Home remedies for low immunity include the consumption of micronutrients in your diet, green leafy vegetables, fruits, astragalus, garlic, echinacea, and yoghurt. This would help in improving our immunity system without any side effects.
All of us do fall ill at some time or the other. However, some people fall sick all of the time. They are prone to infections and easily contract common diseases such as cold, viral fevers, amoebiasis, small pox, and chicken pox. Bacterial and viral infections are the cause of these diseases spreading. In some cases, doctors determine that people like that have a weak immunity system.
What is Immune System?
The immune system is our body’s second line of defense. The first line of defense includes physical barriers such as skin and the mucous membranes. Mucous membranes cover the interior of walls of the digestive, respiratory, and reproductive systems. If external microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses do manage to break through the physical barriers, the body’s second line of defense (the immune system) will kick in. The immune system of a person protects him or her from being attacked by various bacteria and viruses. The best part is that we do not even know that the system is working 24/7 to keep our body free from such microorganisms that can harm us. One very good feature of the immune system is its memory. The units of the immune system are the foot soldiers who keep us away from infections and they remember the bacteria or viruses that have attacked in the past so that if they return, the body is fully prepared to handle them.
The immune system consists of white blood cells such as neutrophils, monocytes, lymphocytes, eosinophils, and basophils. These white blood cells act as the second line of defense.
Causes of Low Immunity
The immune system of our body can be affected by several external and internal factors that are responsible for low immunity. Some of the causes of low immunity include the following:
Lack of Micronutrients in Diet: Our body needs a wholesome and healthy diet that not only includes carbohydrates, proteins, and fat, but also micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals. These vitamins include vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin H, and vitamin K. Some essential minerals include calcium, iron, copper, magnesium, zinc, folic acid, and iodine. A lack of micronutrients may not be fatal in the short run or even in the long run, but studies have shown that they have a significant effect on the immune system.
Exposure to Harmful Substances: Excessive exposure to harmful substances such as pesticides, insecticides, chemical cleaning agents usually found at home, work place or industries, and even in chemically farmed food can all lower immunity. Smoking and alcohol are also some of the major substances that are known to decrease immunity to sickness and disease.
Body Toxins: Toxins are produced in our own body during metabolism. If these accumulated toxins are not flushed out from the body, they can have a devastating effect on the immune system. Excessive toxin exposure can, in some cases, lead to poisoning of the bone marrow, which is known as the heart of the immune system.
Abuse of Antibiotics: Overusage of antibiotics is another reason for a decreased level of immunity in our body. Furthermore, bacteria can build resistance against antibiotics when used regularly. If resistant bacteria attack again, the immune system, as well as the antibiotics, will fail to curtail them and result in diseases.
Lack of Sleep: Lack of sleep is also known to be one of the causes of low immunity in a person. Studies conducted by Michael Irwin at the University of California have found that a lack of sleep causes modifications in the cytokine network. Cytokines are known to be immunological signaling molecules. The changes in the cytokine network cause the cellular immunity to decline, thereby causing the immune system to weaken.
Excessive Workouts: General and sustainable workouts are recommended not only for developing overall health, but also for the benefit of the immunity system. However, as the saying goes, too much of anything is good for nothing, excessive workouts burn more oxygen in the body. Such excessive burning of oxygen produces free radicals, which attack the immune system cells and bring their numbers down. Although, this can be cured with the help of consuming nutrient-rich food, the damage is not fully repaired.
Intake of High Cholesterol Food: Intake of high cholesterol foods has also been found to be one of the major causes for low immunity. High levels of cholesterol slow down the process of natural defensive cells or macrophages that destroy infectious bacteria.
Stress in Day to Day Life: Experiencing stress in day to day life can also affect our immune system. Stress releases hormones such as neuro-endocrine hormones, particularly glucocorticoids and catecholamines. It has been observed that stress, through the action of such stress hormones, has damaging effects on immunity. Stress can have an adverse effect on natural killer cell activity, lymphocyte populations and proliferation, as well as antibody production. It can also lead to a reactivation of latent viral infections. These effects may lead to severe consequences on the health, including slowed healing of wounds, reduced responses to vaccines, and cancer.
Home Remedies for Improving Immunity
There are many ways through which the immunity system of a person can be improved with the help of home remedies. Many home remedies for low immunity work best, since they are natural. Our bodies accept them quite easily and they function with minimal or no side effects.
