3 non-food things that help in boosting your immune system

Ever since the outbreak of novel coronavirus, there has been a sharp increase in the sales of ‘immunity-boosting products’ including Vitamin C tablets, Zinc supplements and Ayurvedic products which claim to ‘boost’ the immune system. Since there is no definite cure for COVID-19 as of now, vitamins and supplements have been flying off the shelves as people desperately cling on to anything that promises to strengthen their immunity. However, what we do not realise is that the working of our immune system is much more complex than popping just a pill to kickstart it.

​What exactly is our immune system

Before you proceed to buy a million supplements, it is important to understand that the immune system is a complex network of antibodies, cells, chemicals and organs that play a crucial role in warding off pathogens and fighting any kind of infection that threatens your body. It works by identifying the foreign invaders and flushing them out of the system. Since the way our immune system works is not exactly linear, boosting or supporting it requires much more than justpopping a pill when the need comes.

Your immune system is your personal army

You can think of yourimmunity as your army that fights infections coming your way, but you also need to give it time for proper training for it to perform when the need comes. You cannot expect your soldiers to win a battle by just providing them with ammunition a night before. Similarly, you need to train your immune system to keep it up and running to tackle any pathogens coming your way. We are listing down 3 ways you can develop a holistic approach to help your immunity:

Correct your sleep cycle

Correct your sleep cycle

While this may seem like the most obvious advice and something you hear all the time, building your immunity actually boils down to the good old ways of sleeping, working out and leading a stress-free lifestyle. So, the first step is to ensure that you are getting a sound sleep of 6 to 7 hours every night and wake up feeling refreshed. If your sleep cycle is wacked, make sure to follow the correct sleeping routine on weekends and get at least 30 minutes of morning light every day to correct your circadian rhythm. According to a study, if you clock in four hours of sleep even for just 1 day, your body’s natural killer cells (NK) go down by 70 per cent. 

While this may seem like the most obvious advice and something you hear all the time, building your immunity actually boils down to the good old ways of sleeping, working out and leading a stress-free lifestyle. So, the first step is to ensure that you are getting a sound sleep of 6 to 7 hours every night and wake up feeling refreshed. If your sleep cycle is wacked, make sure to follow the correct sleeping routine on weekends and get at least 30 minutes of morning light every day to correct your circadian rhythm. According to a study, if you clock in four hours of sleep even for just 1 day, your body’s natural killer cells (NK) go down by 70 per cent.

​Find ways to reduce stress

Notice how we are saying ways to cut down on stress and not eliminate it altogether? This is because we know that it is not possible to eradicate stress in our increasingly hectic lifestyles. However, we can all learn coping mechanisms to manage the stressors and negative situations in our lives in a batter manner. For the uninitiated, when you are stressed or battling the blues, your body releases cortisol to prepare you for a flight and fight scenario. An increased amount of stress leads to an increase in inflammatory activity which is not good for your health either. As a result, your immune system takes a beating and its ability to fight pathogens get reduced. On days when you are really stressed and overwhelmed, you can try writing down everything that is a top-most priority and needs to be done immediately. Don’t try to do everything at once and divide your work accordingly. Another alternative approach is to bring your mind to present, every time it starts wandering off to negative thoughts and situations that may happen in the future.

Choose your workout routine based on what your body needs

More often than not, we resort to taking an extreme approach when it comes to exercising. We either work out strenuously to make up for our sedentary lifestyle or continue sitting at our chair for long periods of time. Both of these practices can wreak havoc on your immune system. This is why it is important to strike a balance when it comes to your workout routine and develop the habit of listening to the requirements of your body. For example, if you feel particularly well-rested and bursting with energy you may push yourself to workout a little more than usual but if you already feel tired, you should opt to do a low-impact exercise. Remember, it all comes down to consistency and balance when it comes to working out and strengthening your immune system.