Updated: Mar 4, 2022
We all know autumn or fall is a the perfect season for cold and flu to come. Unfortunately, during these times, instead of a common flu and cold, this time, we are being faced with 'a special kind of flu'. Since there's no medicines for it yet, the only thing that we can control is how to improve our immune system before any cold and flu hits us. Here are a couple of factors that can lower our immune system:
1. Lack of Sleep
Not getting enough sleep can make you more likely to catch viruses or germs. And you also may take longer to get better. That’s because your body can’t make as many infection-fighting cells and proteins called antibodies that help defend against illness. Did you know that your body releases certain proteins that help the immune system, called cytokines, only during sleep.
2. Anxiety & Stress
Stress and worry aren’t great germ fighters. Just having anxious or irritating thoughts can weaken your immune response. Constant stress takes an even bigger toll and makes it harder to fight the flu and other viruses.
3. Low Vitamin D
You may know you need it for strong bones and healthy blood cells. But vitamin D also helps boost your immune system. You can get it in eggs yolk, certain types of mushrooms, cheese and fortified foods like tofu, yogurt and cereal. Sunlight is another key source. In the summer, just 5-15 minutes of rays on your hands, face, and arms 2-3 times a week usually is enough. In the winter, you might need a bit more.
4. Too Little Fruits and Veggies
These foods may help your body make more of the white blood cells you need to fight off infections. Fresh produce and nuts and seeds pack a lot of zinc, beta-carotene, vitamins A, C, and E, and other nutrients you need for a healthy body. Plant-based foods also fill you up with fiber, which helps lower your body fat percentage, which can strengthen your immune response.
5. Too Little Time Outdoors
Sunlight may energize special cells in your immune system called T-cells that help fight infection. But being outside brings other benefits, too. Many plants in the woods make phytoncides and other substances you breathe in that seem to bolster your immune function.
There is some evidence that sorrow, especially if lasts a long time, can depress your body’s immunity. The effect can linger for 6 months, but may go on longer if your grief is deep or doesn’t ease. Talk to your doctor or a mental health professional if you need help with a loss or traumatic event.
7. Lack of Body & Mind Excercise
Regular yoga practice appears to help your body fight illness caused by viruses and bacteria. That’s in part because it helps blood flows in your body more efficiently, which means germ-fighting substances get where they need to go. Yoga & meditation can also helps to calm your nervous system down and strengthen your respiratory organs. 8. Lack of Hydration
Drinking things like water, juice, or electrolyte-containing fluids will help you replace the fluids and electrolytes you've lost while also loosening mucus — if you have a cold — and helping to relieve congestion. 9. Wash Your Hands Frequently Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water. If you have heard about Ayurveda (the traditional Hindu system of medicine (incorporated in Atharva Veda, the last of the four Vedas), which is based on the idea of balance in bodily systems and uses diet, herbal treatment, and yogic breathing), these remedies that I'm about to share are based on Ayurveda recipes (only treat children after seeking medical advice and under medical supervision):
For all Doshas: • In the early stages, drink tulsi tea or ground ginger and coriander tea as needed.
• Eat 2-3 dates, and drink 1 teaspoon lemon juice in warm water twice a day.
For Vata & Kapha only: • Steep 1 teaspoon ground black cardamom in 1 cup (240ml/8fl oz) hot water and drink it up to three times a day. For Pitta only: • Steep 1 teaspoon ground green cardamom in 1 cup (240ml/8fl oz) hot water and drink it up to three times a day. Avoid: Exposure to wind particularly of the head.
Don't know your Dosha (body constitution)? Head over to this link to discover your Dosha.