Our lives seem to have shifted their usual course in the past two years since COVID hit in 2020. We were challenged mentally as well as physically to a breaking point. With grave losses of dear ones to health, we all have struggled mentally to keep up with the traumas around us. These are challenging times where some are lost, some are confused, some derailed from the track, and others have simply given up hope. Recent years have been life-changing for everybody.
Some people have experimented with technology, and others have grown fond of any form of workout to keep up with their health. People have also dived into the traditional methods of healing, Herbology, Homeopathy, Ayurveda, and more. Which in turn, has given them hope for a healthier future. The advent of corona disrupted multiple lives around the globe. It has taken various baby steps for people to come out of its after-effects and live in the world the way they used to.
What is an Immune System?
The concept of the immune system is known to everybody. Our body produces T. Lymphocytes to fight unknown foreign substances. We all need a healthy immune system that can defeat germs, bacteria, viruses, parasites, and more. If the immune system is low, the chances of getting affected by these substances increase. When COVID hit back in 2020, the virus was unknown, and our bodies had not developed any protective immune system against it. Hence like any disease, it hit strongly the ones who had a low immune system. Protecting ourselves against any sort-of bacteria is crucial.
Everybody started googling, ‘How to increase immune system?’ during the times of COVID. People started applying all sorts-of ancient and modern techniques to keep the virus at a distance from their loved ones. Increased consumption of fresh vegetables and fruits can help to boost the immune system. People became aware of their health around this time. But now, when everything is opening up slowly, people are also moving back to their eating habits. It is crucial to focus on a balanced lifestyle when it comes to maintaining your immune system.
How does food play a role in the Immune system?
Food is the second source of energy in our body, apart from oxygen. This energy is what keeps us moving all day long. This is why food is also considered the fuel for the body. Hence, three times a day, a nutritious diet is recommended to live a healthy life.
Feed your body the necessities, and it will honor and protect you. Consumption of oily food with fermented items, meat, and dairy on daily basis is not healthy for the human body as their considered heating food in nature. Food that shoots up the cholesterol levels in the body. They take longer to digest which in the long run results in digestion issues at an old age.
When we consume a meal, our whole body and its organs are focused on digesting the food properly so it can retain energy from it. We feel sleepy after eating a heavy oily meal because all the systems in the body are focused to digest the food but it takes longer to break down. This drains out the body causing fatigue, laziness, low energy, and more.
Consequently, it is advised to eat fresh and warm food to increase the immune system. Vegetables and Fruits are full of fibers and minerals which have
Recommended Food to consume to increase the Immune system
- Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes
- Garlic and ginger
- Spinach, broccoli
- Dry fruits like Almonds
- Sunflower seeds
- Green tea
- Dark chocolate
Eating immune-boosting food will help you strengthen the system, but at the same time, it is important to keep a balanced food. Our bodies are complex when it comes to the consumption of food. Each body is different and what might suit one, might disagree with another. So the right way is to understand first what suits your body type. If oranges are something that gives you acidity, then you might want to switch to lime or lemon.
These superfoods will help you strengthen your immune system, but it needs to be clubbed with proper sleep, a dedicated food schedule, abstaining from addiction, and daily exercise.
How does sleep affect your Immune system?
In simple understanding, when the body is tired, it signals us to go to sleep and rest. Why? Because when we sleep, our bodies produce cytokines, A protein that targets inflammation. In cases of cold, the more we sleep, the higher the number of cytokines, which fights the infection by creating an immune response. At the same time, T-cells which are white blood cells that play a critical role in our body’s immune response to infectious diseases get produced whilst we sleep.
The hectic lifestyle these days does not give the needed time to the body to digest food before we sleep or the fact that it needs at least 7 hours of sleep every day to relax all the organs throughout the night and produce enough immune response to fight every day. Imagine a lifestyle that involves heating food (Junk/fast-food) combined with a lack of sleep and non-stop release of cortisol (Stress hormones) in our body.
In Ayurveda, it is mentioned that a person should have their last meal before the sun is down so that the digestive system does not have to work incessantly throughout the night. This, in turn, makes the body fatigued when we wake up because you chose to make your body work throughout the night instead of allowing it to eat on time, digest food on time, and sleep on time.
