Your Guide To The Most Effective Home Remedies For Immunity
Winter is around the corner, which means it's time for festivities, lights, and numerous parties, but it's also time for colds, flu, and other illnesses. When there is a sudden drop in temperature, your body becomes incapable of fighting foreign particles, which is why most people fall sick during this time of the year. But the good news is that you can protect yourself with the right remedies.
Your house has some really good natural medicines that work amazingly well to keep your immune system in check — for instance, the bottle of ACV on your kitchen shelf. And if you open your box of spices, you’ll find some medicines in there too. Confused? Keep scrolling to learn about some of the most incredibly simple and powerful home remedies and supplements that will boost your immunity. Grab a cup of coffee, because this is going to be a long one.
What Affects Your Immune System?
Before we learn some remedies, let’s first understand our immune system and why it becomes weak in winter.
The immune system defends your body against harmful bacteria, infections, and any internal cell alterations that can make you ill. When your immune system identifies a substance as a harmful antigen, the process of creating antibodies starts. Antibodies are nothing but proteins that fight the identified antigen to keep your body happy and healthy. Your immune system keeps track of the antigen type it fought so it can fight it again, more effectively, the next time it encounters it. The immune system doesn’t need to figure out which antibodies will work against an antigen every time it enters your body.
With such a solid system protecting our bodies, why do we get ill? Several factors affect the functioning of your immune system. Let’s look at some of those factors.
1. Environmental Factors
The environment in which we live is surrounded by a lot of bacteria and allergens. When huge quantities of unknown allergens enter our system, it takes a toll on our bodies. Pollution is a big contributor to creating an unhealthy environment. Studies reveal that healthier surroundings might prevent more than 20% of all deaths globally. Having said that, without exposing yourself to the outside environment you cannot strengthen your immune system. The more allergens your body is exposed to, the more antibodies it will have, allowing your body to defend itself against the common allergens. This explains why children have poor immunity. Since their bodies were never exposed to any allergens and bacteria, any foreign particle would send their immune system into battle mode.
Age is one factor that weakens your immune system considerably and here’s why. The task of identifying pathogens and antigens invading the body and triggering the appropriate immune response is carried out by two cell types known as B cells and T cells. Although T cells are needed to start the process, B cells are responsible for producing antibodies. These cells are made in the bone marrow, and as people age, their production declines. As a result, older adults are more prone to getting sick.
3. Lack Of Sleep
You must have heard a lot of people say that sleep is the best medicine. Have you ever experienced it? Has your fever vanished overnight? Do you feel more sleepy when you are ill? Sleep and the immune system are evidently connected to each other. The immune system heals your body when you sleep and hence your fever disappears when you wake up. A good uninterrupted sleep of 8 hours is very crucial to keep your body healthy.
4. Poor Gut Health
About 70-80% of your immune cells are in your gut. The gut microbes provide a plethora of benefits to their hosts. We call them good bacteria. Along with functions like detoxification and digestion, it also helps in regulating the immune response. Gas, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea, are some symptoms of poor gut health. An imbalance in the gut bacteria causes a lot of serious health issues like cancer, inflammatory bowel syndrome, and autism.
5. Vitamin And Mineral Deficiencies
Numerous studies highlight the significance of vitamin C in strengthening immunity. The reason is, innate and adaptive immune systems in our bodies are affected by vitamin C. Other vitamins such as B6, B12, E, A, and D, and minerals like selenium, iron, and zinc, are also essential for healthy immune function. Deficiencies in any of these nutrients might impair immunity.
6. Poor Mental Health
A sound mind in a sound body. The reverse is also true. Many studies have established a relationship between immunity and mental health. It has been noted that stress, depression, and anxiety have a deleterious impact on the immune system. Additionally, increasing stress causes the body to release the hormone cortisol, which slows the inflammatory process required for activating immune cells and also has an impact on white blood cell activity.
7. Improper Diet
A diet low in vitamins and minerals leads to deficiencies that further degrade the immune system. Animal studies prove that diet affects our immune system via gut microbes.
A sedentary lifestyle or inactivity is one of the contributors to poor gut health, which affects the growth of gut microbes. Older adults who usually resort to a sedentary lifestyle are more prone to getting infected. Moderate exercise reduces the chances of upper respiratory tract diseases. Over-exercising, however, can suppress your immune function.
