The immune system is our body’s first line of defence against infections and other harmful invaders. Our immune system, which is made up of a network of cells, tissues, organs and proteins, does a super job of fighting against the microorganisms that cause diseases and acts as a shield that keeps the body healthy. Thus, a strong immune system is vital for good health.

But when the immunity of our body is compromised or weakened it reduces the natural resistance of the body to keep away bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites making it more susceptible to infections such as cold, cough and flu or sometimes even more serious ailments.

So what are the measures required to boost your immune system? Here are some simple but effective tips to improve your immunity…

  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle

The first thing you can do to improve your immune system is to follow good health guidelines to boost immunity naturally. Which means adopting a healthier way of living that includes no smoking, no drinking (or extremely moderate consumption of alcohol), eating well-cooked meals on time, staying away from junk & processed foods and carbonated drinks, keeping away from infections by washing your hands frequently, maintaining oral hygiene etc.

  • Stay fit

Regular physical activity, at least 30-45 minutes a day, such as walking, running, cycling, aerobics, swimming, dancing etc. is essential as it improves blood circulation, boosts brain functioning and slows down the release of stress hormones. Physical activity also helps in flushing bacteria out of the lungs and airways thus reducing the chances of catching a cold, cough or other illness. Exercise causes a change in antibodies and helps circulate white blood cells (WBC), which are the body’s immune system cells that fight disease. 

  • Drink enough water

Our body is 70% water, a crucial component of the immune system as drinking enough water is necessary to keep our body properly hydrated. Water performs the important functions of carrying oxygen to the body cells which ensures proper functioning of the vital organs and also flushes out toxins from the body and acts as a body temperature regulator. Make sure you drink at least 8 glasses of water every day.

  • Get a good night’s sleep

A good night’s sleep is essential for good health as our immune system releases proteins called cytokines, which help promote sleep, while we are asleep. Sleep deprivation can decrease the production of these cytokines as well as the production of infection-fighting antibodies and white blood cells. 

  • Stay calm and keep stress away

Our brain has a direct connection to immunity-related organs such as the thymus and bone marrow.  Also, our immune cells have receptors for neurotransmitters which, when happy and calm, have a positive impact on the HPA axis (the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) which regulates the immune system, hormones, digestion and stress levels. A happy state of mind releases endorphins, dopamine and serotonin, the feel-good hormones, whereas stress, increases the hormone cortisol which suppresses the immune function.

  • Eat well balanced nutritious meals

One of the most important factors to strengthen your immunity is to eat a healthy, well balanced, nutritious diet rich in fruits (blueberries, oranges, kiwis etc.), vegetables (spinach, broccoli, red bell peppers, sweet potatoes etc.), probiotics such as yoghurt or drinks such as kefir (good bacteria to boost gut health), fish  (salmon, tuna etc.) and nuts (almonds, sunflower seeds etc.). Incorporate ginger, turmeric, garlic in your cooking as they are known immunity boosters. These foods have multiple nutrients such as vitamins, antioxidants, flavonoids, fibre, vital minerals all necessary to boost the immune system.

In addition to these immunity improving tips, there are supplements that may help in improving immunity. But any medication needs to be taken only under the guidance of your doctor.

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