As the pandemic due to the Covid-19 virus rages across the world, it is now more important than ever to keep your immune system in tip-top shape. While initially India was not as badly affected when compared to Western countries such as the USA and UK, its second wave of infections has wreaked havoc on the country. Besides social distancing, maintaining high hygiene standards and venturing out only when necessary, it’s also essential to pay attention to what you consume. A healthy diet is essential to keeping your mind and body in the best shape to help fight off infections and boost your spirits in these trying times.
Indians have always been firm believers in the power of herbs and foods that have been believed to boost immunity through the ages. Herbs such as turmeric and tulsi are rooted in ayurveda as being beneficial to the body. Small changes to your routine and lifestyle can make all the difference to your health. Read on to find out how to strengthen your immune system fast and keep yourself hale and hearty.
When we refer to the immune system, we’re actually talking about a complex network of cells and proteins. This is the body’s defence system, and it protects us by fighting against infection. A stronger immune system is better able to fight off and defeat any germs that come into the body, allowing us to stay healthy rather than succumb to illness.
Eating the right foods and prioritizing a balanced diet full of vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants can help support your body when fighting off infections. Aim for plenty of fruits and vegetables. Choose foods packed with Vitamin C such as citrus fruits, as well as bell peppers, garlic and broccoli. Ingredients containing zinc such as shellfish, chickpeas and almonds are also helpful. Foods containing natural probiotics such as dahi (yogurt) and paneer can also help boost immunity.
Don’t forget about drinks too, particularly green tea for powerful antioxidants and homemade ‘golden milk’ made with turmeric (haldi), ginger and calcium-enriched milk (you can try nut milk if you are lactose intolerant). Equally, there are certain foods that could upset your immune system and are best avoided (or only enjoyed occasionally). These include high-sugar processed junk foods like cakes and candy, as well as fizzy drinks.
Turmeric contains curcumin and other chemicals that have healing properties. It is known to be anti-inflammatory and anti-viral. It also contains antioxidants. Amla has high amounts of Vitamin C which are extremely beneficial to the immune system. Eating Tulsi leaves is said to help with throat infections and chest congestion and it is believed to have antiviral and antifungal properties.
Alongside a diet packed with nourishing foods, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the best way to keep your immune system in top condition. Start by making sure you’re at a healthy, balanced weight by eating well and taking regular exercise. Get enough sleep – most experts suggest 7-9 hours per night, with similar bedtimes and wake-up times every day. Limit your exposure to stress and stressful situations as much as you can or use techniques such as meditation and mindfulness to help control your stress levels. Quit smoking if you do smoke and aim to only drink alcohol in moderation.
Another key way to support your immune system is to be aware of avoiding scenarios that might compromise it. This includes following tips for preventing viruses, such as washing your hands regularly and using hand sanitizer. Avoid people who are sick and disinfect household and personal items that you use regularly like TV remotes, mobile phones and laptops. Remember, if you have any concerns about your health, seek medical advice as soon as possible from a medical professional.
Taking care of your immune system matters at every age, but especially as you get older and become more susceptible to illness. A strong immune system is essential for protecting us from illness and reducing our chances of contracting a viral infection. Luckily, you don’t need fancy tips, tricks or supplements to strengthen your immune system. There are plenty of natural ways to improve immunity, from adopting healthy habits to incorporating key immunity-boosting foods into your diet.
In addition to good dietary and lifestyle habits, it is wise to take out a health insurance policy for yourself and your family. Illness and ailments can strike at any time and getting a good health insurance plan will ensure that you do not have to face the financial burden of large medical bills in case of medical needs.