Now that we know the potential reasons behind your weak immunity, here are some easy remedies to improve your immunity at home without using any antibiotics.
Easy And Effective Home Remedies For Immunity
We all know a few home remedies that have been passed on to us by our grandparents and parents, but not all of them are easy and fruitful. If you are looking for some home remedies that are easy to make and are effective, keep reading till the end.
All the home remedies we discuss here are going to be safe, but we insist you see a doctor and figure out your allergies before trying these remedies.
1. Say Yes To Healthy Sleep
An 8-hour, uninterrupted sleep can help amp up your immune system. According to a study, sleeping 7 hours per day triples your risk of catching a cold as compared to sleeping for 8 hours. Your body carries out several crucial healing processes while you sleep. These regular processes are disturbed when your sleep is interrupted. For example, sleep interruptions cause your body to release more cortisol, which suppresses your immune system. Additionally, better sleep also helps you cope with mental issues like anxiety, stress, and depression.
Tips to get better sleep
Lack of sleep is a result of a million factors including stress, anxiety, diet, internal or external pain, etc. Hence a remedy that works for you might not work for others. Try to find the root cause behind your poor sleep and take the appropriate countermeasures.
Here are some general tips to get better sleep:
- Change your mattress, lighting, and AC temperature for a comfortable environment.
- Avoid contact with blue light from screens and artificial lights 2-3 hours before sleeping.
- Avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol before sleeping
- Add consistency to your sleeping time and duration
- Add some exercise to your daily routine
2. Eat Citrus Fruits
As we saw earlier, vitamin C deficiency could be a reason behind poor immunity. You can add some citrus fruits and vegetables to your diet to increase the amount of Vitamin C in your body. For a healthy individual, daily vitamin C intake should not be more than 1g.
Oranges are the go-to source of vitamin C for most of us. A medium-sized orange contains about 60-70 mg of vitamin C.
Some other fruits that are a good source of vitamin C are-
- Sweet lime
3. Do You Like Garlic? So Does Your Immunity
We use garlic in several dishes every day, but did you know that this magical food item is also excellent for boosting immunity and getting rid of bacterial and fungal infections? It also acts as an immunomodulator. Immunomodulators are also given to patients via drugs but a natural alternative for it is Garlic. It tweaks (enhances or suppresses) our immunity to fight a certain illness. It is also anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial. What makes it a superb immunity booster is Allicin, which activates Alliinase when the garlic is crushed. Allicin restricts the growth of bacteria and fungus or it can even eliminate them completely. It can also help lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels, thus maintaining good cardiovascular health.
But what is the right way to consume garlic for its health benefits? Whatever recipe you decide on, make sure you chop or crush the cloves to activate the Alliinase enzyme. You can add chopped garlic to your soup or salad, it will impart a good flavor and give you ample benefits at the same time.
There are a plethora of recipes on the internet that you can use, but this one is a favorite for both Veg/ Non-veg eaters. We need 2 garlic heads- separate and peel the cloves and crush them with the flat side of a knife. Add about 2 tablespoons of oil of your choice to a pan and cook the garlic for 10 minutes or until it becomes soft. Add your favorite broth and herbs. Put on a lid and simmer for about half an hour. Add salt and pepper to taste and your garlic broth is ready.
4. ACV To The Rescue
What are the benefits of apple cider vinegar?
There are many uses of apple cider vinegar - as a preservative, as salad dressing, and also as an ingredient in mayonnaise. ACV is also a great immunity booster. Apple cider vinegar is a good source of antioxidants, it is anti-inflammatory and has antibacterial properties. It also helps you control weight and sugar levels and reduces the risk of heart disease. Apple cider with honey is a classic combination for better skin health.
How to consume ACV?
There are a lot of ways to incorporate ACV into your diet like adding it to your salads. You can even buy organic apple cider vinegar online and drink it. Discover some more ways to use apple cider vinegar here.
Regardless of the method you choose, it is important to remember that you should never consume ACV as is. Always dilute it before you consume it. If this is too much of a task, you also get ACV supplements that dissolve immediately when put in water and enhance your overall well-being. These supplements are not only easy to use, and effective but also extremely tasty as compared to your regular ACV.
5. Have A Cup Of Lemon Ginger Tea
A cup of refreshing lemon ginger tea a day is all you need to keep your immunity system in check. Ginger is extensively used in ayurvedic medicine for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Clubbed with lemon, which has an abundance of vitamin C, the lemon-ginger tea becomes an antioxidant powerhouse.
