How to boost Immunity

Healthy Lifestyle.jpg, Nov 2022

Immunity plays a crucial role to fight against any microbial diseases. Immunity is a response of a body to defend our body from foreign substances, cells, and tissues. Hence, it is important to boost your immunity during a pandemic situation like COVID-19. There are many food choices and exercise schedules available to enhance the function of the immune system. However, adapting to any single aspect of doing so will prohibit us from developing and maintaining immunity for a long duration of time. The World Health Organization defines health as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Nevertheless, building up strong immunity considering all aspects of health is vital. Following are the five most important factors for building a healthy immune system:

  1. Nutritious Food

Developing strong immunity is a result of repetitive actions taken to maintain health and not a one-time task. Nutritious food is on the ball in enhancing immunity. You all must have read about the benefits of eating fresh and homemade food. Including maximum fruits and vegetables in the regular diet loads our body with tons of micronutrients. Also, freshly cooked homemade food avoids the chances of getting infected with microorganisms and saves us from preservatives. Vitamins and minerals indeed play a cardinal part to keep all the systems in the body in harmony. However, antioxidants are another set of compounds that has a key function in boosting immunity. Often my patients, family, and friends asked me a question, "Do you think if eat this particular food product, then will it help in increasing our immunity?" I certainly believe that eating four leaves of spinach every day for a week does not cure Anemia for good. Similarly, to improve immunity we need persistent vigilant eating habits. Nevertheless, my experience in clinical practice allows me to mention that wholesome food and a balanced diet promote good immunity; however, loading the body with supplements is questionable.

  1. Sufficient Hydration

Additionally, adequate hydration can be beneficial along with nutritious food as osmolarity regulates normal physiological function, which is overriding for immunity build-up. Along with this dense energy food, may lead to obesity but not strong immunity. On the contrary, excessive weight can interfere with the flow of nutrients within the body. However, including herbs and spices can add anti-microbial benefits to the regular diet.

  1. Daily Exercise

Exercise is an additional important aspect of developing and maintaining immunity. Our brain and body function together to regulate movements, voluntary as well as involuntary. Controlling movements is the chief function of our bodies. Hence, moving our bodies regularly promotes the flow of nutrients and blood in all the parts of the body equally, which ultimately helps in boosting immunity. It is not necessary to go to the gym and do weight training or run five miles every day. Moving the body in any form, for instance, dancing, doing yoga, or going for a walk daily can be beneficial for maintaining healthy immunity.

  1. Stress Management

Along with nutrition and exercise, emotions and state of mind have a huge impact not only on immunity but also on overall health. Continuous stress, anger, and vengeance can deteriorate cell efficiency. However, there is no scientific evidence for which emotion prevents boosting immunity and which facilitates the same. Nevertheless, research shows stress interferes with the assimilation and absorption of nutrients. Meditation and mindfulness are some of the solutions to control excessive stress and increase awareness about emotions. These options may not show immediate results, especially for beginners. However, positive affirmations can be helpful in the initial phase.  Practising positive affirmations can be a blessing in disguise but favourable in the long term.

  1. Sound Sleep

During our sleep body works on repairing daily wear and tear. Sound sleep helps in the optimum production of cytokines. It is a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation. However, chronic insomnia or poor quality of sleep can increase the susceptibility of the body to infections. Daily sleep of six to seven hours without any disturbance can be beneficial and helps in boosting the immune response of the body.


About the Author:

Dr. Priyanka Mohol [BHMS, PGDEMS & CC, DDHN, MPH (Scotland)]

Public Health Consultant & Community Nutrition Specialist