How can women fortify their immune system?

This article is authored by Dr. Shweta U. Shah. A practicing homeopath, she follows a patient-centred perspective, emphasizing the benefits of natural remedies and herbs, homeopathy and whole food nutrition.

Your immune system does a fantastic job of protecting you from disease-causing agents. Then again, occasionally, the immune system may be a little unsuccessful – and a disease-producing pathogen or agent may invade your body and make you ill. So, the question is – can you intercede and boost the working of your immune system? Can diet, herbs, supplements, stress-busting techniques and lifestyle modifications help bring about a fool-proof, flawless immune response – being a natural immune system booster?

Nutrition for women is a very important topic; it is very vital that your immune system stays in top-notch form always, and the primary way to ensure that is through eating the right foods.

How different are women’s immune systems from men’s?

Research has time and again shown that women have a better immune response than men and appear to be in more robust health than men. Researchers speculate that microRNAs situated on the female X chromosome may be the reason for women’s stronger immune system. Clinical studies also expound that women enjoy a better ability to produce antibodies, compared to men.

5 natural immune system booster foods you ought to be eating

Here’s a list of foods which enhance the functioning of your immune system. They promise to bolster your immunity year-round and serve as storehouses of nutrition for women.

• Yogurt: Eat BreakfastYogurt is a natural immune system booster. It shores up the immune mechanism by proffering a generous dose of pro-biotics, i.e. friendly live bacteria which significantly improve your GI health. The powerful gut bacteria shield us from infections. The gut plays a crucial part in digestion and also has a strong bearing on the immune system functioning. Yogurt increases levels of beneficial lactobacilli and impedes the multiplication of inflammation-generating enterobacteria. Thus, amp up on yogurt – have a yogurt smoothie first thing in the morning or have fresh yogurt with granola for breakfast or raita with lunch.

• Vitamin C-packed foods: Vitamin C has been time-honoured for its immunity boosting property. Studies and clinical trials have been demonstrative of the fact that those who consumed foods loaded with the vitamin, every single day saw a significant reduction in the intensity and duration of infections. Vitamin C, a good source of nutrition for women, is a rather intimidating free radical scavenger and annihilator; it can destroys infectious and disease-causing agents and thwarts oxidative damage. A lack of vitamin C makes you more vulnerable to infections and illnesses. Oranges, lemons, strawberries, bell peppers, spinach, guava, tomatoes, papaya, and gooseberries are excellent sources. Importantly, a daily intake of vitamin C is vital for good health, given that the body does not synthesize or store it.

• Pumpkin seeds: Pumpkin seeds are an amazing source of zinc; and zinc is an excellent natural immune system booster-of-a nutrient, combating bacteria and viruses and diminishing oxidative stress. Clinical trials also reveal that the zinc and the serotonin-boosting tryptophan in the seeds help bring down anxiety levels appreciably. Kickstart your day with a fistful of the seeds!

• Garlic: This potent natural infection fighter is loaded with the enzyme alliinase, which converts alliin to allicin, which helps fires up your immune mechanism. Allicin is most bio-available when consumed raw; so chop up a flake of garlic, blend with a little honey and consume.

• Turmeric: Radish Curcumin in turmeric is an anti-inflammatory agent and a robust anti-oxidant which encourages the activation of T cells – the chief fighting cells of the immune system. In fact, this beautiful yellow spice helps tackle most infections. A glass of haldi doodh promises to deal with a whole array of infections and even lifts your spirits when you’re feeling blue. Try Tata Sampann Haldi Powder which comes with minimum 3% curcumin guarantee. Start or end your day with a turmeric latte and also throw in liberal amounts of this spice into your dals, gravies, and curries.

Guidelines to reinforce your immune system

Your preliminary approach is to opt for a healthy lifestyle. Each and every organ system in your body functions optimally when fortified by healthy-living policies:

• Eat a ‘rainbow’ hued diet incorporating whole fresh produce instead of processed foods. Nutrition for women is very important, given the periodic hormonal shifts that take place in the female body. So, gorge on plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, beans and lentils.

• Exercise a minimum of 3 times a week; exercise greatly increases your resilience.

• Get good, sound sleep. You need 8 hours of quality sleep to stymie infections and chronic illnesses; so it’s crucial for you to prioritize sleep.

• Ensure that you have a normal body weight.

• Do not smoke.

• Steer clear of alcohol.

• Drink ample water through the day. Staying well hydrated enhances immune health, given that water helps manufacture lymph, which carries WBCs and the other immune system cells.

• Practice good hygiene.

• Deal with stress effectively. Continuous, relentless stress causes the body to manufacture increased amounts of cortisol - the stress hormone. High levels of cortisol increase your susceptibility to infections and are also instrumental in the development of hypertension as well as insomnia.

• Have a healthy attitude. A positive frame of mind is very essential for your good health and well-being. Experts affirm that happy and positive thoughts bring down levels of stress and inflammation as well as raise your hardiness to infections.

Now, while there’s no magic formula to make sure that your immune system works in top-grade form, these tried-and-tested ways do take your immune mechanism up a notch. Make these lifestyle changes and stay in the pink of health!


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