How to prepare lemon ginger tea?
Even if you've never been in the kitchen, you can make this antioxidant powerhouse because it's so simple to make.
Take an inch of ginger, grate it and add it to a bowl of water. Keep it on the stove and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. The water will turn slightly pale, which is exactly what we want. After 15-20 minutes, turn off the heat and add a spoonful of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Your lemon-ginger tea is ready. If the spiciness of ginger is too much for you, add a spoonful of honey and enjoy a delicious cup of tea.
Have this tea first thing in the morning or have it after your meal to help with digestion.
6. Chicken Soup For The Immune System
Another enticing home remedy for better immunity is Chicken Soup. The bone broth used for the soup is highly recommended to older adults to help with bone strengthening and better joints. The bone broth on its own is a good source of nutrients, but when coupled with the goodness of veggies, the benefits increase exponentially. Usually, chicken soup has veggies that are rich in vitamins A, C, and K and minerals like Zinc.
Is preparing chicken soup a drag? Not at all. It is easy and with a couple of tries, you can prepare a really delicious soup. Start with collecting some veggies you like and saute them with a spoonful of oil of your choice. Next, bring in your bone broth and add salt, turmeric, red pepper, and black pepper. Simmer for about 20-25 minutes and add chopped kale. Cook for 5 more minutes and the soup is ready to serve. You can add some more pepper on top if required.
7. A Kadha Never Gets Old
Kadha is another age-old ayurvedic medicine that has helped boost immunity. You can take it occasionally when you are ill to get well faster. Common ingredients of a Kadha are Tulsi, Black Pepper, Ginger, Lemon, Amla, Cardamom, Mulethi, etc. You boil these ingredients in a pot of water and have the Kadha hot or cold.
Although Kadha benefits depend on the recipe, it also depends on the quality of the ingredients used. You’ll be able to fetch most of the ingredients for Kadha online or in a local store, but the purity of the ingredients is the real question. Finding authentic ingredients is difficult today, hence it is difficult to reap the real benefits of this medicinal drink. Luckily, Kadha also comes in a supplement form. This means a precise dosage of all the ingredients, minus all the effort. All you need is a glass of water to reap the benefits of all the herbs and give your immunity the boost it needs while also relieving cold or flu symptoms.
8. Indulge In Some Fun Exercise
Exercises help a lot in treating acute viral respiratory infections by releasing pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines, increasing lymphocyte circulation, and recruiting immune cells.
Indulging in any activity like swimming, walking, running, etc. can help you boost your immunity. According to a report, yoga helps improve immunity considerably by maintaining the homeostasis of our body. If you have never tried yoga, give it a go.
9. A Glass Of Turmeric Milk Before Sleeping
Turmeric milk or Haldi-Doodh is a common drink consumed in India and turmeric has been used on wounds for ages because of its antibacterial properties. The science behind the effectiveness of turmeric is the bioactive compound called curcumin.
Curcumin has a lot of anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, hepatoprotective, cardioprotective, neuroprotective, and anti-cancer benefits. Its strong antioxidant properties are thanks to its ability to eliminate different reactive oxygen species (ROS) as superoxide radicals. Additionally, curcumin has the ability to block ROS-producing enzymes like LOX, COX, and xanthine oxidase, making it a powerful antioxidant.
Turmeric targets the intestines and colon, thus helping with treatments of inflammatory bowel syndrome and colon cancer. It is also a great remedy for healthy skin and rheumatoid arthritis. Turmeric is also rich in antioxidants that help you reduce oxidative stress.
How to prepare turmeric milk?
To make turmeric milk, you need a glass of milk of your choice, and a spoonful of turmeric powder. You can even add ginger powder, black pepper, and cinnamon powder to enhance the health benefits of the drink.
Add all the ingredients to a pot and boil it. Simmer for about 5-10 minutes and serve hot. You can add a spoonful of honey, sugar, or any other sweetener if you like.
Since the pandemic hit us, good immunity has been a goal we all want to achieve. There are many drugs that can help you achieve that goal, but most drugs have side effects, which is why we resort to safer home remedies. If you are too busy to use these remedies, you can make use of natural immunity boosting supplements that provide all the nutrients required for a strong immune system. We hope that this guide was instructive and helpful in enabling you to reach your goals for a happy and healthy body.