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Lavleen Kaur, dietitian, shares 2 keys to boosting immunity

As Corona-virus Cases Keep Increasing Every Day, We Feel More Threatened About Catching The Virus. We Find Ourselves Asking If Increasing Immunity Level Really Help Fight The Virus. The Answer Is Yes! Our Immune System Is Responsible For Fighting Against Diseases Once They Enter Our Body.

By : Yogendra Mishra | Updated on: 25 Jun 2020, 04:20:20 PM
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Lavleen Kaur (Photo Credit: lavleen kaur)

New Delhi :

As corona-virus cases keep increasing every day, we feel more threatened about catching the virus. We find ourselves asking if increasing immunity level really help fight the virus. The answer is yes! Our immune system is responsible for fighting against diseases once they enter our body. Even though there is no proven cure for the virus yet, a healthy immune system means we’ll effectively be able to fight the virus even after exposure.

Aside from elders, we know that people with weak immune system due to various health problems are very vulnerable to the virus. These include people with weak lungs, breathing problems, diabetes, high blood pressure levels, obesity etc. The only way to stay precautious is to stay indoors and work towards building our immune system.

So how can we boost our immunity?

The internet is filled with advice on how to “boost” our immunity from eating Vitamin C to essential oils. With all this advice on what to eat, how can we know if any of these recommendations really work? “Immunity is not a one-dimensional concept. It cannot be built only by focusing on diet. It is a two-fold concept which includes diet as well as lifestyle”, says Lavleen Kaur, a leading dietitian and lifestyle coach.

Immune-boosting food items to add to your diet

Vitamin C If you enter a supermarket, you might see that the section of Vitamin C supplements is almost empty. That’s because vitamin C is an essential nutrition needed to boost immunity. It helps white blood cells function smoothly and fight against infections. Many prefer to take supplements in order to acquire this nutrition that our body needs but they forget that it can be easily found in our daily food. Our body does not produce this vitamin and therefore we should focus on eating rich vitamin C food. It can found in oranges, amla, bell peppers and spinach.

Zinc

Zinc is another mineral that is often added into supplements because of its crucial role in boosting immunity. Lack of zinc means people are more likely to catch the flu and other viruses. Nuts and seeds are a great source of zinc. It is also present in milk and other dairy products. Vegetables like mushrooms, green peas, broccoli and spinach are also rich in zinc.

Herbs and spices

  • Turmeric: It is a spice that is commonly used in the Indian Kitchen. Not only does it add flavor to our Indian cuisine, it contains curcumin in it which has anti-viral properties. Curcumin helps enhance our immune system.
  • Black pepper: It includes anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This helps enhance and boost our immunity.
  • Ginger: Ginger root is anti-microbial in nature which helps in decreasing inflammation. It also has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties which keep our immune system healthy.

Other beneficial spices available in every Indian kitchen are cinnamon, star anise, cloves and green cardamom. As dietitian Lavleen says “Indian Kitchen is a complete pharmacy in itself.”

Probiotic food

Probiotics are microorganism found in our digestive system. These are “good bacteria’s” that are essential for our bodily function.

Fermented food items: These include food items like curd, cottage cheese (paneer), pickles, buttermilk, kaanji, dhokla etc. South Indian food items like idli, appam, uttapam are all examples of fermented foods.

Healthy fats

  • Nuts and seeds: Sunflower seeds, walnuts, flax seeds and chia seeds are very rich in healthy fats. They are rich in antioxidants which help boost immunity.
  • Desi Ghee: It is known for its multiple benefits like strengthening of bones, improving digestion and balancing hormones. However, including it in your daily diet will do wonders for boosting your immunity level.

To boost immunity, it is important to include essential fatty acids in our regular diet. They increase the count of white blood cells, which help fight the invasion of dangerous infections into our body.

Immunity-booster tea (special recipe)

Here is an instant recipe for herbal tea which includes all the natural immunity booster ingredients you will need

Ginger/Dried Ginger Powder 1inch/1tsp
Cinnamon stick 1
Tulsi (fresh) 4-5 leaves
Pepper corns 3
Crushed elaichi 2
Crushed garlic (optional) 1-2 cloves
Fennel seeds 1/4th tsp
Ajwain (carrom seeds) A pinch
Jeera (cumin seeds) 1/4th tsp

Boil the above ingredients in water for 10 minutes. Strain, and then sip warm.

As dietitian Lavleen Kaur repeats, that having a proper diet is not enough! To boost immunity, we will also have to focus on improving our lifestyle.

The basics of a good lifestyle

  • Breathing Exercises : Low levels of blood pressure, low cortisol levels, improved blood flow are a few among the many benefits of effective breathing. However, it is crucial to remember that these benefits together help create a great immune system. A healthy oxygen supply in our system as a result of deep breathing boosts quick cell regeneration, which helps in quicker immune response. Hence, deep breathing exercises prove to be an important part of improving immunity. Here is a simple yet effective breathing exercise: Inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and exhale in 8 seconds. Make sure you practice this daily to see results for an increase in immunity.
  • Exercise daily: A regular exercise routine and an active lifestyle helps maintain a healthy immune system. Due to lockdown, gyms are closed but that doesn’t mean you don’t exercise! You can always follow an exercise routine at home and stay active. It is important because regular exercise flushes bacteria out of our lungs and airways which helps our body prevent mild flus and cold. If your job requires you to sit long hours in front of your laptop, it might be difficult to stay active. You can set an alarm to remind you to move and stretch your body every 40 minutes. The point is to remain active, whether that means jogging, skipping or practicing yoga.
  • Get quality sleep:  Sleep affects our immunity more than we may realize. Research says that lack of quality sleep can make people more prone to falling sick after exposure to any kind of virus. Therefore, it is important to have a proper sleep schedule as it is a natural remedy that helps our body repair itself. The body needs a certain type of protein called cytokines in order to fight against illnesses. An average adult body requires six to eight hours of undisturbed sleep every night for effective production of cytokines. These can The body needs a certain type of protein called cytokines in order to fight against illnesses. An average adult body requires six to eight hours of undisturbed sleep every night for effective production of cytokines. These can only be produced during our sleep and are very essential to strength our immune system. That’s why make sure you sleep on time and get some quality sleep.
  • Stress Management:  Immense amount of stress means danger for your immunity! It disturbs regular hormonal levels creating problems for our immune system. Stressful thinking leads to higher cortisol levels which makes you more prone to catch minor diseases. With all this uncertainty, times are very stressful now but it becomes important to take an effort to keep our stress levels in check. Practice stress management techniques in order to reduce your stress and boost your immunity. Breathing exercises are a great way to keep stress levels at bay.

Final Words

Even though there is no medical treatment for Covid-19 yet, boosting immunity will help you prevent or manage the damage of the virus. According to Kaur, there is no quick way to boost immunity. It simply cannot be built in a week or two. It is a gradual process and requires diet and lifestyle changes. A healthy and strong immune system will also help avoid catching any other disease in the future. Amid times of uncertainty, let us treat this as a God sent reminder to build our immunity together by following these simple and easy advice on diet and lifestyle.

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First Published : 25 Jun 2020, 04:20:20 PM