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Strengthening Immune System Naturally to Avoid Infections

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Strengthening Immune System Naturally to Avoid Infections

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The immune system defends the body against infection and disease. Read the article to know about the natural ways to improve it to avoid infections.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Sneha Kannan

Published At July 15, 2020
Reviewed AtApril 27, 2023

What Are Infections?

Infections are nothing but a disruption caused in the normal functioning of the bodily systems by a foreign microorganism (originating from outside). The microorganism lives, reproduces, and colonizes a person's body. When they disrupt the body's organs, they cannot work optimally, leading to reduced capacity, which is termed as illness. These pathogenic microorganisms are contagious and reproduce swiftly. Examples of microorganisms include bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

What Is the Immune System?

The intricate network of organs, cells, and proteins that make up the immune system fights infection (microbes). Memory cells are two different subtypes of white blood cells (B-lymphocytes and T-lymphocytes) that the immune system uses to keep a log of every pathogen it has ever eliminated. If the microbe enters the body again, it will be immediately recognized and destroyed before it has a chance to grow and make everyone sick.

Because so many distinct viruses or strains of the same virus can cause some infections, such as the flu and the common cold, it is necessary to fight off these illnesses repeatedly. Individuals do not develop immunity to other viruses if they acquire a cold or the flu from one of them.

Do All Microorganisms Cause Disease?

There are many types of microorganisms, and all are not disease-causing. Some are beneficial too. Some are essential for digestion and metabolism. The digestive system, especially the intestines, is host to trillions of microorganisms that aid in the digestion of the food that is eaten. There are probiotic drugs that help in increasing the number of gastric flora (gut microorganisms). Some types of viruses, bacteria, fungi, and protozoa do cause disease and are not supposed to be present in the body.

Does the Presence of Disease-Causing Microorganisms Mean Infection?

Many a time, disease-causing organisms are just present in the body without causing disease. Such a presence is known as 'asymptomatic.' They are just present without causing any harm. Therefore, their presence only will not amount to an infection or a disease. After some time, they go away on their own, or in some cases, they stay in the body for a very long time, sometimes for years, without causing disease.

Why Do Microorganisms Cause Disease in Some People and Not in All?

Here the role of the immune system comes in. If the immune system is strong, it means the immunity or capability of fighting disease-causing microorganisms is strong. People with strong immunity do not fall sick even if disease-causing organisms enter the body.

On the other hand, people with weak immunity, or with a weak defense system tend to get infected and fall sick with the same microorganism.

How to Develop a Strong Immunity?

1. Maintain Total Good Health:

It is far preferable to prevent infectious diseases than to become ill and then attempt to get better. To prevent infections and to keep immunity strong, one needs to keep overall health in good condition. It means if a person already has some disease, it becomes easier to get another disease. It could be an infectious or noninfectious disease. Even if one has a non-infective disease, such as diabetes (type 1 or 2), high BP (blood pressure), high cholesterol, hypothyroidism, digestive problems, weak liver, or any other lifestyle-related disorder, they become prone to get infections.

Lifestyle-related diseases or chronic diseases (diseases that last for a long time) make immunity very weak. The body spends a lot of energy repairing itself due to damage caused by these diseases. Such people with chronic diseases also catch infections very easily, be it seasonal flu, common cold, cough, fever, digestive infections, etc. Therefore, it is important to keep total health in good condition to have protection against infections, including COVID-19.

2) Take a Healthy and Natural Diet:

Food is the most powerful medicine. If individuals eat the right kind of food, they will not develop chronic diseases, and their risk of catching infectious diseases also will be very low. Eating the right food involves:

  • Avoiding processed food that is purchased in ready-to-eat form. It includes fast food, packed food, and snacks. These foods are manufactured in factories and are without any nutritional value. They should be less than 10 % of the daily diet.

  • using healthy cooking methods and limiting overcooking. Refined oil and processed paste usage should be kept to a minimum. As much as feasible, use raw and filtered oil, as well as fresh ingredients.

  • One must include all food groups to get balanced nutrition, including fresh seasonal fruits, vegetables, pulses, lentils, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Eating a variety of foods in each group helps in getting a unique nutritional mix from each food item and helps in keeping harmful microorganisms away.

3) Staying Connected with Nature:

The human body is an extension of nature. People are healthier the more connected they are to nature. A typical urban lifestyle is devoid of fresh air, sunlight, and greenery. One must try to get exposure to all the natural elements daily. Going for a walk, breathing in the fresh air, and sunlight, and staying close to plants and trees help maintain strong immunity.

4) Physical Activity:

The human body is not designed to lie on a bed and sit on a chair for long periods. It must remain physically active for at least eight hours a day. But in the modern-day city lifestyle, this rarely happens. Work is mostly desk-based which involves plenty of sitting and very less moving. In such a scenario, it becomes easier to get infectious diseases. To make up for this, one must exercise at least 30 minutes per day for at least five days a week. Pathogens do not survive when there is sufficient oxygen in the body cells. Therefore one must include aerobics, cardio, and breathing exercises (Pranayama) in their workout schedule.

5) Positivity:

The human mind has a strong influence on the body. Keeping a positive mindset with energizing and elevated thoughts goes a long way in keeping a strong immunity. One must always have a feeling of gratitude toward everyone. One must train the mind to stay away from weak and negative thoughts such as anger, frustration, jealousy, resentment, guilt, sadness, anxiety, loneliness, worthlessness, etc. As these thoughts sap body energy and release harmful chemicals in the body, which weakens the immune system.

