The ability of our body to fight off infection and toxic antigens is called immunity. Immunity is a complex concept consisting of various types: Active immunity; Passive immunity; Adaptive immunity; and Innate immunity.
All types of immunity are maintained by various structures like skin, mucus membranes, and various cells in the body like lymphocytes, natural killer cells and so on.
You can make your immune system strong by looking out for what you eat and how you live your life. Your habits have a strong impact on your overall fitness and strength.
Dietary Choices for A Healthy Immune System
A balanced diet which contains macronutrients and micronutrients daily is very necessary for your strong immune system.
Micronutrients and Supplements:
Studies have shown that micronutrients are required by the immune system to function properly. Hence, micronutrient deficiencies have a serious impact on the weakness and insufficiency of the immune system.
- Your skin and mucous membranes form the first line of defense as physical barriers against invading microbes. To protect your innate immunity: taking vitamins A, D, C, E along with B6, K folate, iron, zinc, selenium and magnesium are essential.
Hence, maintaining your micronutrient intakes in the form of supplements or natural products or both daily is vital for your immune function. Vitamin C can be easily obtained from fruits such as Lemon; Orange; Lime; Grapefruit; Nectarines; Blueberries.
Many vegetables are high in vitamin C, K, A, and folate such as
- Brussels sprouts
- Sweet potatoes
- Green beans
- All dark leafy green vegetables
It is a known fact that Vitamin D3 with K2 MK-7, calcium, and magnesium make the bones stronger. But does that help immunity? The short answer is yes! Many immune cells are made in the bone marrow of adults. The two systems interact and impact each other. So stronger bones mean stronger immune systems!
So take the vegan vitamin supplements D3, K2, Calcium Citrate, Magnesium Bisglycinate whenever you don’t have time or access to have those natural vitamin C fruits and fresh vegetables daily.
High Fiber Diet:
The fiber content generally present in a plant-based diet feeds the gut microbiome. Studies have shown that a healthy microbiome maintains healthy immunity and prevents harmful pathogens from entering the body. So you should add a high-fiber diet to your daily life. High fiber content is present in the following foods:
- Brussels sprouts
- Kidney beans
- Whole grain
Have Healthy Fats in Your Daily Meals:
Healthy fats are present in olive oil and salmon etc. Healthy fats decrease inflammation and increase the strength of the immune system. Inflammation in response to stress and injury is a normal response but chronic inflammation suppresses immunity. So anti-inflammatory substances reduce the risk of chronic inflammatory diseases like cardiac diseases and diabetes. You should try to use olive oil while cooking.
Have At Least 1 of Probiotics Sources A Day:
Probiotics are rich in beneficial bacteria that are a part of the gut microbiome which make the immune system stronger according to research. The fermented foods are probiotics, like
- Some cheeses such as Swiss, Provolone, Gouda, Cheddar, Edam, Gruyère, and Cottage Cheese (when not heated).
Lifestyle Choices for A Healthy Immune System:
Studies show that moderate exercise is very effective in boosting your immune system and enhances the effectiveness of vaccine doses. Regular exercise is always a gateway to good health. It reduces inflammation and promotes immune system boost and healing. Following are examples of moderate exercises: Bicycling; Jogging; Swimming; Light hiking.
The following easy exercises can help you establish a routine that suits your body and stamina without the need for a gym membership.
- Do side-to-side jumps. You can do 3 - 6 sets of 25 jumps per set.
- Squats are done by lowering your butt to get your body in a sitting position where your thighs are parallel to the floor.
- You can do the superman push-up pose by lying down on your stomach and raising your shoulders and chest.
- Jumping jacks strengthen your heart and immunity. Stand straight with your legs wide apart and jump. While you are jumping, close your legs and arms and open them again.
Manage Your Stress:
Metal stress is known for weakened immunity because long-term stress causes increased inflammation. So, stress management is very important if you want to enjoy a healthy and competent immune system. Yoga, meditation, pilates, muscle relaxation, positive thoughts, and quality sleep hours help greatly in reducing stress.
Water + Natural Herbal Tea that Supports Immune Function and Reduces Stress:
- It’s always good to drink more water, even when you don’t feel thirsty. Water hydrates all of your body’s systems and helps them function optimally.
- Immunity tea is made with a variety of dried herbs that are intentionally used because of their benefits to the immune system. For example, Ashwagandha helps improve body’s defense and reduce stress and anxiety; Echinacea stimulates the immune system and helps the body fight infections. Lemongrass helps reduce fever, ease stomachache, and improve respiratory disorders; Burdock Root helps improve blood sugar and fights infections and germs; Ginger Root helps ease nausea, IBS, & supports a healthier digestive system; Tulsi herb boosts immune health to prevent infections; Guduchi strengthen immune and digestive systems and helps reduces inflammation, and more.
Important: Immunity tea works best when used as a daily drink!
Fasting promotes the use of damaged cells as nutrients, decreases inflammation, and helps greatly in boosting your immune system. Intermittent fasting refers to decreasing the eating window of your day to detoxify your body in such a way that you fast for selected hours and eat in selected hours. You can
- Fast for 14 hours straight or
- Fast for 16 hours straight or
- Fast for 24 hours straight on alternate days, such as Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or 2 times a week.
In the hours you are fasting, you can only have:
- Black coffee (no milk, no sugar)
- Tea (no sugar, milk, honey)
Adopting better food choices and lifestyle habits greatly help in strengthening your immune function.
The best way to achieve that is to start taking more vegetables, having more natural herbals, doing moderate exercises daily, and inculcating a habit of at least 14-hour intermittent fasting as often as possible. Stay motivated, you've got this!