Tagged with 'Immune System'

8 Vitamins and Minerals to Boost Your Immune System

Immune System Boosting
“Immunity” has almost become a buzzword. We have all learned the importance of a strong immune system and perhaps tried every single thing we came across on social media. However, “developing” immunity is not as simplistic as popping a pill. It requires working on lifestyle habits, maintaining regular exercise, and fulfilling the body’s nutritional requirements with real, whole foods. We can view this utilizing the 80-20 rule. Nutrition (what, when, how, and how much we eat) perhaps plays a ~20% role, and lifestyle habits (sufficient sleep, water intake, abstaining from alcohol and cigarettes, exercise, and non-sedentary lifestyle) play a ~80% role. Here in this blog, we’ll talk about some ways you can naturally help boost your immune system through natural supplements. We’ll learn about common nutritional deficiencies, and how they can impact the body’s immune system—we’ll also look at some common online myths surrounding supplements. Vitamin & Mineral Deficiencies Let’s get to the root of mineral & vitamin deficiencies and understand why there are such prevalent nutritional deficiencies in the diet. In previous generations, crop cultivation was limited to twice a year, and the farmland was left unattended in between.  It gave the land and soil time to regain minerals and nutrients organically and be ready for the next round of cultivation. There was also a higher emphasis placed on biodiversity and soil diversity, rather than mass cultivation on a scale previously never seen.  However, as the world’s population rapidly increased, the need for land to build infrastructure and the demand for food increased—people started using farmland to build infrastructure, and farmers had to use fewer acres of land to produce more food and meet growing demand. This deprives the soil of essential nutrients, while farmers increase the use of fertilizers and pesticides to ensure a more lucrative yield, leading to a decline in bioavailable nutrients. Further to this, people have grown accustomed to busier lifestyles, which often reduces the ability to put more effort into composing healthy, nutritionally dense meals. Instead, people opt for fast food, take-out through delivery services, or snack and junk food. Lack of nutrition leads to various deficiencies that, combined with lifestyle factors, can give rise to diseases—cancer, autoimmune disorders, and gastrointestinal disorders. While supplements can’t replace healthy eating and never will—supplements can help to compensate for nutritional deficiencies in the human body. There are many myths about supplements and their association with pharmaceutical medicine. It is important to note that supplements are not pharmaceutical medicines. When sourced from natural minerals or plant sources, they are extracts or concentrated minerals meant to bridge the divide where diet falls short.  Supplements and how they can boost Immunity Let’s look at a few supplements that help naturally boost immunity and promote a healthy lifestyle. 1) Protein  Protein is a basic building block of the body. Before birth till death, human beings need protein each and every day for survival and to carry on essential life functions. Humans need a minimum of 1 g and a maximum of 2g protein per kg body weight, depending on your lifestyle and physical activity. 2) Omega-3 fatty acids An essential polyunsaturated fat is critical for our immune health. Omega-3 supports the integrity of cell membranes, allowing immune cells to communicate effectively and respond to threats. It helps regulate immune cell function, reduce inflammation, and improve immune cell production. It also strengthens the body’s ability to defend against infections and maintain immune system harmony. As per the recommendation of the National Institutes of Health, daily consumption of omega-3 fatty acids should be around 1.1-1.6 grams a day for a healthy and active lifestyle. 3) Calcium Calcium is a mineral essential for bone health. Bones start getting weak after 30 years. It is an ideal time to supplement calcium to fulfill the body’s requirements and avoid leg pains. However, It is recommended that one should start taking calcium supplements after 25 years of age to keep their bones strong and healthy for a long time. 4) Vitamin D Vitamin D, popularly known as the “sunshine vitamin,” is a critical vitamin for calcium absorption and bone health. It helps immune cells function better and helps regulate the immune response. The recommended daily vitamin D consumption for adults between 19 to 70 years should be 15 micrograms (mcg) and 20 mcg for people above 70 years. 5) Vitamin C Vitamin C, known for its antioxidant properties, is a water-soluble vitamin that helps protect cells from damage and supports immunity cell production. Immunity cells help in healing wounds faster. The recommended daily consumption of vitamin C should be 75 milligrams (mg) ...

