What is Immunity?
In short, the condition of being immune. Immunity can be innate’ for example, humans are innately immune to canine distemper’ or conferred by a previous infection or immunization. The different parts of the immune system play unique roles in protecting the body against infection.
The idea of boosting your immunity is enticing, but the ability to do so has proved elusive for several reasons. The immune system is precisely that — a system, not a single entity. To function well, it requires balance and harmony. There is still much that researchers don’t know about the intricacies and interconnectedness of the immune response. For now, there are no scientifically proven direct links between lifestyle and enhanced immune function.
Here are 8 things what you need to avoid to improve your immunity:
1. Toxic Foods
You may or may not accept but this is one major reason to cause weaken immunity. Avoid unnatural substances like food additives, artificial colors and flavors and preservatives found in commercial food. Prolonged and excessive consumption of refined sugars and highly processed foods containing chemical additives, preservatives, and pesticides weakens the immune system. The chances of developing chronic conditions increase because of this. The ability of the white blood cells to kill bacteria reduces significantly after consumption of sugar. Therefore, it is very important to include lots of vegetables, fruits, low-fat milk, and whole grains.
2. Not Exercising
“The importance of physical exercise on our body’s immune system and well-being cannot be overemphasized. Exercise boosts circulation and makes the lungs perform better. Our body is able to flush out pathogens as well as other bacteria and virus. Exercising outdoors exposes us to sunlight, fresh air, and vitamin D. Hence, even if heavy exercise is not possible, a brisk walk in the open can be very helpful,” Dr. Prashant says.
3. Taking Too Much Stress
Persistent or chronic stress can wreak havoc on the body’s immune system. Chronic stress leads to higher cortisol production leading to inflammation. This further has a cascading effect on the immune system sending it in on overdrive. Such a response from the body can complicate allergies and lead to diseases germinating out of autoimmunity. Meditation, deep breathing exercises and various forms of yoga are known to be effective in combating stress. According to studies, meditation also leads to an increase in anti-infection antibodies and activates the region of the brain responsible for immunity.
4. Not Maintaining Good Hygiene
Most infections develop due to touching contaminated surfaces and then touching our eyes, nose or mouth. The possibility of infections can be reduced by habits such as brushing your teeth twice daily, properly washing your hands before consuming food and trimming nails to keep them neat and tidy. A poor hygiene routine exposes the body to more germs which ultimately results in a weak immune system. Therefore, maintaining good hygiene is a great way to increase immunity.
“It is the presence of nicotine, an addictive drug that makes people continue smoking. Besides nicotine, cigarette smokers inhale nearly 7000 other chemicals. Many of these chemicals are actively involved in causing damage to the body. It must be noted that tobacco smoke has more than 70 famous cancer-causing chemicals and it has been proven that smoking negatively impacts almost every organ, ” says Dr. Prashant Kumar Dash, Director-Medical Services at Medlife.
6. Not Eating Fruits & Vegetables
Vitamins and minerals are capable of nutritionally boosting immunity. Consumption of organic whole foods like fruits, vegetables, green tea, honey, herbs, nuts, and seeds can enhance our body’s defense against infections and diseases. Citrus fruits have a high concentration of Vitamin C which can be effective in combating cold and flu symptoms. Foods like yogurt, homemade pickles, etc. contain bacteria that are of a friendlier kind and strongly defend our gut immunity. Honey is famous as a cure for sore throats but also contains a higher number of antioxidants and antimicrobial properties which help the body fight bacteria, fungus and viral infections.
7. Not Getting Proper Sleep
It is essential to sleep sufficiently. Sleep is the phase when our body recovers from the physical, emotional and mental duress of daily life. Inadequate sleep forces the body to react in the same way as it would under stress. This further leads to inflammation and also suppresses the immune system.
8. Having Too Many Coffee
Coffee has some antioxidants. But high acid levels of coffee may prevent the absorption of calcium, magnesium, and potassium from food. It may also dehydrate the body. Green tea is a healthier alternative. Green tea contains disease-fighting polyphenols and flavonoids which are effective antioxidants that identify cell-damaging free radicals and destroy them. Therefore, drinking green tea is a great way to increase immunity.