 2-cup serving of watermelon has just 80 calories. Watermelon also provides vitamin B6 and glutathione. The body needs these vitamins, nutrients, and compounds like glutathione for proper immune function.
- One medium Sweet Potato packs a whopping 120% of the daily value of vitamin A and 30% of the daily value of vitamin C, all for just 100 calories. These vitamins are crucial for immune function and great for your skin. Sweet potatoes serve up a healthy portion of fiber, too.
- Flaxseeds are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, a type of essential fatty acid known to suppress inflammation and keep the immune system in check
These ingredients are readily available in our kitchen cabinets, now it’s time to make use of them often. Do consult a nutritionist in case of feeding pregnant women or infants, but generally they are safe for consumption for all. Since I belong to a vegetarian family this excludes consumption of meat or eggs but I guess they may be consumed in moderation too.
I encourage you to look for recipes on the Internet to suit your and your families palate for age appropriate dishes. I personally consume a tea made of mint leaves, beetle leaves, morninga leaves and tulsi leaves along with a small piece of ginger and a tea spoon of turmeric. You may boil it too ans replace it with your morning tea’s for a healthy start.
Wishing you all the shades of punks in health.
Happiness and sunshine🌼