With the ongoing pandemic, till the time herd immunity is achieved, a healthy immune system is our best weapon against the Coronavirus
Even as the Coronavirus pandemic seems to be slowing down, with drives to provide vaccinations against the disease gearing up, people should not let their guards down against the virus. And as we all know, one of the best defences against the Coronavirus is a healthy immune system which can not only help in preventing infection but also ensure a speedy recovery. To get a better picture of the changes in lifestyle and diet that can help to improve the body’s immune system Dr Shikha Sharma, MD at Nutri-Health Systems Pvt Ltd shares a few valuable insights.
“To protect our body from bacterial and viral infections our immune system works constantly. Most of the time our Immune system gets affected due to bad eating habits, stress, improper sleep and unhealthy lifestyle. A healthy immune system can protect us from various infections” says Dr Sharma.
To boost immunity naturally, she suggests “Add more colours to your plate”.
A few changes in diet can go a long way in boosting and maintaining a healthy immune system and thus the body’s response against harmful pathogens. Dr Sharma suggests including vegetables and fruits like carrots, spinach, dark green leafy vegetables, tomatoes and citrus fruits in daily diet.
Some of the citrus fruits that should be included in daily diet to ensure a healthy immune system include sweet lime, lemon, oranges, amla to boost immunity. “These fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and minerals such as A, C, E and D, zinc, magnesium and selenium” she adds.
Another part of ensuring a healthy immune system is to improve gut health. Dr Sharma suggests using probiotics and prebiotics for ensuring a healthy gut. She says that “Probiotics (friendly bacteria) are found in food such as yoghurt, kefir etc. Prebiotics are food that promotes the growth of friendly bacteria in our body such as garlic, oats, beans, legumes etc”.
Apart from these she also says that regular consumption of nuts and seeds should be included in regular diet. Some of them she says are “Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds and pumpkin seeds for Omega 3, fibre, Vitamin E, zinc and selenium.
Other than changes in diet, Dr Sharma also suggests the use of Ayurveda measures to boost immunity. She suggests the use of karha, made from tulsi, cinnamon, black pepper, dried ginger, raisins and jaggery once or twice in a day. She also suggests the inclusion of decoction or spice like spices like ginger, turmeric, cumin, garlic, black pepper in cooking.
She also suggests taking “decoction or including Nasyam Therapy – Apply 2-3 drops of sesame oil/mustard oil, almond oil in both the nostrils morning and night”.
Along with the changes in diet, she also advocates the use of steam inhalation. For this, “Boil 1 small piece of ginger, 3-4 leaves of mint,1 gm carom seeds (ajwain), 1-2 black pepper in a pint of water. Turn off the stove, put a towel over your head, and inhale the steam daily or at least once in a week.
Dr Shamra also stresses on the need to ensure an active lifestyle. She says “Include any form of physical activity in your routine. You can include yoga, dancing, any outdoor game or walking in your daily lifestyle. Exercising daily makes a person healthy, active and disease-free. Sunshine improves natural Vit D in the body which boosts immunity. She also recommends the consumption of immune booster supplements such as Ayush Kwath, Tulsi, Turmeric, and Ashwagandha regularly.
Fighting off a pandemic the likes of which most of have not seen in their lifetime is not easy, especially one which is airborne. In such a scenario the strength of a community to fight against diseases rests on its weakest links as such ensuring a healthy immune system with a healthy lifestyle can go a long way in improving the fighting chances of not just individuals but also the community. As such individuals should work towards a healthier lifestyle with a healthy immune system.
- Make sure to wear a face mask and gloves before going out.
- Carry a handy liquid soap, or any alcohol-based hand sanitiser in your bag
- Use your own glass, mug, bottle and spoon, do not share cutlery with anyone else in the office.
- Maintain 6 feet distance from other colleagues and keep a check on your temperature