The immune system is the body’s defense mechanism to handle invaders. It is our body’s second line of defense, after physical barriers like the skin and the mucous membranes.
The immune system is located throughout the body and includes the thymus gland, the spleen, bone marrow and a vast network of lymph nodes. It comprises many cells, proteins, tissues and organs.
The main function of the immune system is to prevent and fight infections, germs and cancer. It works 24/7 to keep our body healthy and ward off problems.
A good immune system is essential for proper functioning of the body. When the immune system becomes impaired, it can cause symptoms like frequent sickness, allergies, fatigue, digestive issues, delayed growth and slow development.
Several factors contribute to a low immune function. Some common factors are emotional stress, sleep deprivation, vitamin deficiencies, lack of physical exercise, over exposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) sunrays, excessive use of antibiotics, exposure to environmental toxins, poor dietary habits and inadequate hygiene.
Boosting the immune system is very beneficial and relatively easy through lifestyle changes and some simple home remedies.
Here are the top 10 home remedies to boost immunity.
Garlic is a natural immune booster. A 2009 study published in Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis found that garlic enhances immune functions and has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral activities.
Its active ingredient allicin helps fight infection and bacteria. In addition, garlic has vitamins C and B6 along with the minerals selenium and manganese that help boost the immune system.
Turmeric has antioxidants that are important for your health as well as immune system. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and help your immune system function properly.
Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, helps improve the ‘orderliness’ of cell membranes, which makes the cells more resistant to infection.
Eating probiotic yogurt every day is one of the best home remedies for low immunity. Probiotic yogurt contains billions of friendly gut organisms (probiotics) that help strengthen your immune system.
It aids the development of white blood cells and antibodies, which in turn reduces the incidence and duration of infections.
Lemon contains vitamin C, which plays an important role in boosting your immunity. Vitamin C helps the white blood cells function properly so that they can respond quickly to infections. Lemon also aids in removing toxins from the body as well as helping maintaining your body weight.
Regularly drinking green tea is another simple home remedy to boost immunity. According to a 2011 study by Oregon State University, several beneficial compounds in green tea help increase “regulatory T cells” in the body that play a key role in immune function and suppression of autoimmune disease.
The antioxidants in green tea protect the body from free-radical damage, which is essential to keep the immune system running normally.
According to Ayurveda, ginger is a good remedy to boost immunity. The warming effect of ginger on the body helps break down toxins accumulated in the body.
This reduces the risk of infection. Ginger also improves blood circulation.
Astragalus is a traditional Chinese herbal medicine that helps boost immunity. The immune-building and adaptogenic effects of astragalus help heighten the efficiency of virtually every component of the immune system.
Note: If you have an immune disorder, talk to your doctor before taking this herb.
According to Ayurveda, ashwagandha helps in the modulation of immune system reactivity and increases the red blood cell, white blood cell and platelet counts.
It has antioxidants that help in scavenging and neutralizing free radicals. This in turn helps boost immunity. Ashwagandha is available in powdered, dried or fresh root form in the market.
Note: Pregnant women should not consume ashwagandha. Plus, this herb may interfere with medicines used to treat high blood pressure because it decreases blood pressure. People with autoimmune diseases should consult their doctor before taking this herb as it may cause the immune system to become more active.
According to a 2011 study published in the Journal of Investigative Medicine, vitamin D plays a key role in modulating the innate and adaptive immune responses.
A deficiency of vitamin D is associated with increased autoimmunity as well as increased susceptibility to infection. Hence, to boost your immunity, try to maintain the adequate amount of vitamin D in your body.
Regular exercise – 30 minutes at least 5 days a week – can help boost your immunity. Exercise helps increase white blood cells, improve blood circulation, fight obesity and flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways. All these factors reduce your chance of getting sick frequently. Any form of exercise is better than a sedentary lifestyle.
Note: Although exercise is good for you, be careful not to overdo it. In addition, when you are sick, avoid high-intensity workouts that can delay recovery.
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