Immunity is the body’s ability to defend itself against foreign bodies like viruses and bacteria. Our bodies are exposed to many virus and bacteria every day, but only a few cause disease. This is because our body has the ability to release antibodies against these pathogens, protecting it from disease. This defence mechanism of the body is what we know as immunity.
Immunity is a concept explained in Ayurveda under “bal” or “Vyadhi Kshamathwa” or the concept of resistance to develop illness. The key concept in Vedic nutrition has been to know one’s body type and eating foods accordingly. Personalised nutrition was the foundation of health in the Vedic times.
Know thyself has been espoused in all traditional wisdom books and one of the ways to know thyself is to know one’s unique bio-type and choosing nutrition accordingly.
Five foods that boost immunity
With a wide variety to choose from, you can’t go wrong adding these little nutrient packed sweet treats to your regular diet. Berries are rich in vitamin C, an immunity boosting nutrient that encourages the immune system to produce white blood cells, which are necessary to fight infections. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for the production of one of the most common proteins (collagen) in your body. It’s one of the main building blocks of the joints and muscles.
Ginger, which can be used in fresh, dried, powdered or juice form, is a very common ingredient in used in most Indian recipes. Crushed ginger helps to reduce indigestion, nausea and vomiting. Decoction of ginger can reduce aches and pains.
Include more of green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale in your diet as they are a rich source of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Spinach a rich source vitamin C along with antioxidants and beta carotene, which help to fight infection. They are also good for your heart and gut health. Vegetables with bright colours or stronger flavours are often the best sources of vitamins.
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are rich in Omega-3s that help to build and maintain immunity. Healthy fats are good for the heart and the brain. They are also an energy source and help to keep your lungs, blood vessels and immune system working in a healthy way.
Olive oil gives the immune system a boost through its ability to reduce inflammation. Extra virgin olive oil has numerous benefits for heart health as it lowers blood pressure, protects it from “bad” cholesterol and improves the function of blood vessels. A diet high in omega-3s lowers inflammation, curbs stiffness and joint pain.
Along with immunity boosting foods, follow these tips to maintain healthy levels of immunity:
- Exercise regularly, at least for 45 minutes
- Get sound sleep, for at least 7-8 hours
- Avoid alcohol and smoking
- Minimise stress with the help of meditation, yoga or pranayama
Also Read | Five do’s and don’ts to keep cancer at bay
A medical doctor by training, Dr Shikha Sharma is the founder and managing director of Nutriwel Health and one of India’s most prominent nutritionists. She has pioneered the concept of Nutrigenetics, which combines modern medicine techniques and the principles of Ayurveda. Dr. Shikha and her team share weekly health and nutrition advice exclusively for EastMojo readers.
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