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How to boost your immune system? Photo: The Bridge Chronicle

Like the Army, the immune system is an intricate network of units that act together to combat invaders, in this case bacteria, viruses and other "enemies."

Since it is a system of many parts, not a single unit, it cannot technically be boosted. However, it can be strengthened to run efficiently in order to fight off diseases. Keep your body's soldiers fit and ready by living a healthy lifestyle.

Improve Your Diet

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Healthy Diet. Photo: Elemental - Medium

The food you eat plays a key aspect in determining your overall health and immunity. Eat low carb diets, as this will help control high blood sugar and pressure. A low carb diet will help slow down diabetes and focus on a protein-rich diet to keep you in good shape. And regularly consume vegetables and fruits rich in Beta carotene, Ascorbic acid & other essential vitamins. Certain foods like mushrooms, tomato, bell pepper and green vegetables like broccoli, spinach are also good options to build resilience in the body against infections.

You can also eat supplements rich in omega 3 & 6 fatty acids for your daily dose, if stepping out to buy groceries is not an option during social distancing. Some natural immunity supplements include ginger, gooseberries (amla) and turmeric. Some of these superfoods are common ingredients in Indian dishes and snacks. There are several herbs that help in boosting immunity like garlic, Basel leaves and Black cumin. Certain seeds and nuts like sunflower seeds, Flax seed, pumpkin seeds and melon seeds are excellent sources of protein and vitamin E.

Probiotics like Yoghurt, Yakult and fermented food are also excellent sources to rejuvenate the composition of gut bacteria, which is important for nutrient absorption by the body. These are good options for the older generation too, according to Narayana Health.

Do Exercise

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Do exercise. Photo: Youtube

A good diet should be followed by an exercise routine. Remember to exercise regularly; even light exercise will go a long way in releasing the toxins from your body. It is recommended to exercise for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on your stamina. If you have not started exercising yet, then it is a good time to start. There are several Youtube channels and apps to help you exercise at home. Regular exercise improves metabolism, which has a direct correlation with body immunity.

Lower stress levels

Although you should practice lowering your stress levels year-round practicing amid this virus outbreak is particularly important as stress directly impacts your immune system. Find ways to lower stress levels by meditating, exercising and controlled breathing techniques, as cited by FMOLHS.

  • Practice meditation
    • Too much stress releases the hormone known as cortisol, which impairs your response to immediate surroundings and makes your body susceptible to infections; you are left feeling constantly anxious. The best way to relieve stress is through meditation, it is a tried and tested activity to calm the nerves. If you need help meditating, then there are several channels on youtube that have instructional resources to help you meditate.
  • Avoid Smoking, alcohol and other addictive substances
    • Certain habits like smoking, vaping, alcohol consumption and substance abuse have a direct correlation between weakened body defences and respiratory illnesses. Engaging in smoking and vaping is proven to weaken your lung capacity and destroy the cells lining your respiratory tracts, these cells are crucial to fight viruses that enter through your nasal orifices. There is new research claiming that individuals who engage in heavy alcohol consumption tend to suffer from ARDS (Acute Respiratory distress syndrome) which is one of the conditions caused by Covid 19 infection. Practice moderation, if you are dependent on any of these, as sudden withdrawal can also prove to be risky.
  • Traveling
    • Avoid all kinds of non-essential travels. Most Covid 19 positive cases are imported cases, which later spread to the communities. Avoid being exposed to the public transport system and public places to avoid any likelihood of exposure. In case you have to travel, make sure to cover your nose and mouth with a mask and carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, at all times. Remember to sanitize each time you touch a surface, as Covid 19 strain can stay on surfaces for a few hours to days. Use your non-dominant hand while accessing the doorknobs and handles, as these are frequently touched by many people.

Stay Hydrated

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Drinking water. Photo: Ltl.cat

Drink up to 8-10 glasses of water every day, to stay hydrated. Hydration will help flush out the toxins from the body and lower the chances of flu. Other alternatives include juices made of citrus fruits and coconut water, to beat the heat.

What makes up our immune system and what is best way of keeping yours healthy?

Your immune system is an intricate network of cells, tissues, and organs that band together to defend your body against foreign invaders – things like germs, viruses and bacteria. A healthy immune system protects you by creating a barrier that stops those invaders from entering your body. If one happens to slip by, it starts to produce white blood cells and other chemicals that attack and destroy these foreign substances. If your immune system can’t get rid of the invader before it starts to reproduce, it simply revs up even more to destroy the invaders as they multiply.

In addition to blood cells and chemicals that physically attack germs, your skin, lungs, digestive tract, saliva and tears are also all involved in the immune response. That’s why washing you hands and not touching your face are so important too.

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