Over the last few days I have been witnessing bombardment of messages across the media about washing hands until you finish singing “Happy Birthday” song twice, wearing masks if you are coughing or sneezing, elbow bumping in place of hand shakes, the fact is that, all the above is important to avoid exposure to infections, however an important aspect is completely missed out, that “Your Immunity” is the only defence in case you are exposed.
A Healthy human body has a robust immune system that can fight deadly viruses, bacteria and parasites. Each day we are exposed to a host of germs but we do not get actually infected . The reason is our Immune system.
Immunity is not a single entity. To function well, it requires balance and harmony of various factors.
Simple yet effective strategies to boost immunity are
Having a balanced diet
Eating on time
Maintaining healthy weight
Getting adequate sleep
Minimising physical and mental stress
Avoid smoking tobacco and keep alcohol consumption in moderation
As I started thinking about this, I realised that this topic is far too critical to wrap up in a single page communication, hence I felt the need to write an immunity series which would benefit the community at large .
Diet and Immune System – PART 1
Diet and immune system has a very close connect, healthy immune response requires regular nourishment with an array of nutrients. Deficiency of certain micronutrients like Zinc, Selenium, Iron, Copper, Folic Acid, Vitamin A, B6, Vitamin C & Vitamin E can impair the immune response .
After reading the above the natural response of the reader would be “So What Do I Do?” On an immediate basis we can fortify our diets with the following foods to ensure Bio availability of the above micronutrients for adequate immune response.
Proteins : Ensure adequate intake of good quality proteins from Eggs, Fish, Milk. Milk products like curd, buttermilk, cheese. Pulses and beans (especially sprouted), dals etc
Vitamins: For adequate intake of vitamins have 4-5 servings of fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables. Yellow, orange fruits and coloured vegetables are especially rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C & B Complex , Incorporate dark green leafy vegetables, Citrus fruits & Amla in your diet.
Minerals: For intake of Zinc and Selenium, consume Fish, Meat, Eggs, spinach and other leafy vegetables, cumin seeds & turmeric. Sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds & Nuts are an excellent source of Iron. Lemon squeezed on food will enhance iron absorption multiple times .
Fluids: Keep yourself well hydrated by drinking enough water, coconut water, lemon water, hot soups, broths and beverages. Minimise intake of sugar.
Avoid eating refined processed foods, junk foods that are poor in nutrients.
Consuming fresh, hygienically prepared home cooked food is always the best.
Avoid foods having Pesticides & Preservatives as they affect stomach lining and destroy healthy gut bacteria.
Have a variety of foods with Pre & Probiotic bacteria like homemade curd, buttermilk and fermented foods.
Ensure adequate Vitamin D Levels in the body. You can get this checked and start supplements as recommended by your doctor.
Choose Omega 3 Fats which are found in Fish, Fish oils, Flax Seeds, Flax seed oil & Walnuts which enhances the immune response.
The above guidelines are strongly recommended for maintaining healthy immunity in the general population, however PEOPLE WITH PRE EXISTING HEALTH CONDITIONS LIKE DIABETES, HEART PATIENTS, PEOPLE ON BLOOD THINNERS ETC. SHOULD CONSULT THEIR PHYSICIANS FOR SPECIFIC ADVISE RELATED TO ANY DIET CHANGES.
I am urging everyone reading this article to forward it to your friends, family and relatives for the benefits and well-being of all.
- By Geetanjali Chitale
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org