A healthy immune system is extremely important for living a healthy life. The main responsibility of the immune system is to protect you against pathogens and foreign organisms which have adverse impacts on the body. Whenever you fall sick, it is because your immune system was unable to protect you against the causative agent. In fact, the fever that accompanies most infections is a sign that your immune system is fighting against the disease.
There can be many causes of low immunity including stress, poor diet and environmental exposure. Some people tend to fall sick more easily than others. There are some precautionary steps you can take if you happen to be one of those people.
Here are some simple tips to help you strengthen your immunity and avoid taking those sick leaves!
1. SLEEP WELL
Sleep deprivation is known to have detrimental effects on immunity. This is most commonly noticed in college students who pull all-nighters for fun and are able to go through the day with the help of coffee (or at least that’s what they think!). Lack of sleep reduces our ability of fight germs and get back up from an illness. A daily sleep of 7 to 8 hours is essential. Other than that, a sleeping pattern is also important. You cannot complete your sleep in installments! It has to be an undisturbed stretch of slumber so that your body can brace itself. Avoid being in front of any bright screen like that of your phone or computer, right before you go to sleep.
2. BE CAREFUL WHILE USING PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
Sometimes people are too brave and powerful and so they go out in public even when they are sick, without taking precautions. Germs can be easily transmitted from an infected person through the things they have been in contact with. If you are going to a crowded place, don’t forget to carry a handkerchief to cover your nose and mouth to avoid inhaling germs. Sanitize your hands before eating anything if you think that you might not be able to wash them. Also, avoid eating too much of street food as they could be contaminated.
3. STOP TOUCHING YOUR NOSE OR MOUTH TOO OFTEN
Your nose and mouth are the most common passages through which germs and pathogens make their way into your system. We often keep touching our nose and mouth without realizing that we might have been in contact with germs. Sanitize your hands when you cannot wash them or carry wet tissues with you.
4. DON’T SMOKE AND DON’T BE AROUND A SMOKER
The ill effects of smoking are well known to all but it must be remembered that passive smoking can be equally harmful. Second hand smoke can cause inflammation of the respiratory system and aggravate the conditions for asthma patients or people with respiratory allergies. Inhaling smoke makes one susceptible to infections like flu, bronchitis and pneumonia.
5. CONSUME PROBIOTICS
Did you know that your digestion has a huge role to play in the maintenance of your immune system? Probiotics are the good bacteria present in your gut and they shield you from many infections. These can be obtained from consuming fermented products. Yogurt is a good source of probiotics. Other rich sources are – kefir, sauerkraut, kimchee. If you feel like you are unable to consume enough probiotics, you can take supplements after consulting your physician.
6. CUT DOWN YOUR SUGAR INTAKE
Sugar acts like an immunity depressant. One of best things you can do when you are fighting a disease is stop consuming sugar till the time you are completely cured. Natural sugars like honey can be consumed in moderation. Say a firm “no” to artificial sugar as they can do more harm than cane sugar. A high sugar content in the body also promotes the growth of bad bacteria and yeast. This results in acne, bad breath and lowered immunity.
7. DON’T STRESS TOO MUCH
There is a fairly negative relation between immunity and stress. Due to our present lifestyles, finding reasons to take stress is no big task. A person under too much stress is far more susceptible to catching infections than a person who is calm. Prolonged stress takes toll on our immunity and causes our body to release hormones which exhaust the body making it weak against pathogens. Under extreme stress, the number of germ fighting cells decreases considerably. Since it is understandably difficult to avoid stress in the first place, look for ways to reduce it. Exercising regularly can be a useful way of releasing stress. However, if you are looking for something more easy, go for an occasional spa or a massage.
8. DON’T TAKE TOO MANY ANTI-BIOTICS
Consuming too many anti-biotics every now and then can make the body resistant to their action. Over time, your body will not be able to resist serious infections. Another important aspect to consider is that you must never leave your antibiotic course incomplete. Make sure you take the medication for the prescribed time without fail as this will eliminate the cause completely. Try resorting to natural remedies for mild infections.
9. EAT THESE….
A good diet plays a very important role in maintaining a healthy immune system. Flu fighting foods include garlic and onions. Garlic contains anti-inflammatory compounds which help in treating viral attacks. You can consume 1 chopped clove with honey to give a boost to your immune system. However, you should discontinue doing this if you find that your body is not reacting well to it. Grains like Oats and Barley contain beta-glucan which is anti-microbial in nature. Mushrooms are known to increase the production of white blood cells. Sweet potatoes provide vitamin A which helps to promote the growth of connective tissues to provide a physical barrier against germs. Green tea and black tea provide antioxidants and increase the production of white blood cells.
10. AVOID EATING THESE……
Fried food is usually filled with negligible nutrition. It can also trigger inflammation of the gut leading to a reduced immune response. Sodas contain high amounts of sugar which slow down the immune action drastically and act as fodder for the bad bacteria present in our body. The phosphoric acid present in these can cause calcium and magnesium deficiency in the body.
It is worth mentioning that if you notice a pattern out of the way you keep falling ill, then you must consult your doctor. A lot of times, there could be an underlying allergy which could be making you uncomfortable and you will be surprised about how many of these go undetected because people just suppress the symptoms using over-the-counter medication. Consult your doctor to know more about any such issues.