Nutrients in Diet: Nutrients found in a complete and healthy diet include the much needed vitamins and minerals that help in developing the immune system in the body. Vitamins and minerals help in building up antioxidants in the body as well. These antioxidants are known to improve the functioning of the immune system.
Green Leafy Vegetables: Green leafy vegetables are a wonderful source of vitamins and minerals. Vitamins such as vitamin A, E, B1, B2, and B9 are found in many green leafy vegetables. These vitamins are some of the most essential for a good immune system.
Vegetables: Vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, pumpkins, kale, beetroot, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, French beans, green pepper, okra, onions, tomatoes and many other vegetables are important in our diet as they have been shown to improve immunity. The regular intake of vegetables is highly recommended for a healthy body.
Fruits: Fruits are also a great source of vitamins and minerals. The daily intake of fruits will increase the immunity against diseases in the long run. Citrus fruits such as oranges and lemon have vitamin C in very high amounts. Vitamin C helps in building up immunity system naturally and acts as an antioxidant.
Dried Fruits: Dried fruits and nuts are good sources of protein, carbohydrates, and vitamins. Almonds, apricots, Brazil nuts, cashew nuts, pistachios, pecans, dried cranberries, raisins, and pumpkin seeds are also high in vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K, calcium, iron, and copper. As mentioned earlier, these micronutrients are needed for maintaining and improving immunity.
Adequate Sleep: An adequate amount of sound sleep is required to maintain satisfactory immunity levels. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation can have a deep impact on a person’s immune system, according to the research conducted by Majde and Krueger from the Department of Veterinary and Comparative Anatomy at the Washington State University.
Astragalus: Astragalus has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for a long time. It is known to contain components that shield against colds, fatigue, lack of appetite, stress, and allergic rhinitis. Clinical trials were conducted with astragalus preparations and were found to be effective on colds and respiratory infections. Evidence pointing toward positive immune stimulations was also observed by Block and Mead from the Institute of Integrative Cancer Care, Illinois.
Garlic: Garlic is one of the cheap and readily available home remedies for low immunity. Scientific evidence shows that garlic can fight many types of bacteria, viruses, and fungi and it is well known as one of the best natural remedies for cold and flu.
Echinacea: Echinacea is an American herb. This herb has been used by native people of that region for many centuries. It has positive effects on cold and flu, skin infections, urinary tract infections, sinusitis, and ear infections. Research and clinical trials conducted by Percival at the University of Florida gave positive results in terms of its impact on the immune system.
Goldenseal: Goldenseal is known to be an antibiotic that helps fight against bacterial and viral infections. Research undertaken by Rehman, Dillow, Carter, Chou, Le and Maisel from the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of California showed that Goldenseal is one herb that has the potential to increase antigen-specific immunoglobulin production.
Yogurt: Daily consumption of yogurt is one of the easiest home remedies for low immunity. Recently, it has been scientifically concluded that yogurt helps in increasing the number of L. casei in the digestive system and for the development of white blood cells and antibodies. The L casei bacteria, also known as Lactobacillus casei, has been observed in the prevention of enteric infections. Yogurt has also been beneficial in fighting cancer.
Shed Some Extra Pounds: One of the disadvantages of being overweight is the decreased level of functioning of our immune system. Research has shown that the immune system of overweight people was not as active as the immunity system of healthy individuals. So decreasing your weight along with balanced diet will improve your immunity.
Wheat Grass Powder: Wheat grass is another home remedy which can be taken up for improving the immune system. The American Cancer Society has studied the effects of wheatgrass and the immune system and found that wheatgrass helps in reducing mouth and throat infections, bronchitis, mucous membranes, the common cold, and diarrhea. This has been attributed to the presence of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Green Tea: Green tea is considered as another source of antioxidants, polyphenols, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic properties. Studies conducted at the Department of Dermatology at the University of Alabama have concluded that green tea actually helps in boasting the immunity system. The study had also found that green tea has the ability to counteract the effects of over-exposure to UV light.
Coconut Oil: Coconut oil also helps in building immunity. The oil contains capric acid, antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, and caprylic acid with antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. These properties are known to fight against various diseases such as cytomegalovirus, herpes, and influenza.