How to Boost Your Immune System

What is the immune system? The immune system is one of the most important mechanisms of the human body. This is because it’s the body’s natural defense against illness. The immune system attacks and destroys invading pathogens to keep the body free from disease.  This vast network of cells, tissues, proteins, and organs fights off diseases and infections by identifying viruses, bacteria and parasites, and neutralizing these threats. It is constantly at work.  Once this defense system encounters a pathogen, it deploys an immune response to fight and kill it. The most important thing about this system is that it can distinguish the body's healthy tissue from foreign, disease-causing tissue. Dead and faulty cells are also identified and eliminated by the immune system. How does the immune response work? The immune system can be activated by a lot of different organisms that the body doesn’t recognize. The substances that activate the immune response are called antigens.  Antigens include the proteins on the surfaces of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. When these antigens come into contact with the special receptors on the immune system cells, a whole series of processes are triggered in the body.  When the body is exposed to a disease-causing germ for the first time, the immune system usually stores data about the pathogen and how to fight it. Then, if the same type of germ invades again, the immune system recognizes it right away and starts fighting it sooner. Diseases related to the immune system The immune system is a very complex mechanism. This complexity means there are opportunities for disorders to disrupt the system. Following are the different types of immune system disorders: 1. Immunodeficiencies Immunodeficiency is the lack or absence of immune system cells in the body. Simply put, one or more parts of the immune system do not work properly.  Immunodeficiencies can be caused by a number of factors, including age, obesity and alcoholism.  In underdeveloped countries, malnutrition is a common cause of immunodeficiency. In some cases, the condition is inherited.  2. Autoimmunity Autoimmunity is a condition in which the immune system mistakenly targets and destroys the body’s healthy cells. In this case, the immune system is not able to distinguish between its own healthy cells and foreign pathogens or faulty cells.  The body’s cells also have surface proteins, called autoantibodies. But they are not the antibodies that should trigger the immune system.  When the immune system cannot distinguish its own tissues from foreign tissues, it attacks healthy, harmless cells in the body. Autoimmune diseases include celiac disease, Type 1 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. 3. Hypersensitivity Hypersensitivity is when the immune system overreacts to such a degree that it damages healthy tissues. An example is anaphylaxis, when the body’s response to an allergen is so strong that it can be life-threatening. Immune System Boosters Some people have strong immune systems, while others have weak ones. The good news is that you can strengthen your immune system through a proper diet and a healthy lifestyle. Certain foods, supplements, and lifestyle changes will have a positive effect on your ability to stay healthy.  Herbs that boost the immune system Many natural substances are known to boost immunity. Since ancient times, herbs and spices have been in high demand for both their healing properties and their ability to help people stay well. According to the World Health Organization, over 80% of the world’s population uses herbal medicines and herbs as part of their primary healthcare.  Most of the preferred herbs are high in anti-inflammatory properties, which help bolster the body’s natural immunity. Most of these herbs and spices are relatively safe, compared to allopathic medicines like antibiotics, which can have serious side effects. Here’s a list of herbs and spices that can help improve immunity: 1. Holy basil  Holy basil is a very old medicinal herb. Its leaves are rich in phytonutrients.  Basil is also rich in chlorophyll, vitamins and minerals, and eugenol. Eugenol is a bioactive compound with antifungal, antimicrobial, and antibacterial properties, which can help reduce stress and lower plasma glucose levels.  How to consume basil: You can simply chew fresh basil leaves in the morning or infuse them in your morning tea. Just ensure that you wash them well in running water before using them. 1. Ginger  Ginger is widely used in Indian cooking to add flavor to dishes. This popular spice has antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties.  Since ancient times, ginger has been extensively used for treating asthma, travel sickness, morning sickness, colds, coughs, nausea, arthritis, gastrointestinal complaints, and even depres ...