In the past decade, our lifestyles have altered drastically to suit the demands of our fast-paced personal and professional lives, compromising our overall wellness. To balance out the time and energy we have left by the end of the day, at the same time, to cater to the unending needs of our family, we have all compromised on nutrition and resorted to ready-to-eat packaged foods, restaurant take-out, and fast foods, most of which are unhealthy. And it has become regular and part of our weekly plans. This shows that we are slowly inclining toward an unhealthy lifestyle, putting our immune system at risk beyond imagination and lowering immunity in kids and adults.
In recent years we see many of our acquaintances and friends in their early thirties with compromised wellness and immunity, succumbing to diverse health issues, ranging from diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol problems, and liver and kidney issues to life-threatening disorders and malignant tumours. The current covid-19 pandemic has opened us to an entirely new healthy lifestyle of improving our immune system, immunity, and overall wellness by focussing on diet and fitness, which we were aware of, yet oblivious to during the pre-covid era.
In the wellness workshop conducted by CecureUs with expert certified nutritionist Pavan T.S, she explains the mechanism of our body’s immune system and how we can adapt to a healthy lifestyle to keep our immune system in shape and the diet to stay fit and boost our immunity to conquer the virus.
Understanding Our Immune System:
Our diet habits, lifestyle, wellness, and immune system are interlinked. To understand nutrition and strengthen our immunity and overall wellness, we have to know the crux of our immune system, which is of two types:
The Innate Immune System: This is the immune system we are born with. It is the body’s first line of defence, natural immunity, and it shows a rapid action to the pathogen exposure.
The adaptive Immune System: This is the immune system that evolves when we are exposed to a wide range of pathogens over time. This immunity takes time to develop and acts as a backup force to support the innate immune system.
Why does Covid call for a super-strong immune system?
The current pandemic is taking a toll on us by defeating the body’s immunity and our overall wellness. It happens due to an ineffective immune system, which is unhealthy and incompetent to handle the new pathogen. This calls for a shift in our lifestyle and diet to keep the immune system ready for the battle.
Apart from following the advised safety precautions, we should follow a few steps to strengthen our immunity and our body’s defence mechanism to stay healthy.
- Focus on the intake of healthy foods that boost immunity by strengthening our immune systems. This includes a well-balanced diet with carbohydrates, healthy fats, proteins (daily consumption in grams should be equivalent to body weight in kilograms), Vitamins, and minerals.
- Cut down on unhealthy sugar and simple carbs, and consume more proteins and complex carbohydrates for physical wellness.
- 2.5 to 3 litres of water/fluid intake per day to boost hydration and immunity.
- Follow a stress-free lifestyle with Yoga and Meditation. Practice physical exercise like running, jogging, Zumba, or dancing for at least half an hour every day to keep the immune system healthy to cater to physical wellness.
- Uninterrupted sleep for at least 6 hours every day for rejuvenation and emotional wellness.
Zinc, Vitamin C, and Vitamin D:
Zinc, Vitamins C, and D primarily aid our immune system fight diseases. Without these micronutrients in adequate quantities, our system will become unhealthy and fumble.
Zinc can be taken as a supplement. It is found in poultry, baked beans, flax seeds, chia seeds, chickpeas, nuts like cashews, etc.
Vitamin C is a boon to the immune system. Found in citrus fruits, broccoli, strawberries, etc.., it boosts our body’s metabolism and contributes to gut wellness.
Vitamin D is obtained from natural sunlight. Foods like oily fish, egg yolks, and fortified cereals are good sources of Vitamin D. It is helpful to calm down the body’s inflammatory responses and increases the absorption of minerals like calcium in our bones.
Regularly consuming these micronutrients will give our immune system an upper hand over any pathogen invading the body.
Tips for Post-covid Recovery:
If you have tested positive for the covid–19 virus or are on the road to recovery, you may follow these tips to bring your immune system and overall immunity and wellness back on track.
- Consume immunity-boosting healthy foods.
- Maintain a calm state of mind for emotional wellness. Contact a counsellor if you feel anxious or disturbed.
- Watch out for fluid intake, which should be more than the recommended level.
- Sleep more to recover faster. Sleep brings our emotional wellness back.
- Practice deep breathing without fail.
- Include probiotics for improving gut wellness and digestion.
Balanced Diet and BMI:
After covid, there has been an increased awareness about obesity and the need to maintain a healthy weight. People are adapting to different styles of fad diets to lose out on those extra pounds. However, sustenance on those diet habits even after attaining the target BMI is unachievable for many. Our body requires a balanced diet with the right quantities of micro and macronutrients to stay healthy in the long run. Whatever diet plans we follow, we should incorporate a step-by-step strategy to adjust, watch out for a perfect balance to satiate our body’s nutrient and energy requirements, and not go overboard or put our body and wellness to a jolt.
Why Should we cut down on sugar and simple carbs?
Refined sugar and simple carbs found in processed foods, candies, cakes, sweets, etc.., cause an immediate spike in blood sugar levels. The phagocytes of the innate immune system get paralyzed by sugar, which weakens our immune system in the long run. We are all aware that the hormone insulin secreted by the pancreas checks our body’s glucose levels. But the primary function of insulin is to unlock our body cells and feed them with the required energy. The foods that we eat should release sustained energy and be healthy. When our sugar levels are spiked at all times, insulin fails to do its job of energizing our cells. Consuming sugars and unhealthy fat, in the long run, leads to insulin resistance. This is the main reason for sweet cravings and unusual hunger pangs.
Intermittent fasting is one of the techniques that has gained popularity in recent times. It allows us to give our body time to cleanse itself and re-energize by fasting for 14 to 16 hours a day. There is an 8 to 10-hour window to eat, followed by a 14 to 16-hour window to fast. The fasting period allows consumption of water, black coffee, black tea, and other light drinks like tender coconut water. Studies have shown that intermittent fasting is healthy and helps with weight loss. It boosts our brain activity and controls diabetes and obesity by releasing energy from the accumulated fat in the body.
Stress VS Immunity:
Our daily stress has a direct impact on our immune system. Apart from interfering with sleep patterns, stress impacts overall wellness, leading to overweight issues, hormonal imbalance, and skin and hair problems.
Although stress is unavoidable, it is essential to keep it at bay by regularly practicing deep breathing techniques and yoga asanas. Having an understanding and supportive social circle of friends and relatives and consulting a psychological counsellor for help to deal with stress can be helpful too.
We can progress towards a more robust future by making simple changes in our diet and incorporating a healthy lifestyle. So, Eat Healthy, Stay Fit!
Do not miss out on our Cecureus Wellness Workshops that are being conducted every week to guide you with various coping strategies during the current pandemic.