Strengthen your immunity for a healthy life 

Consuming fresh food over processed food is always advised

Strengthen your immunity for a healthy life 

By Pavithra Raj, Chief Dietician, Columbia Asia Referral Hospital, Yeshwanthpur

One of the best ways to avoid any kind of infections is building a strong immune system. It starts with having a nutritious diet which can improve your body’s immune system giving it the strength to protect against different diseases. Having a healthy diet with a good amount of physical activity can help tackle different diseases and infections which could have otherwise shown adverse effects.  

Immunity is the defence mechanism against 'foreign bodies' and is required for fighting bacteria, viruses, parasites, infections.

There are different types of immunity that one develops during a lifetime. Certain kind of immunity is present since birth and few are acquired with food, supplements and vaccinations etc as a person grows.
•    Innate immunity – Is in-born with some level of immunity fighting capability against infections.
•    Acquired immunity – We develop this immunity as we grow.
•    Passive immunity- It is developed with another source which does not last long. For example, vaccine for influenza, flu, etc. which needs to be taken every year to fight against the virus.
•    Immunizations – These are vaccines that are administered at a young age.

Improving the immunity levels
While, a healthy and balanced diet helps in improving the immunity level, regular exercise also plays an important role. Activities like yoga helps in breathing and expansion of lungs with good oxygen supply. Stretching and abdominal exercises helps to keep the muscles toned. Cardio exercises and activities like Zumba aids in keeping you active. Following a healthy lifestyle is key in improving immunity. 

Diet to follow to build energy and improve immunity levels
All of us eat different kind of food. However, the amount of nutrition in it is what makes the difference. A nutritious diet builds immunity and helps in keeping the body fit. Fighting infection and building immunity is important to lead a healthy life. 

Below is the list of food which you can include in your diet to improve immunity.
•    Protein and antioxidant rich food plays an important role in keeping the body healthy and safe from infections. These food helps to build up immunity thus fighting infection and to keep our lungs safe from diseases.
Food to eat: Spinach, Broccoli, tomatoes, kidney beans, lentils, green peas, eggs, nuts, oats, chia seeds 
•    Increase the intake of Vitamin C either in natural form or food supplement. These will help you drive away the virus faster. Amla is an excellent source of Vitamin C, hence it helps boost your immunity, metabolism and prevents viral and bacterial ailments, including cold and cough.
Food to eat: Citrus fruits, leafy greens, strawberries, kiwi, bell peppers
•    Vitamin B6 food is vital for supporting biochemical reactions in the immune system. It helps to maintain healthy nervous system 
Food to eat: Whole cereals - such as oatmeal, wheat germ and brown rice, soya beans, eggs in well-cooked form
•    Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and helps the body fight infections. 
Food to eat: Nuts and seeds, plant oil and vegetables
Suggestions for a daily diet regime:
•    Include protein and iron rich foods like almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds and chia seeds. 
•    Add other protein rich snacks like sundal, boiled corns, boiled grams usli (channa, rajma, soya), boiled groundnuts, well boiled eggs 
•    Use black pepper in the diet as it has antibacterial properties.
•    Drink herbal tea like ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, pepper, masala tea, basil leaves tea as they have antibacterial and antioxidant properties.
•    Drink milk with turmeric and honey as it has antibacterial and antigens properties 
•    Around 3 to 4 litres of water to detox or remove toxins from the body 

Consuming fresh food over processed food is always advised. Processed food is high in trans-fat which can increase the risk of cholesterol. Therefore, making the right choice of food in your daily diet regime can help you strengthen your immunity.