Boosting immunity becomes the first step to when it comes to preventive health. Immunity is the first and last line of defence in the human body against every disease known to us. And it is not just about prevention. How soon you recover from a disease/infection, is also a marker of immunity.
No matter what medication you take or what medication you need to be on, we can never forget that the human body is built with an intelligent and brilliant system called immunity and that is the system which will protect you, will prevent and will help heal diseases. We live in a heavily infested environment already, but it’s our immunity working for us every day and night that prevents us from falling sick.
Our immunity revolves around 4 pillars: Kind of food we eat (fresh, chemical free and local fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, spices), Quality of sleep every night, Stable Emotional health and last but not the least adequate Movement and activity through the day.
Following are the simple ways to boost your immunity
Consuming the right superfood and nutrients:
- Immunity Boosting Powder: This specially formulated mix has the combination of several top immunity boosting spices [Organic Turmeric powder (Haldi), Cumin seeds (Jeera), Coriander Seeds ( Dhaniya), Fennel seeds ( Saunf / Variyali), Dry Ginger Powder ( Saunth), Whole black pepper ( Kali Mirch), SriLankan Rolled Cinnamon powder ( Dalchini), Cardamom powder/pods ( whole Elaichi) ] that have the capacity of feeding your immune system the right way. One can make this at home or buy ready-made if hard-pressed for time. You can carry this packet with you while travelling and even give it to your kids. It’s easy and effective.
Ways to add in diet: Mix 1/4th to ½ tsp in a warm glass of water, and add a little raw honey or lemon juice to it, can be taken empty stomach.
- Star anise: It contains a very powerful ingredient called Shikimic acid. Shikimic acid is the ingredient in Tamiflu too which is a vaccine against flu infections. When it comes to spices, it’s one of the richest sources of vitamin A, vitamin C and the B vitamins which are all the vitamins which contribute to great immunity when it comes to prevention and healing. Also, the vitamin C and antioxidants that the star anise contains helps you with the repair and recovery of your body.
Ways to add in diet: Drop 2-3-star anise in a warm glass of water or a cup of green tea, after 10-15 mins of soaking in that, you can remove this spice and sip slowly.
- Basil seeds: They are rich in iron, protein, vitamin A, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese and folic acid and so it plays a huge role when it comes to immunity. You must be careful with the proportion as it lowers estrogen, so overdoing it may not be a good idea.
Ways to add in diet: You can soak a tablespoon of basil seeds in a bottle overnight and add to your bottle of drinking water or top your vegetable smoothies with this. You can also make as a tonic in warm water with lemon, ginger and raw honey.
- Ginger: Specific compounds in ginger such as gingerols and zingerone, have been found to
Boost immunity and prevent viruses from entering host cells. It is one of the oldest known spices used in Chinese medicines as well.
Ways to add in the diet: You can brew freshly cut ginger and add other spices like cinnamon, clove, cardamom, turmeric and make a concoction out of it. It can also be used in the famous Chai tea of India, in soups, curries as well as juices.
- Onion and garlic: Garlic contains several compounds including allicin that have antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. Together, they boost your immune system. Onions have quercetin and other sulphur containing compounds which depict similar qualities. It’s a best practice to cut onions and garlic for some time before using them as air exposure will activate the active compounds present in onion and garlic.
Ways to add in the diet: You can infuse raw garlic in raw honey and consume every morning up to 1-2 cloves. Onions can be had raw along with your meals.
- Cruciferous vegetables:Cruciferous vegetables are the gold standard in immune-boosting vegetables due to the presence of sulphur compounds in them. When cruciferous vegetables are chopped, sulphur containing compounds are converted to isothiocyanates (ITCs) which have infinite proven immune-boosting capabilities. Some of the examples of these vegetables include: Spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, radish etc. People suffering from hypothyroidism should prefer consuming only in cooked form.
Ways to include in the diet: You can mix 2-3 vegetables and make soup, curry or juice out of it. To enhance the properties further, you can add lemon, turmeric, black pepper and ginger over it. Prefer consuming in raw form only if you’re procuring organic ones or growing your own. If procuring from the market then it would be best to cook it before consuming. You can top soup with immunity boosting powder as well.
