6 Steps to Improve Immunity in Adults Naturally

Immunity is our body’s defense system that protects the body against the attack of pathogens.  

Our immune system comprises certain cells, enzymes, and hormones that create the body’s defense system to protect it against the pathogen’s attack.

Our immune system when exposed to different bacteria and viruses (present in the environment) learns to fight with them naturally.

Modern medicine has utilized this concept of the biological immune system in manufacturing artificial immunity in form of antibiotics, vaccines, and immunity boosters. 

Artificial immunity has been very helpful in treating several fatal diseases, improved disease prognosis, and increased life span. However, it also has led to problems of medicinal resistance and health complications such as allergies, disturbed hormonal equilibrium, and immune-compromised ailments.

With the occurrence of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have already got a clear picture of our present immune response. People with low immunity were the easy ones that were attacked by the novel virus with low treatment rates. There is an urgent need for boosting our immune system naturally as an alternative approach to medicines so that we can fight off the COVID-like virus easily.

To boost your immune system naturally, you need to opt for a Holistic approach which not only involves the physical strength of the body but also mind and soul. I have done deep research upon natural remedies which can surely help you to boost up your immunity.

Common Signs of Weak Immunity

  • Frequently gets cold and cough 
  • Slow wound healing
  • Upset stomach 
  • Frequent infections
  • Low appetite
  • Regular fatigue, weakness
  • Skin problems( mostly that were not known before)
  • High stress level, mood fluctuations
  • Inability to sleep properly

6 Easy Ways to Boost Immunity in Adults Naturally

#1. Add Probiotics into Your Diet

probiotic foods

Probiotics help to differentiate between harmful bacteria like Clostridium perfringens and good bacteria like Lactobacillus to promote the immune response by producing antigens against it.

Probiotics are predominantly present in the gut and intestines. They also increase the absorption of food and medications.

In a 3 month research done by National Centre for Biotechnology Information, it was found that children who regularly consumed fermented milk, fall less ill than the controlled group.

Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are the common probiotics that are easily available in homemade foods such as yogurt, curd, pickles, and yeast-containing foods. 

You may like to read health benefits of sabudana

#2. Reduce Unnecessary Stress

Stressful conditions hamper the immune response. During a stressful situation (injury or an infection), the hormone Cortisol is released which activates the immune cells to fight off the pathogens.

However, during mental stress or prolonged stressful conditions, Cortisol levels are already at their peak and if ever any infection occurs, our immune system couldn’t distinguish between the pathogenic state of the body and thus hampers the immune function.

Prolonged stress also causes inflammation and slows down the immune response which in turn can invite chronic diseases such as depression, cardiac diseases, joint diseases, and skin allergies.

effects of stress on immunity

How you can cope up with stress

  • Listening to calm music decreases blood pressure which decreases the secretion of cortisol providing a relaxing effect on your body.
  • When in stress, do talk with your loved ones, even for a few minutes as it builds up trust and ensures support.
  • You can read a comic book or watch a comedy program or just laugh out loud as it will release endorphins which decreases the secretion of cortisol and reduces stress. 
  • Spending some time in open air may instantly elevate your mood and have a calming effect in stressful situations. 
  • Having a sufficient night sleep is very essential for relaxing your body and mind.

#3. Appreciate Healthy Diet

Plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, and herbs help in holistic immunity boosting. 

Citrous foods 

Foods such as lemons, kiwi, and oranges that are rich in citric acid, are very essential for the Vitamin C levels of the body. 

Vitamin C is not produced by our body, therefore we need to take it from our diet to maintain optimal levels in the body. 

Vitamin C is very essential for the production of white blood cells that build up immunity.

Spices  

Turmeric and black pepper have healing and antiseptic properties. You can add them to your daily diet to strengthen your immunity. Turmeric also helps to treat inflammation. 

Many spices like clove, oregano, cinnamon, and cumin contain antiviral and antimicrobial properties. Cinnamon also regulates blood sugar levels. 

Ginger and garlic treat colds and coughs. Garlic also boosts heart health. 

