The onset of monsoon season brings about a host of infections, allergies, cold and flu with it. The body is most susceptible to infection if it is weak and in a state of imbalance. Hard to digest foods or unhealthy eating habits compromise immunity and health. Building a healthy immune system is not rocket science, in fact, a lot of it is common sense.
So how do we support robust immunity? Here are some essential tips to remember -
1. Your first line of defense is to choose a healthy lifestyle.
2. Do not compromise on sleep: Sleep is absolutely essential to the immune system. Sleep deprivation severely compromises immunity. Studies show that sleep deprived animals suffer total loss of their immune function. It is the same with humans. Follow a regular sleep pattern, try going to bed and getting up at the same time each day. It's important to have a restful sleep for 7-8 hours each night.
3. Manage stress: Stress was not a part of our vocabulary in past generations. Life was slower, more relaxed. Now it's an integral part of our lives. Excess stress completely depletes our immune response because stress hormones very effectively suppress the immune system. If stress is persistent, you have to reprogram your response to stressful situations. Over time, a daily meditation practice can truly re-pattern the brain. Yoga also helps to dissipate tension, clear stagnation and encourage fluidity throughout the tissues.
Immunity Boosting Foods
Here are few herbs, spices and other foods that support the immune system:
1. Black Pepper:
Available whole, crushed or ground into powder, most Indian homes use black pepper for a reason. This healing pepper is carminative; it discourages intestinal gas, and warms the body so it promotes sweating, which helps rid the body of toxins. A study showed that the growth of several bacteria types was inhabited when black pepper was introduced. It was concluded that black pepper may contain not only anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-bacterial and fever reducing actions but immune system enhancing properties as well.
2. Ginger Garlic Shots
Ginger and garlic are like an elixir for our body. Their super anti-inflammatory properties bring relief to those horrid body aches. They help soothe away nausea too.
Juice a thumb sized piece of ginger, one lemon, 2-4 cloves of garlic and one carrot. Try these shots to strengthen the immune system, because this juice has antiseptic, anti-fungal and nutritive properties.
Our very own basil provides immense relief from respiratory disorders, fever, asthma and lung disorders. It is no doubt then, that tulsi has been worshiped for its endless miraculous and medicinal value. A few leaves dropped in drinking water can help purify it and kill certain germs within it. Tulsi is so powerful that even smelling it has healing properties, thus it being used in aromatherapy.
4. Turmeric and Honey
An exceptional combination for seasonal allergies. Trusted for many years, these powerful natural healers, when blended together, have very potent medicinal properties. Both turmeric and honey are anti-microbial, that means they will attack both bacterial infections and viral infections and destroy them effectively.
The immune system is not a single entity. To function well, it requires balance and harmony. We are self-healing organisms. Healthy immune system warriors only need good regular nourishment, sleep, exercise and meditation to block the release of stress hormones and increase immune function.
About the Author:
Shilpa Arora ND is a renowned Health Practitioner, Nutritionist and certified Macrobiotic Health Coach. She has to her credit Doctorate in Natural Medicine. She is currently based in Delhi NCR region, successfully running her Nutrition Studio with individual consultations, offering life style programs supported by the most up-to-date clinical research.
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