With these lifestyle strategies, not only is the risk of getting infectious diseases minimized, but one can avoid lifestyle-related chronic diseases as well.

Conclusion:

Immunity is the body's protection mechanism against invading organisms. Taking care of oneself will aid in improving one's immune system defense. With the above-mentioned lifestyle strategies, not only is the risk of getting infectious diseases minimized, but one can avoid lifestyle-related chronic diseases as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.

Which Vitamin Boosts Your Immune System?

Vitamin C is the best vitamin that acts as an immune system booster. A deficiency of vitamin C can even make a person more susceptible to illness. Foods rich in vitamin C include:
- Oranges.
- Grapefruits.
- Tangerines.
- Strawberries.
- Bell peppers.
- Spinach.
- Broccoli.

2.

What Are the Symptoms That Indicate a Weak Immune System?

The following are the signs and symptoms that indicate primary immunodeficiency:
- Frequent and recurring pneumonia.
- Bronchitis.
- Sinus infections.
- Ear infections.
- Meningitis.
- Skin infections.

3.

Which Is the Defence Mechanism of Your Body Fighting Against the Virus?

The immune response to an ongoing viral infection primarily generates a type of white blood cell known as lymphocytes. These cells are mostly located in ‘lymphoid tissues’ of the lymph nodes or tonsils. These lymphocytes fight against the viral particles to get rid of the infection.

4.

Does Turmeric Have Antiviral Properties?

Yes, turmeric is known to have antiviral properties. Curcumin is a natural compound that is found in turmeric. It helps in the elimination of certain viruses, such as the transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV).

5.

Does Lemon Help in Fighting off Virus?

It is believed that the intake of lemon helps in fighting viral infections. But, there are no scientific pieces of evidence to prove the statement. Lemon is a rich source of vitamin C, which can boost the immune system. Experts suggest that this could be the reason behind the practice of consuming lemon during viral infection.

6.

Should I Starve a Virus?

“Feed a cold, starve a fever,” is a saying which means that bacterial infection can get aggravated when the affected person is being fed. On the other hand, a viral infection can be cured by food and eating. So, when you have a viral infection, do not starve yourself.

7.

What Lifestyle Changes Help in Boosting Your Immune System?

The following are the lifestyle changes that can help in boosting up your immune system:
- Quit smoking.
- Eat a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables.
- Exercise almost every day.
- Maintain a healthy body weight.
- Avoid the consumption of alcohol.
- Get adequate sleep at night.
- Take hygienic precautions to avoid infection.
- Washing your hands frequently and cooking meats well are known to help.

8.

What Is Known as the Immune System?

The immune system is widely spread throughout the human body, and it involves a composition of various types of cells, organs, proteins, and tissues. It is destined to differentiate one’s own tissue from a foreign tissue.

9.

What Is the Fastest Way to Get Rid of a Virus?

The following are the home remedies by which you can treat a viral infection at home:
- Take a good rest.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Gargle warm salt water at least twice a day.
- Drink tea or any warm health drinks.
- Take honey as much as possible.

10.

What Are the Foods That Can Kill Viruses?

The following are the foods that are found to be very useful in viral infections:
- Oysters.
- Beef.
- Pork chops.
- Black-eyed peas.
- Pumpkin seeds.
These foods are rich in the mineral zinc that helps to prevent viruses from attaching to cells. It also helps in the prevention of a viral infection.

11.

Can Antibiotics Be Used to Kill Viruses?

Antibiotics are the right choice of treatment for bacterial infections. However, it is essential to understand that antibiotics cannot treat viral infections because they cannot kill viruses. Antivirals are the choice of treatment for viral infections.

12.

How Does the Virus Attack the Immune System?

The virus attacks the immune system through cytotoxic cells. When a virus starts to infect a person, it initially invades the host cells for the purpose of survival and replication. Once they begin to replicate into multiple numbers, clinical symptoms show up in a person.

13.

Can Stress Affect My Immune System?

Yes, in stressful situations, the immune system's innate ability to fight against antigens is decreased. The affected person becomes more susceptible to infections. The stress hormone known as corticosteroid can suppress the effective functioning of the immune system.

14.

What Happens When Your Body’s Immune System Is Weak?

The following are the impact on a person’s health in response to a weakened immune system:
- Increase in stress.
- Frequent episodes of the common cold.
- Digestion issues.
- Slow wound healing.
- Frequent episodes of infections.
- Loss of appetite.

15.

What Are the Common Diseases That Affect the Immune System?

Three common autoimmune diseases that affect a person’s own immune system are:
- Type 1 diabetes.
- Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Lupus.

16.

At What Age Does My Immune System Become Weak?

Basically, with age, the number of T cells does not decrease, but T-cell function starts to decrease gradually. This causes the immune system to become weak. The immune system is generally ineffective in older people.

17.

How Can I Test the Calibre of My Immune System?

The most commonly used test for the diagnosis of immune disorders is the blood test.
It can determine the presence or absence of infection-fighting proteins, which are known as immunoglobulin. Abnormal numbers of cells, such as leukocytes, can indicate the presence of an immune system defect.
Vishal Kumar Wadi
Vishal Kumar Wadi

Nutritionist

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physical activityimmunity booster foodsboost immunitybalanced diet
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