Tulsi leaves have medicinal values and their intake removes toxins from the body especially for respiratory issues. Tulsi leaves extract increases the T helper cells that are immune boosters.  Tulsi extract is very beneficial for the skin due to its antiseptic properties.

Antioxidants

The antioxidants decrease inflammation by removing free radicals from the body. Health conditions such as diabetes, heart diseases, skin ailments, and other autoimmune disorders lead to inflammation in the body. 

Plant-based diets such as fruits including red grapes, strawberries, cranberries, peaches, and vegetables such as tomatoes, radish, broccoli, lettuce are rich in antioxidants.

Dark Chocolate, nuts, and legumes are great sources of antioxidants. 

Minerals such as zinc, selenium, magnesium, flavonoids, and beta carotene all are rich in antioxidants which we can get from onions, seafood, lean meat, and nuts easily. These foods are also rich in Vitamin E which is also a powerful antioxidant.

Other Essential Nutrients

Vitamins such as Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, Iron, and Folic acid support the growth and activity of immune cells and promote antigen production.

Studies have shown that people deficient in such nutrients are more vulnerable to infections.

Rich sources include peas, bananas, cereals, nuts, eggs, soya beans, and milk.

Omega -3 Fatty Acids boost up the immunity by regulating the secretion of hormones. 

 Flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, soybean, and fish are rich sources of Omega-3 fatty acids.

Proteins are a necessity for immune health. The amino acids which are the building blocks of proteins help in immune cells production and enhance the body’s ability to fight away infections. Lean meat, poultry products, and dairy foods are rich in proteins. 

Water 

The necessity of water for our well-being is not unknown. Water has a great role in boosting our immune system as it carries oxygen into our blood helping cells to carry on their processes efficiently. Water also removes toxins from the body. 

Dehydration can cause headaches and disturb kidney functions, mental health, skin problems, hair loss, and digestion increasing more chances of getting infections.

Also read Best iron supplements in India

 #4. Decrease Sugar Intake and Maintain Weight

High sugar intake can have a negative effect on the immune system. High blood sugar levels decrease the secretion of white blood cells, mainly phagocytes, and neutrophils which are the main fighters against any infection, thus reducing immunity.

Diabetic people are immuno-compromised due to high blood sugar levels. Blood circulation is also affected in diabetes, reducing blood flow to extremities, making them weak and susceptible to infections. They do face wound healing issues as clotting time is also increased. 

Obesity or being abnormally overweight reduces the immune response in the body and poses threat to other chronic health issues such as heart diseases or kidney diseases.

Maintain ideal body weight. The recommended weight according to your height is mentioned below.

ideal-body-weight-table

Try to shift to a high-protein breakfast that will not make you feel hungry for quite a time. Also, you may prefer healthy snacking during tea breaks with roasted chickpeas, sprout salad, vegetable chat, boiled eggs, and nuts.

Do follow a regular exercise regime to shed off extra fat, especially if you have a sedentary job or life.

Try to reduce your high-carb diet.

If you are diabetic, you should maintain your proper blood sugar levels as prescribed by your physician. If your sugar levels are not balanced, you become more prone to other infections and slow healing.

#5. Make Exercise a Routine

Exercise increases the blood flow throughout the body which also circulates immune cells along with it, repairing the damaged cells or fighting against any infection. 

Exercise reduces the production of stress hormones which also decreases the chances of frequent infections.

If you exercise in the sun or walk regularly under sunshine, your body receives Vitamin D which is very essential for strong immunity. A walk for just 30 mins can energize your daily routine and regulate the metabolic process of life-enhancing immunity.

Chronic conditions such as heart disease or arthritis can be avoided if you practice exercise regularly.

Some of the following yoga asanas help in boosting the immunity system.

Child Pose or Balasna

balasana

This simple asna reduces stress from the lower back, relaxes your body, and cheers up your mood. It surely boosts up immunity.

After doing 1 pose, you need to pause for a while, have a deep breath and then come back to the starting position. Repeat the process for 10 – 15 mins daily.