5 Yoga poses to help increase the immune system
Body movement and exercise are daily requirements if you are looking to boost your immune system as movements help the body connect to the mind and the brain is where the T-cells are produced. Our bodies release toxins every time we sweat. With the consumption of oily and fried food, we store unhealthy fats and calories in our bodies. If we do not find a way out for them then they create issues of weight gain, heart diseases, diabetes, bloating, diarrhea, acne, obesity, and more.
During the time of the pandemic when the whole world was shut and people had no option but to co-operate with each other, they started to move their bodies not only out of fear of catching COVID but to experience it as an activity too. This has given a rise in the fitness industry where from youth to old age people are keeping their health first.
Here you start with a warm-up daily. Remember never to get into these asanas without a warm-up. The asanas mentioned below can be practiced in a flow for better results.
This is a forward fold asana, where you engage the lower part of your body. Starting with standing upright and then bending forward while engaging the thighs, glutes muscles, and firmly placing the feet onto the mat. Resting your stomach onto your thighs you should feel the stretch within your hamstrings (the back of your legs) while you engage your front body. Keep your knees bent just a little bit to feel the engagement in your thighs.
Placing the hand where you can reach it, whether on the mat or your shin, look where your eye level goes and ground yourself firmly on the mat. Hold yourself in this position for 1 whole minute and then move on to the next asana.
This asana will help you stretch your back whilst working on your front body and creating mobility in your hip.
This is an asana that is the opposite of Uttanasana, as in this asana the focus is on strengthening the back and relaxing the front of the body. On your mat, lie down on your stomach. Keep your palms next to your chest. Your feet together at the back, and whenever you are ready, lift yourself off the mat, pushing the body weight against the mat. Keep your elbows bent and look up towards the ceiling.
If looking up is straining on the neck then look at the eye level and hold yourself in this position for one minute. This will help to strengthen your back and give the whole body a charge as the whole body is engaged.
Trikonasana is practiced for mobility, strengthening, and stretching. An asana that works on the sides of your body allowing the range of motion. With your feet at a distance of 3 to 4 feet, turn the left foot in and right foot out creating a 90-degree angle. Whenever you are ready, extend both your arms to the side, bend towards your right foot, place your right hand inside of your right leg and extend the left and up towards the ceiling.
You should feel the stretch on your hips, hamstrings, and glute muscles. Hold yourself into the position for one more minute and repeat the same on the other side. This twist will massage the sides of your body allowing it to stretch and straighten.
Bringing this flow back to the mat, sit with your left leg under your right buttocks and wrap the right leg on top of your left leg. Feel the stretch within the sides of your body. Keeping the spine straight, take your right hand behind your shoulders and grab it with your left hand from underneath. Interlock them behind your back and hold yourself in this position for one minute again.
Goumukhasana is known for the stretch around your sides and opening up your chest with the interlock. Holding yourself in this position will stretch your IT band, and strengthen your back muscles.
In the end, relax your body and lie down on the mat on your back. Bring your feet up close, grab the big toe of both the legs with both your hands and pull your knees more towards the ground. This will make your feel a stretch in your hamstrings and open up your hips but moreover, it is called a happy baby pose because it relaxes the mind at the same time.
The combination of these 5 asanas if included in your daily practice can help you boost your immune system. Make sure to practice them slowly and in controlled movements. While holding them in a position, remember to breathe neutrally. Do not make yourself go out of breath if the stretch is too deep. Take a deep inhale when you’re preparing yourself to get into the pose and exhale when you go into the final posture. From thereon, continue the normal breath work.
3 combinations to a better immune system
Food, Sleep, and Exercise are the three pillars of a better immune system. If you can find the time in your busy life to focus on these three then you are already on the path to a healthier lifestyle. When we eat food, our bodies turn it into glucose (energy). Protein and Carbs, of which are important for the growth of the human body. When we sleep, our Brian reboots itself by getting rid of toxic waste, restoring new information, reorganizing nerve cells with better communication, and generating more T-cells that help to fight Infections. And lastly, with nutritious food and adequate sleep, the human body becomes strong enough to get rid of toxins through physical movement.
All of them are interlinked to create a balance which results in the boost of an immune system. The days are becoming more stressful as we develop ourselves in the material world. We are all running after something, it will be decent to run with proper fuel in our system, balanced serotonin levels in the body, and strong muscles.
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