Easy Lifestyle Changes

The importance of immunity for seniors
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A good immunity helps the individual to blunt the effects of infective illnesses including viral infections including influenza, pneumonia and many infective illnesses etc. This is true at all ages, especially in the elderly.

An immune system may contain innate and adaptive components. The reaction to foreign substances is described as inflammation where body cells surround the agent, engulfs and eliminates it akin to burning it off. These two components of the immune system create a dynamic environment where "health" can be seen as a physical state where the self is immunologically spared, and what is foreign is inflammatory and immunologically eliminated. Disease can arise when what is foreign cannot be eliminated. Vaccines improve immunity. Covid 19 is a good example and development of vaccines against it have changed the scenario completely and deaths have become very few. Those who succumb are invariably immune-compromised.

It is possible to increase general immunity by simple measures which need to be incorporated in lifestyle as a habit. These include dietary measures including some supplements, proper hydration, regular exercise, good sleep, relaxing techniques and restricting out of city travel as far as possible.

Diet is a very important component.

Eating a low carbohydrate diet which means minimizing intake of polished rice, refined flour, Maida products like breads etc. Instead, protein intake should be increased in the form of poultry, lean meat, fish, eggs etc. Plenty of fresh leafy vegetables like; Haakh including Knol Kohl (Monjee), Spinach, Capsicum (Shimla mirch), egg plants (Wangun), mushrooms, beta carotene containing foods like carrots and citrus fruits, (oranges and lemons) apples, pears, apricots and nuts like almonds and walnuts.

Ginger, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, garlic are commonly used ingredients in our kitchens. All are good for boosting immunity. These however for maximum protection should be taken in warm water or green tea like a soup rather than after deep cooking and frying.

Supplements like vitamin D (60,000 units per week for 3 months. Vitamin C 500 mgs per day. Diabetics on metformin additionally should be taking Cyanocobalamin (Vit B12) in multivitamin tablets.

Adequate Hydration:

Plenty of fluids, 8 to 10 glasses as water, citrus fruit juice, coconut water, green tea etc. Tea with milk and sugar should not be taken more than twice. This high intake helps in flushing out the injurious substances from blood.

Regular Exercise:

A minimum of 30 to 40 minutes of exercise of any sort at a safe place is recommended. Regular exercise improves metabolism, which has a direct correlation with body immunity. Persons with underlying health issues wishing to start, need to consult a physician before embarking on it.

Good Sleep:

A minimum of 6 to 7 hours of sleep is essential for the body to keep the immune system intact. It helps in repairing the muscle fibres. The lack of sleep will prevent the body from resting and this will impair other bodily functions that will have a direct impact on immunity. If not feeling sleepy get up and read a nice book or listen to light soothing music till you start dozing off.

Relaxing Techniques:  

These are testing times, and a prolonged period of staying indoors has its implications on your mental wellbeing. Some of the relaxing methods are: yoga, pranayama, leaving the world behind during offering of Namaz, Zikr and other prayers and bhajans.

The benefits of these simple methods which are all available with us, are cost effective and have been proven in many observational longitudinal studies. These are highly recommended not only in the present times but also to ward off several other common illnesses like Influenza, pneumonias and several other droplet, air and water borne diseases. The non-communicable diseases like hypertension, diabetes and heart attacks also are blunted by these easy to practise tips.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author the article do not reflect the views of GK.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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