- Turmeric: This golden spice has been used more than 100 years ago due to it anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antioxidant properties. Curcumin has a huge therapeutic value as boosting immunity is one of its most important properties.
Ways to include in diet: You can sprinkle over salad, curries, soups, juices etc. Lot of people also prefer consuming milk. It works best when mixed with black pepper and a good fat source like organic A2 ghee / coconut oil.
- Coconut oil: Lauric acid present in cold pressed coconut oil is a natural antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral. It also boosts our immune system by improving white blood cell counts, which helps the body directly fight viruses.
Ways to include in diet: You can make it a norm to use a tablespoon of virgin raw cold pressed coconut oil for oil pulling as soon as you wake up which helps to clear your oral cavity and thus aids in better immunity. You can add a tsp or two over soups or warm water or as a salad dressing too.
- Moringa: Moringa is a powerful immunity booster and thus has both preventative and curative properties. It’s found that the leaves of moringa contain all the essential amino acids, vitamin C, zinc and other antioxidants that can help boost the immune system.
Ways to include: You can use fresh leaves to sprinkle over salad, or you can make chutney out of it or simply add powdered form in a glass of water and sip on it slowly.
- Proteins: Proteins are building blocks of the body. Not only the quantity of protein matters but also the quality of proteins and how our body breaks down protein into amino acids. Our immunity uses amino acids thus making proteins an essential part of the meal.
Ways to include in the diet: You can consider having quality protein like a combination of cereal and a pulse, or good quality dairy products, organic free-range eggs, organic hormone free chicken, sprouts, nuts and oilseeds, roasted chana, sattu etc in a day to day routine.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D helps our immune systems stay balanced. There are Vitamin D receptors and activating enzymes on the surfaces of all White Blood Cells. Low levels of vitamin D will often result in compromised immunity.
Lifestyle modifications for better immunity:
- Gut Health: it’s wise to boost our gut health as 80% percent of our immunity depends on gut health.Add foods rich in probiotics (rice kanji, fermented vegetables, homemade pickles, sauerkraut, good quality A2 yogurt) along with good prebiotics (garlic, banana, Apple cider vinegar, apple, onions) in the plan daily.
- Sleep: People with poor sleep routine often experience compromised immunity because most of the growth, repair and detoxification takes place at night. A minimum of 6-8 hours of sound night’s sleep is needed to make sure immunity stays intact.
- Smoking: Both active as well as passive smoking can affect the lung health leading to poor exchange of gases in and out of the body. Also, smoking depletes Vitamin C which is one of the best nutrients when it comes to boosting immunity.
- Exercise: A minimum of 30-40 mins of workout per day will make sure the circulatory system as well as the waste disposal system aka lymphatic system stays active. Also, doing a couple of minutes of pranayama per day will ensure improved lung capacity and more oxygen in the body.
- Hygiene: it’s important to have some personal hygiene ethics to wash hands before eating anything and to avoid touching nose, eyes and mouth often. Also, groceries coming in the kitchen should be well cleaned and stored.
- It’s worth giving up on refined white sugar for multiple reasons from inflammation to cancer to lipid profile etc. Sugar suppresses immunity almost immediately, so avoid refined white sugar and rather look for better substitutes like jaggery powder, raw honey, dates etc.
- Emotional health also has a great impact on immunity. 2 of the common emotions – FEAR and WORRY can be an obstacle towards building your immunity. Stress raises cortisol levels (stress hormone) and cortisol can turn off immunity immediately. You can handle these better with self-visualisations or affirmations.
- Hydration: Hydration is a must! Drink adequate water (upto2- 3 litre) as that shall help in easy transport of nutrients through the trillions of cells in the body. You may want to seek medical advice if you’re on water restriction or having any kind of kidney disorder.
- One can consider doing steam inhalations once in a week for a couple of minutes to make sure nasal passage and respiratory health is fine. You can add a few drops of eucalyptus or oregano essential oil too in the water before you take steam inhalations.
These are some of the simple ways to make sure you’re boosting your immunity in the right way. One needs to make sure it’s not the one thing that will work for you, it’s often a combination of all lifestyle pillars which needs to be reviewed in order to improve your immunity.
In addition to this, you can refer and download this pdf for a ready reckoner: