The immune system of our bodies is a marvelous mechanism intended to protect us from harmful threats that may arise from foreign invaders outside or within our bodies. Over millions of years, the human immune system has managed to evolve, adding layers of protection. Experts advise that in the Covid-19 pandemic situation, boosting our immune system is even more important. It gives us an advantage in staying healthy and fighting the deadly virus and other diseases. This Doctor’s Day, we have compiled a list of habits that can be an immunity booster.
HealthShots got in touch with Dr Preet Pal Thakur, MBBS, general physician, Glamyo Health, who listed some lifestyle habits that can help you prevent the risk of diseases.
“Scientifically speaking approximately 80 percent of your immune system is in the gut, so promoting a healthy diet and nutrition tends to fight off infections faster and better. Sufficient Protein, Zinc, Vitamin A, B, C, and E intake helps in the formation and regulation of the immune system and works as antioxidants,” says Dr Thakur.
So, it’s advised to consume plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and reduce intake of saturated fat and sugar.
One of the key elements of healthy living is regular exercise as it boosts cardiovascular health, reduces blood pressure, aids in weight control, and defends us against a spectrum of diseases. Exercise, like a healthy diet, can lead to enhanced good health and hence a strong immune system. According to research, exercise and its effects may directly enable us to fight viruses and improve sleep quality.
Dr Thakur advises, “Aim for 60 minutes of physical activity per day and do what you relish, such as stretching, yoga, weight training, dancing, jogging, swimming, and other activities.”
Individuals who do not get enough sleep are far more likely to become ill after being exposed to a virus or germs. As sleep is vital to our recovery, a study discovered a link between sleep and immune system function. The study’s findings reveal that a good night’s sleep can enhance the productivity of certain specialized immune cells known as T cells.
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Stretching, breathing exercises and limiting your screen time to at least two hours before bedtime will helps in a better sleep.
Researchers are actively investigating the link between stress and immune function as constant stress and anxiety can have a deleterious effect on the production of lymphocytes- the white blood cells which are the body’s first line of defence against infection.
To relieve stress, one can take a few steps to get physically active by including running and walking, limit caffeine and alcohol intake, avoid procrastination and if required discuss and confide in someone whom you can trust.
Dr Thakur says, “As they say, prevention is better than cure, so upholding good hygiene is the first line of defense against viruses and germs. Washing hands with soap and water before beginning and finishing any work, covering mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze or cough, and maintaining a clean surrounding have become even extremely relevant post-pandemic. Taking precautions helps to keep the disease from spreading to us and our loved ones.”