The immune system works as the body’s defence mechanism against infections and diseases. Its major function is to kill and prevent the spread of bacteria, viruses and disease-causing microorganisms, therefore, leading to the overall protection of the body from foreign invasion. There are different factors born out of our daily lifestyle that contribute to the building ground for the depletion of the immune system.
Before jumping to the part where we tell you what all foods act as the immune system booster, it is important to know, what are the daily life habits that secretly spoil the functioning of our body’s inbuilt fighter-
1. Disturbed Sleeping Habits
Our body’s sleep cycle affects the entire metabolism in several ways. It is during sleep that our body carries out most of the repairing mechanism. Moreover, a hormone called Melatonin is released majorly during sleep. It strengthens the immune system and prevents the advent of several diseases. Less sleep means less melatonin, hence a weaker immune system.
2. Poor Diet
Good nutrition leads to a healthy psychological, physical and emotional health. Yet, most of us are unable to consume the required daily intake of nutrients due to busy work schedules. Maintaining a good diet is essential for the proper functioning of the immune system.
3. Lack of Exercise
Lack of physical activity weakens a person’s immunity besides increasing the risk of several cardiovascular diseases. Exercising boosts the immune system and enhances its capability to produce more helper T- cells, which are a type of white blood cell that engulfs microorganisms and bacteria.
4. Smoking and Drinking
Tobacco and alcohol kill the immune cells and lower its activity. A simple cigarette contains more than 3000 toxins which affect the body from head to toe. Excessive alcohol consumption is known to destroy antibodies, white blood cells and inhibit the production of new blood cells.
Hydration is the key to a healthy mind and body. It is extremely necessary for the immune system as water helps to drain out toxins and waste materials from the body, thus enabling the immune system to function efficiently.
6. Inevitable Stress
Stress affects the entire body to a great extent. It affects the release of hormones, cardiovascular system, neurological system and the immune system. Stress weakens the function of antibodies and helper T-cells. It also intrudes in their manufacturing process, ultimately weakening the immune system. Researchers have proved that happiness and care-free people have low levels of cortisol (stress hormone) in their body, besides having stronger immunity.
Now that you know which everyday habits have been affecting your immune system in the most adverse way possible, its time for us to make you aware of the food intake that can help you in the reimbursement.
Foods that Act as Immune System Boosters:
- Luscious Watermelon: One of the best summer fruits, watermelon is not only an impeccable hydrator for our body but also a delicious immune booster. It enhances the production and function of the immune cells like helper T- cells and other lymphocytes due to the high Vitamin A content. It contains significant amounts of the essential Vitamin B6 which enhances the production of antibodies and thus increases the body’s resistance against infections and microbial invasions. Vitamin B6 is also necessary for a healthy metabolism. Watermelons are also rich in Vitamin C, which further aggrandize immunity. The delectable watermelon can be consumed directly or in the form of a refreshing salad, sherbet or ice-cream.
- Yummy Yoghurt: Probably the most healthy and beneficial milk product, yoghurt is a natural probiotic. Live or cultured yoghurt contains more amounts of ‘good bacteria’ like Lactobacillus that keep the entire digestive tract hale and hearty. Yoghurt keeps the gut healthy, lowers the ‘bad’ LDL (Low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, promotes the absorption of nutrients, minerals and vitamins in the blood. All these benefits add up to an increasingly efficient immune system. The probiotic bacteria also prevent allergies and the advent of degenerative autoimmune disorders like Alzheimer’s. Yoghurt can be consumed directly or can be used as a key component of salads, smoothies, marinates and in sandwiches instead of mayonnaise.
- Splendid Spinach: Spinach is a widely consumed superfood due to its high content of immense nutrients like proteins, essential vitamins and fibres. The green leaves of spinach are also loaded with antioxidants and beta carotene, both of which are known to enhance the efficiency of our immune system. Firstly, spinach protects and encourages the production of the cells of our immune system like – white blood cells, macrophages, T-cells and B cells. The antioxidants help in getting rid of free radicals and impurities of the body, thereby cleaning the vascular system and internal organs. The nutrients and vitamins of spinach prevent and repair any sort of genetic and DNA damage of the cells and increase the repairing ability of the body’s immune system. Maximum benefits from spinach can be received by eating it raw or slightly blanched in order to keep nutrients intact.
- Bewitching Broccoli: One of the most famous and sought after superfoods nowadays, broccoli is highly consumed all over the world due to its immense quantities of immune boosters and nutrients. Broccoli contains large quantities of Vitamin C, which boosts immunity apart from minerals like beta-carotene, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and iron. It also contains a host B-vitamins. Broccoli is also rich in the antioxidant glutathione which prevents infections. Since most children and adults are not a big fan of broccoli, yet it should be consumed. Broccoli can be added in stews and soups or can be consumed as a healthy salad with a good dressing.
- Gentle Garlic: Garlic has been used since the dawn of mankind as a healer and natural medicine. Garlic has antioxidants, antibacterial, antiviral and antiseptic properties. The active ingredients in garlic destroy the harmful free radicals in our body. Thus boosting the immunity. It has been used in treating common colds, prevention against Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular diseases. Recent studies have also proved that garlic possesses anti-cancer properties that secure and protect our body and immune system. It is advisable for everyone to chew a pod of raw garlic daily. It can also be added to salads, soups, curries and sandwiches.
- Plesant Pomegranate: Packed densely with beneficial nutrients like Vitamin K, antioxidants, Vitamin C, fibres, potassium, calcium, iron, Vitamin A, folate and proteins, pomegranate is a divine fruit which gives a strong boost to the immune system and rejuvenates the body. It purifies the blood, improves cardiovascular health and enhances blood flow leading to a healthier metabolism. It also helps in preventing oxidative damage to the cells. Vitamin C, along with the antioxidants prevents the advent of infections and increases resistance to microbial invasions. This bright red immune system booster can be consumed directly or in the form of salads, juices or addition to stews and meat dishes.
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