 Dhanurasana or Bow Pose

Bow pose

This asana increases the blood flow and improves digestion. In the bow pose, you need to stay for  4-5 breaths before repeating the process.

Corpse Pose or Savasana

Savasana_-_The_Corpse_Pose

As easy as lying down, this asana helps to calm your mind and soul. Stress-free bodies boost up the immune system.

#6. Have Sufficient and Quality Sleep

How Sleep Affects the Immunity System

Sleep is essential for the body’s rest and repair as it is the period during which the immune system of the body strengthens itself. 

During sleep, cytokines (proteins) production increases. Cytokines are proteins that strengthen the body’s immune system.

The Circadian rhythm (the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle) also increases cytokinin production and Melatonin secretion.

Melatonin is a sleep-inducing hormone that reduces mental as well as biological stress during sleep. 

During the night sleep many functions of the body decrease such as breathing, muscle action, bodily movements, leaving the whole energy for the immune system to rejuvenate itself.

Different age groups require different sleep hours. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the recommended sleep time for adults from 18 yrs and above is described below.

Age Sleep Hours
0-3 months14-17 hrs / day
4-12 months12-16 hrs /day
1-2 years11-14 hrs / day
3-5 years10-13 hrs / day
6-12 years9-12 hrs / day
13-18 years8-10 hrs / day
18 – 60 years7 hrs or more / night
60 – 64 years7- 9 hrs / night
65 yrs and older7- 8 hrs

Not only sufficient sleep, but good quality sleep is also essential. Sleeping disorders such as lack of sleep( insomnia), disturbed circadian rhythm, waking between sleep hours, disturbed sleep, interfere with immune system response leading to several health issues.

the-effects-of-bad-sleep

Ideas to Improve Sleep

  • Shorten your day nap duration or avoid any nap during the day. Studies have shown that irregular naps during the day may disturb your circadian rhythm resulting in difficulty sleeping during night.
  • Follow a consistent sleep-wake schedule.Try to set up your alarm for sleep and waking up in the morning at same time daily. If followed properly, it will set your natural clock. 

After a few weeks, you will fall asleep and wake up at the same time without any dependency on the alarm. Also, melatonin will release at the set time automatically, making you sleepy and ready for bed.

  • Avoid alcohol at night as it will disturb the production of growth hormone, which is essential for circadian function and disturb sleep.
  • Reduce caffeine intake after 3-4 p.m as caffeine stays up in the body upto 6 hours which can cause difficulty in sleep during night if consumed late in evening. 
  • Make a sleepy environment in your room, dimming the lights, setting a comfortable mattress,  try to cut off external noises and set up a suitable room temperature. 
  • Decrease screen time 2-3 hrs before sleep. Try reading a good book upto falling asleep.
  • Relax your mind before sleep. You can have a body massage, head massage or even a warm shower before sleep. It has shown results in treating insomnia. 
  • Try sleeping meditation or listen to some soft sleep-inducing music. 
  • Avoid eating in 3-4 hrs before sleep as it may hinder the melatonin secretion as well as growth hormone secretion.
  • However, a cup of chamomile tea or warm milk  before going to bed may help to sleep easily.
  • Exercise daily during the day as it has proven results of treating insomnia in people. Caution – Do not exercise in the late evening if you are facing trouble in falling asleep. This is due to the release of adrenaline hormone, that just activates your brain.  

If you want to look for supplements for quick solution, you can check out our list of best immunity booster tablets in India

Conclusion

Summing up, for your overall well-being, you need to build up a holistic approach including a healthy diet as well as care for your body. Bad habits such as alcohol or smoking need to be limited.

If you are diagnosed with any chronic conditions such as diabetes or thyroid diseases, try to keep them in control by following a strict diet regime along with exercises.

If your body is healthy, it will automatically add up to your confidence and you will see remarkable growth in every sphere of your life.

About Dr. Amita Dhawan

Dr. Amita is the editor-in-chief at HealthExpert and a mother of 4 years old son. She believes in the great possibilities to improve health with natural foods and organic supplements.

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