How many Whats-app forwards did you receive about boosting immunity during the first few months of the COVID-19 outbreak? Over the last two years the importance and awareness about immunity have spread like wildfire and every other person you might have known, acted as a subject matter expert for the same, giving out advice or home remedies to “boost your immunity”, isn’t it?
In this article, we separate the noise to signal and give you the complete guide to Immunity.
What is immunity?
Immunity is a complex biological system that we are blessed with that recognizes and tolerates whatever belongs to the body and rejects whatever is foreign to the body. This is a mechanism to help our bodies remain healthy by protecting us from the harm any foreign particles can cause. An antibody will be created for a particular disease, which will protect the body from being attacked again from the germs of this particular disease only. The human immune system is a complex network made up of different cells and proteins that prevent the body from getting infected. The immune system is more equipped and as smart as any device you would have ever thought, as it keeps a track of every single germ or microbe it has ever fought against so that it can be prepared to fight it again in case it ever re-enters the body.
Isn’t this such a fascinating thing to have an army of our very own soldiers inside our body to naturally guard?
Different types of immunity
There are two types of Immunity that come into play when the human body is exposed to germs or viruses of any sort:
When exposure to a disease or germ stimulates the immune system in order to produce antibodies of its own to that particular disease, what we can best describe is active immunity.
Active Immunity can be embodied in two ways.
- Natural Immunity ( this kind of immunity is acquired from the exposure to the actual disease through infection.)
- Vaccine-induced Immunity ( this kind of immunity is acquired by introducing a killed or weakened form of the same disease by the process of vaccination)
Passive immunity is when a person is provided with antibodies externally against him/her producing them through his/her own immune system.
Some examples of passive immunity are:
- A newborn baby receives passive immunity from its mother through the placenta.
- At times, blood products such as immune globulin are given to a patient as emergency protection from a specific disease when needed, this is how passive immunity can be attained by the patient’s body.
Ways to boost your immunity naturally:
As they say, Water is Life. Drinking plenty of fluids can be a very natural way to ensure the proper functioning of your body. This includes non-caffeinated and sugary drinks. Especially, drinking water the first thing you wake up to can be a great way to start your morning as your body is dehydrated by all the drinking.
Fun Fact- If you find yourself drinking water only when you feel the sensation of thirst, well dear friend, you are already dehydrated.
Aren’t you already tired of everyone going on and on about exercising? If yes, then why haven’t you done something about it already? We are vibrational beings, movement is the natural state of our mesmerizing bodies. Let your body do its job, and move! Right now! Get up, walk and stretch for 15 minutes if you have been sitting for too long. Exercising promotes good blood circulation which facilitates the movement of your cells and substance of the immune system to move through your body freely in order to do their job effectively.
Why would you want to circulate Cortisol (stress hormone) through your divine body instead of Dopamin (happy hormone)? Overcoming stress requires a lot of effort. Giving little or major stressors every day can keep your system busy to just get over it. This takes away its time and energy to instead, work to flourish your body.
Sleep time is the housekeeping time of your body. If you very happily vacate your hotel room in the morning for its housekeeping then why not be this voluntary when it comes to your body’s need for sleep. Good sleep, amongst many other benefits, helps strengthen your immune system.
Probiotics can be defined as “living microorganisms when administered in adequate amounts, lead to health benefits”. Probiotics have proven to be some of the best immunity boosters. Probiotic foods include cottage cheese, yogurt, kefir, etc. Vegans, this could be slightly challenging for you.
- Balance your diet better than one balances their mid-life crisis. (just kidding, it needs to be better than that)We are what we eat. Balanced meals= Balanced Bodies. Make sure your food nourishes you. Why eat only the yellows and reds (cheese, meat) when you can eat the rainbow (fruits, vegetables, proteins) Minimizing the consumption of sugar, processed food, white bread, etc can clear the pathway to accelerate the efficiency of your immune system
Causes of a weak immune system
The most common cause of a weakened immune system is usually when the flu or a virus gets in contact with the body and the immune system can’t fight it. Apart from that a lot of reasons behind a weak immune system are usually lifestyle-induced, such as:
- Drinking Alcohol
- Poor or unplanned nutrition
- Excess consumption of processed foods.
- Not allowing the body to rest well.
- Drinking very little water and constantly pushing the body in a dehydrated state.
Foods to strengthen the immune system.
If the wrong food choices can damage our bodies, it can also be strengthened with the right food choices. To name a few foods to help boost your immune system:
- Fruits that make your eyes squint- Citrus Fruits ( oranges, lemons, limes)
- Looks like a tomato but isn’t- Red Bell Pepper (come on now, something as flavourful as red bell peppers, shouldn’t be instructed to be consumed but be devoured voluntarily).
- What you might have a love and hate relationship with- Broccoli.
- That which alone is enough to add the most flavor to your meal- Garlic.
- Craved when your throat is trying to break up with you- Ginger.
- Ahoy! Popeye was always right about it- Spinach.
- Not for the Vegans alright- Yogurt.
- Little crunchy bits that go well with anything and everything- Almonds.
- No Indian wedding or meal is complete without this- Turmeric.
- Your best friend on rainy nights or to read books with- Green Tea.
Why choose supplements, in the presence of natural resources, you ask?
Of course, our species is blessed with resources to boost our immunity all around us, but still ends up not making the most of it, just the way our fridge might be fully stocked but we still end up ordering out.
Here are a few reasons why supplements might be needed:
- Our lifestyle is altered and controlled by many factors like work, stress, etc, and not health alone.
- We might not always succeed in giving the body the rest it actually requires.
- The food we consume culturally at times consistently lacks few necessary nutrients.
- Eating a balanced diet might not be achieved every day.
- Supplements at times, ensure that our bodies are able to absorb the nutrients from the food we consume.
Some of the most commonly suggested supplements to ensure the proper functioning of our body and to boost the immune system are:
- Vitamin C ( antioxidant and antiviral effects)
- Zinc (supports the immune system, needed for bone growth, wound recovery, propper functioning eyesight)
- Green Tea Extract ( antiviral, antioxidant, antimicrobial)
- Vitamin D ( better immune response, lower inflammation)
- Vitamin E (helps body fight infection, antioxidant)
- Multivitamins ( an all in one supplement)
Now that you have read this far, take a moment to analyze and redesign your lifestyle choices as well as your opinion about health supplements. Get yourself tested and check up on what nutrients are you lacking to serve your body. Consult with your physician and map out a plan for the supplements or lifestyle changes you require. This is not to slyly promote supplement consumption, as we at BBETTER understand to too much of anything can be harmful to your harmonious system, but that doesn’t mean you will deprive your body of its required nutrients, even when they are available right in front of you.
Give us an opportunity to serve you better, as all we want is to see you, beautiful people living your best lives without any interruptions, and nothing ensures this better than a happy, dancing immune system.