Boost your immunity by following these routines
On the whole our immune system does a great job of defending us against disease-causing microorganisms but sometimes it fails and we get sick when a germ invades successfully. With the ongoing pandemic, while most of us are taking all necessary precautions – washing our hands, using masks and sanitisers – strengthening our immune system is our first line of defense.
Here are some tips to boost immunity:
Getting enough sleep
A balanced diet provides desired nutrition, resulting in a strong immune system. Try and eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, and avoid processed foods as much as you can. Shikha Nehru Sharma, dietician and founder of Delhi-based Nutri Health suggests drinking an immunity booster juice every morning can be of great help. Blend together 100 gm beetroot, 100 gm bottle gourd, half an apple, one amla (gooseberry) and one tomato and drink it just before breakfast or as a breakfast substitute. Soukya recommends eating easily digestible, warm, healthy and balanced meals on time, leaving out food groups that can cause flatulence and acidity. Minimising the intake of cold foods and beverages is preferable. Eat high fiber foods that help facilitate regular bowels, as constipation makes the body more acidic.
Include red rice and green gram and bitter vegetables such as bittergourd to help reduce inflammation. Include fruits like gooseberry, pomegranate, papaya, grapes, raisins, dates, sweet oranges, tender coconut water and fresh juices.
Include herbs and spices that have medicinal properties like turmeric, dry ginger, garlic, pepper, cardamom and ashwagandha in your meals and snacking.
Spinach and broccoli are great immune boosters as they are full of vitamins.
Sleep not only reboots our mind and body, but also our immune system. Not getting enough sleep causes our body to produce stress hormones such as cortisol which compromises the immune system.
In a 2015 study, researchers found that getting 7 hours of sleep every night can make you four times less likely to get a cold as compared to six hours of sleep.
Practitioners at Soukya, a holistic health centre at Bangalore, recommend sleeping by 10 pm daily for about 6-8 hours and avoid oversleeping. They also suggest a short 15-20 minute nap post lunch.
Physical activity is a must for a robust immune system. Regular exercise helps increase your body’s production of antibodies, in addition to helping you detox. A recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows that exercising at least five days a week reduced the risk of getting an upper respiratory infection by nearly 50 per cent, compared to being sedentary.
If you are allowed to walk outside, then go for a walk or a run and breathe in fresh air. If not, then check out some exercise videos on YouTube or just put on music and dance. Combine it with a 30 minute yoga session, three times a week. Ideally do at least 10 minutes of Pranayama (meditate and focus on your breath) daily. Payal Gidwani Tiwari, yoga instructor to Bollywood celebs and also author of several books including From XL to XS and Owning the Bump suggests five rounds of Surya Namaskar for beginners. Other asanas such as Dhanur asana (bow pose), Vriksha asana (tree pose) help boost immunity.
Drinking water does wonders for our body including by flushing away toxins. Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, preferably warm. You can also squeeze some lime into a glass of water. Citrus fruits like lime or lemon are great sources of vitamin C which boosts your immune system.