Ways to Boost the Immune System Naturally & Stay Healthy This Winter!
01-12-2017 | Posted By: Chhavi | 1210 View(s)
Cold and flu are common health problems during the winter season. It is important to strengthen the immune system to prevent diseases during this time of year. There are innumerable ways to boost the immune system naturally and keep yourself protected against winter disease such as cold, flu, fever and so on.
Best Ways to Boost the Immune System
1. Start your Day with a Healthy Breakfast
You must have heard many times that one should never skip breakfast. Out of all the meals in a day- Breakfast is the most important one. According to researchers, people who do not eat breakfast have more chances of developing winter illnesses, especially the common cold. Not eating breakfast causes your blood sugars to drop and make you feel anxious and nauseous and also increase your sugar cravings. This can increase the release of stress hormones- cortisol which can then put your body in a state of fight or flight that lowers your immunity.
So, make it a habit of waking up early and eating a healthy breakfast. Your breakfast meal should be rich in fibre, protein, vitamins and good carbs. You can include healthy foods such as eggs, nuts, protein smoothies, whole grain bread, poha, etc. to your breakfast meal.
2. Catch Some Sun Rays
Experts claim that vitamin D plays a significant role in activating White Blood Cells in the body that protect the body from illnesses. Vitamin D increases the production of Natural killer (NK) cells, which are a type of lymphocyte, (a white blood cell) and a major component of the innate immune system. One of the best sources of Vitamin D is sunlight. You must get some sunshine to get your daily dose of vitamin D. It is best to get yourself exposed to sunlight early morning when the sunrays are not so strong. Some of the other healthy sources of vitamin D are milk, mushrooms, eggs, orange juice, cod liver oil and salmon.
3. Drink Green Tea
Green tea contains epigallocatechin gallate, a type of flavonoid that fights viruses and bacteria, and increases the production of immune cells. On top of that, green tea is an excellent source of antioxidants. Consuming green tea on a regular basis helps in boosting immunity and preventing stroke, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
4. Love Green Veggies
Leafy green vegetables are packed with phytonutrients. A recent study has shown that green vegetables are the source of a chemical signal that is essential for a fully functioning immune system. These chemical signals are responsible for the proper functioning of immune cells in the digestive tract and skin. So, add green leafy vegetables to your diet to give your metabolism a boost.
5. Say ‘Hello’ to Zinc
It is essential to provide your body with zinc to boost immunity. Zinc boosts the development and functioning of neutrophils and natural killer (NK) cells that help in boosting immunity. On top of that, zinc has antioxidant properties that help in strengthening the mucosal lining of the throat, nasal pathways and gastrointestinal tract, which in turn reduces the ability of viruses to pass into the body.
Hence, add food containing zinc into your diet to enhance your immunity. Some of the rich sources of zinc are seafood, spinach, kale, pumpkin, nuts, cocoa, chicken, beans and mushrooms.
6. Don’t Take Sleep for Granted
Many people today have the habit of watching movies and TV series till late at night, without realising that by doing so, they are ruining their health. Lack of sleep increase cortisol levels in the body which contributes to stress and, in turn, weakens the immune system. Besides, sleep deprivation also lowers your T-cell count, which in turn, reduces the ability of your body to fight off disease. Getting enough sleep improves mood, boost energy levels, prevents strokes and prevent weight gain. Ensure that you get at least seven to eight hours of quality sleep daily. Also, you must make it a habit of going to bed early and waking up early to reap all the benefits of healthy sleep.
7. Stay Happy
Staying happy is one of the best ways to boost the immune system. We know that it is hard not to take stress at all. Everyone feels stressed at one point or the other, but one should try and manage stress to stay healthy and fit. When we take the stress, we don’t even realise to what extent we are ruining our health. Chronic stress increase cortisol levels in the body, which affect the immune system functioning adversely.
We understand that it takes time to manage stress, but one should try some tips to lower stress levels. Yoga and meditation is an excellent way to get rid of stress. You can also take up some hobby classes to divert your mind from stressful thoughts. Do what makes you happy and try to beat stress on your own. If you are not able to manage stress by yourself, then do consult a Doctor.
8. Eat Garlic
Garlic is used all around the globe in the winter season to boost the immune system. Eating garlic is without any doubt one of the best ways to boost the immune system. Garlic is a natural antibiotic, antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal agent and helps in protecting the body against a variety of illnesses. Besides, garlic is rich in vitamin C and B6 along with the minerals manganese and selenium that help in boosting the immune system.
Simply, eat two to three raw cloves of garlic on an empty stomach every day. You can also add crushed garlic to your dishes. But, make sure not to cook garlic too much because doing so can destroy its active compounds.
9. Add Turmeric to Diet
Vitamin B6 deficiency in the body makes it difficult for the lymphocytes’ to mature and convert into various types of T and B-cells. Turmeric contains vitamin B6 and other minerals like manganese, iron and potassium that keeps the immune system strong. Also, it has antioxidants that neutralise free radicals and help your immune system function effectively. Adding turmeric to diet is one of the best ways to boost the immune system naturally.
Take one teaspoon of turmeric powder and boil it in one cup of milk. Or you can simply add the turmeric in hot milk. Mix in some honey and drink it. Do this every day before going to bed.
10. Be Friends with Probiotics
You will be amazed to know that about 70% of our immune system is located in our digestive system. Probiotics, the good bacteria helps keep our gut healthy and boosts the digestive system. Eating probiotic foods that are fermented such as soy, yoghurt, kefir, etc. helps in nourishing the digestive tract, thereby enhancing your immune system. This is one of the best and easiest ways to boost the immune system.
So, these were the top ten ways to boost the immune system naturally. Eat a healthy diet and hit the gym to stay healthy and fit this winter.