With the onset of rain, many residents catch a cold, fever or one of several other bacterial, viral or fungal infections. While we can't do much about the rain, we can certainly keep infections away by strengthening the immune system.
The simplest way to boost immunity is through a good diet, plenty of exercise, yoga, adequate rest, sleep and stress control.
A diet consisting largely of junk food, or refined sugar, white rice, refined fats low in vitamins & minerals can weaken the immune system. A healthy immune system requires a number of nutrients in balance including proteins, essential fats, vitamins, and minerals.
A diet consisting of a variety of foods, adequate calories, and rich in whole grains, pulses, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, low-fat dairy and fatty fish, low in sugar, alcohol and bad fats and a healthy lifestyle is the key to a good immune system.
Proteins play an important role in the immune system which is responsible for fighting infections by foreign substances.
When the diet does not contain enough proteins, the body cannot make as many antibodies.
Besides proteins, the nutrients which build immunity include beta carotene, B complex vitamins, Vitamin C, E, minerals including selenium, zinc, folic acid, iron, copper, and magnesium, prebiotic and probiotic foods.
Vitamin A and beta carotene help maintain thymus gland function. It is the gland that produces lymphocytes — white cells which produce antibodies. Excess of vitamin A lowers immunity.
Vitamin C deficiency has been found to lower the immune response in numerous studies. Vitamin C enables the lymphocytes and other cells of the immune system to function properly and the need for vitamin C increases during illness. It acts as an antioxidant and protects against reactive chemicals (free radicals) produced by the body, which can harm the body.
Immunity boosting foods also include probiotics and prebiotics. Probiotics boost immunity and aid digestion. Prebiotics are found in foods that feed probiotics (beneficial micro-organisms present in the gut). Good sources include whole grains, pulses, beans and fruits.
FOODS THAT BOOST IMMUNITY
Whole grains: Oats, barley, millets
Pulses & legumes: Bengal gram, lentils, beans and soyabean
Vegetables & fruits: Broccoli, garlic, ginger, onion, red grapes, amla
Seeds: Flax, fenugreek, pumpkin, watermelon, sunflower
Other foods: Yoghurt, fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, hilsa, purva)
CHECK WATER PURITY
* Water-borne infections such as typhoid, cholera, hepatitis and diarrhoea are on the rise.
* Tap water is not safe for drinking due to pollution
* Install a good water filter. Water can be purified by boiling, chemical treatment, or reverse osmosis
* If you can't boil water, chlorine and iodine are the two chemicals commonly used to treat water
* Do not re-use packaged water bottles for storing water.
Regulate your diet
* Diet should be light, low-fat and easily digestible. Avoid oily and spicy food, and extremely cold food and beverages.
* Avoid street food
* Always refrigerate food and consume the same day
* Abundant fluids are beneficial
Sources: The Indian Express