Feeling exhausted, weak, or depressed? Time to boost your natural immune system
Some foods that contain high amount of anti-oxidants and necessary vitamins are tomato, orange, bitter melon, green tea, Cochinchin gourd (Vietnamese gấc), zucchini, carrot and lemon. Photos: Shutterstock
As we get older, our immunity naturally gets weaker and we are more prone to sickness. But this can also happen due to a lack of proper nutrition and an unhealthy life style, herbalist Quoc Trung says.
The immune system needs several different vitamins (A, E, C etc.) and minerals like magnesium, iron and selenium that are important for sustaining white blood cells, T-cells and antioxidants. An unbalanced diet with too much sugar and little vegetables and fruits means we will miss these vital nutrients.
According to herbalist Vo Ha (on ykhoa.net), garlic is the main source of allicin, a natural antivirus and antibacterial compound which is even stronger than penicillin. As this compound is only present when we slice/crush garlic and is easily damaged by heat, garlic is best consumed by chewing it raw. Garlic is also rich in selenium, a strong antioxidant for improving cell membrane protection, as well as preventing cancer and heart sickness.
Some foods that contain high amount of anti-oxidants and necessary vitamins are bitter melon, Cochinchin gourd (Vietnamese gấc), zucchini, carrot, tomato, orange, lemon, onion, and green tea.
Foods that help distress our body include lotus seeds, jujubes and ginkgo extract. Lotus seeds bring us sound sleep as they contain alealoidliensinin a substance that calms down our nerves and reliefs stress away from them. Jujubes (small green Vietnamese apples) have acetylcholine a neurotransmitter that is needed for human brain as well as minerals such as flavonoid that helps with depression, tiresome and sleeplessness. Ginkgo nuts are also rich in flavonoid (glycosides) and terpernoid (ginkgolides and bilobalides) that is needed for improving blood circulation.
Although they don't provide high energy and nutrients for our body, fiber helps increase the number of good germs in our intestine or digesting system. It is plentiful in fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grain cereals.
According to health practitioners, as many as two-thirds of our immune cells are produced from the digestive system, which is multiplied when we have cultured foods such as yoghurt, kefir, fermented vegetables (cabbages, tiny cucumbers). These foods help to generate more prebiotics and probiotics for better digestion. Meanwhile food that contains much sugar such as chocolate and candy feeds bad bacteria in the digestive system.
Too much sugar and fat can lead to blocks in the main artery pumping blood to our brain, causing deadly problems like strokes or CVAs (cerebrovascular accident).
9 IMMUNITY BOOSTING TIPS
1. Regular, moderate exercise like 30 minutes of walking, Tai-chi and body-stretching exercises every day.
2. Get enough anti-oxidants such as vitamins, iron and magnesium from vegetables, fruits and nuts.
3. Drink more juices orange and lemon juice. Also drink green and black tea.
4. Eat more yoghurt or fermented food for a better digestive system.
5. Control weight as extra fat cells can destroy healthy tissues.
6. Avoid too much sugar as well as saturated fat found in fried, processed and junk food.
7. Sleep at least 7 hours a day.
8. Think positive.
9. Relax and do relaxing things like getting a massage.
The more we enjoy, the longer it lasts
According to herbalist Trung, it is important that we strengthen our natural immunity by developing and maintaining healthy habits to keep ourselves physically and mentally fit.
Little good habits such as regular exercising, washing our hands frequently and getting enough sleep are amazingly effective in supporting the operation of our immune system.
A regular practice of small exercises such as 30 minutes of walking each day is a natural boost for our immunity. No need for heavy-duty programs that sweats the body too much, simply get yourself moving a little more each day.
The old wisdom imparted since our kindergarten days is priceless. Frequent hand washing can keep diseases at bay. Most people don't think about how many times they touch their mouth, nose, and eyes with their hand. So, cleaning fingernails several times a day is a powerful deterrent to bad germs.
Morning sunlight also provides a source of vitamin D that helps your body fight infections. There is nothing wrong with staying out of the sun and wearing sunscreen, but moderate sun exposure is actually healthy.
Getting enough sleep is very important. Dutch and British scientists have tested and compared the number of granulocyte, an immune cell, in fifteen normal young adults and fifteen light sleepers of the same age. They found that the loss of sleep impacts our immune system as much as stress. (Sleep magazine).
Meanwhile, traditional Eastern healers believe boosting immunity is basically about the balance of positive and negative energy within a body. When the inner positive energy is weaker, negative energy dominates and makes us sick. As prevention in better than cure, a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle is the way to go.
Another aspect of immunity enhancing has to do with emotions. Negative emotions like anxiety can manifest in physical ailments.
Therefore, creating a harmonious living environment where you can receive the most positive energies like joy, love and gratitude. Happiness, then, is the best preventive measure against illness.