In a family, the mom might be blessed with a fit body, the dad might suffer from occasional health problems and your little bro is a health champ but you are the odd one out-repeatedly being a victim of cold, indigestion or even frequent pain in your hands and legs. You all eat the same diet and follow the same lifestyle but what makes you different from others. Have you ever wondered? It’s your immune system maybe that’s making you suffer relentlessly! A healthy immune system is not a ticket to only good health but it increases every chance that your body is safe and protected against health problems. The idea sounds superb but practically it has not been very successful to achieve mainly because the immune system is after all a ‘system’ and not a single entity. It needs excellent coordination but researchers are still not completely aware of the interconnectedness of the immune system. We talk about lifestyle changes that could better your immunity but there have not been direct scientific evidences linking both. Researchers are also focusing on other factors such as diet, exercise, age and other factors that could improve immunity which makes us believe that enhancing our overall general health is a good way to start.
Nourish your Life with a Disciplined Lifestyle
Protect your health by preventing the intrusion of health problems by following a disciplined lifestyle. Maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, sleep well, minimize stress, drink alcohol in moderation, avoid smoking, eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables and stay hygienic to promote better functioning of your body which includes the immune system as well. For helping you with nutrient intakes we have listed some of the highly reliable foods that help in protecting your body by playing an imminent role in your immunity.
Vitamins: Vitamins are great among which vitamin C, B6 and E work wonders on the body. Vitamin C is special in the sense that besides being one of the biggest immunity boosters, absence of it can make you prone to getting sick. Besides the ever-popular oranges vitamin C is available aplenty in foods such as broccoli, kale, spinach, bell peppers, strawberries, tangerines and grapefruit that you might never need a supplement to fulfil vitamin C requirements when you ensure regular intake of vitamin C-rich foods. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant present in foods such as nuts, seeds and spinach that helps the body to fight off infection. Vitamin B6 facilitates biochemical reactions in the immune system. It is present in foods such as chicken and cold-water fish (salmon, tuna, etc.) and also found in green vegetables and chickpeas.
Proteins that include both plant- and animal-based proteins such as eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, chicken, nuts, seafood, beans and lentils.
Probiotics that have become popular in recent times for their major role in promoting the growth of good bacteria in the gut to promote immunity and overall health. Fermented foods such as kimchi and dairy products such as yogurt are rich in these probiotics. The demand for fermented foods is growing and for a list of all the different types of these foods and their role in body health please visit www.firsteatright.com.
Zinc found in both plant (wheatgerm, beans, nuts and tofu) and animal source as non-heme and heme respectively but the ones found in animal sources (beef and seafood) are more readily absorbed.
Beta carotene that’s found in plant sources such as carrots, spinach broccoli, mango, tomatoes and sweet potatoes
Eat a well-balanced diet composed of nutrients, include at least 5-7 servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet, lead a disciplined lifestyle that involves optimal activity, get adequate sleep and minimize stress for a healthy immune system. Stress can damage your health so badly and it all starts with disruption of your immune system. Curb stress from spoiling your life by engaging in meditation, listening to songs, dancing, doing physical activity or even shopping (occasionally, otherwise the expenses incurred would make you stressed too :D). Above all, sleep well refraining from technology and gadgets at least an hour before going to bed. Adults are required to sleep between 7-9 hours a day and kids between 8-14 hours a day depending on their age. Ageing decreases our immunity power. People tend to eat less and include less variety of foods that can lead to micronutrient malnutrition and it still remains questionable whether supplements can compensate for the deficiency. Supplements might be useful in providing your body with the essential nutrients but they might also lead to side effects. The best way to stay healthy is to replenish nutrient requirements with nourishing food items.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.