NUTRITIONIST AVAANTI DESHPAANDE

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8 poor dietary habits that severely compromise your immunity

Our body’s immune system is the defense mechanism that protects us. If the immune system is compromised due to any reason or habits, our body would be exposed to various infections that could also be fatal in nature.

The health of the immune system immensely depends on various choices that we make in our daily routine. Here are a few reasons why the immune system might get compromised, along with easy adaptations that you can do to improve it:

1. THE QUANTITY OF PROTEIN CONSUMED IN THE DIET:

Protein helps the build-up of the immune system in many ways. They form the immunoglobulin that is a part of hemoglobin, form the antibodies, and are also required for cell repair and growth.

As per the RDA (2010) given by ICMR, a healthy adult should be consuming about 50 to 75g of protein throughout the day. The Indian Market Research Bureau’s 2017 report states that protein deficiency among Indians stands at more than 80 percent, measured against the recommended 60g per day. Approximately 6 gm of protein is 1 serve. This would be available by consuming 1 glass of milk or 1 bowl of curds or 1 bowl of dal or lentils, or 1 egg or 3-4 pcs of chicken or fish or 1 fistful of nuts.

Since it gets difficult to consume the required protein intake through natural food, one can add a protein-based health drink. Protinex is one such healthy nutrition drink that we recommend to make up the protein requirement of the day, along with natural protein sources. This has high protein which provides 34g per 100gm that meets the additional protein which our body needs. It is low in fat which is just 0.5g per 100gm. Plus, it has #powerofpro10 which is basically 10 Immuno nutrients present in it like Vitamin A, C, D, E, B6, B12, Folic Acid, Iron, Copper, and Zinc that supports immunity and makes it a balanced nutrition drink for Indian adults & gives you all-day energy. And since it has a chocolate flavor, it has a great taste as well. It is extremely important to have all these 10 nutrients in your daily diet with high protein as they support your immune system. One should consume a well-balanced diet to reap the health benefits. You should drink Protinex Tasty Chocolate with milk daily, to see the best results as it provides all these nutrients in one go and supports the immune system. Replacing your cup of tea or coffee with Protinex is really a fruitful choice towards healthy well-being and better immunity.

2. INSUFFICIENT CONSUMPTION OF IRON-RICH FOODS:

Iron is required for the proliferation of the cells in the immune system, especially the lymphocytes. Anemia, which is caused due to iron deficiency, is known to reduce the body’s immunity. Iron from non-vegetarian foods like eggs, chicken, and organ meats is absorbed better as compared to any vegetarian source. Although, the vegetarian sources of iron are green leafy vegetables, pulses, and legumes, nuts like almonds and seeds such as garden cress seeds, sesame seeds, and chia seeds.

For better absorption of iron in the body, we need to consume vitamin C rich foods such as lemon juice or citrus fruits. That is why it is a good idea to sprinkle lemon juice over our daily food, or just consuming a glass of lemon juice after meals.

3. INSUFFICIENT ANTIOXIDANTS:

Antioxidant foods play a significant role in fighting free radicals. These free radicals are generated through various paths. To name a few: the environmental pollution, pesticides in the foods, junk foods which have high trans fats, and many more. These free radicals damage the integrity of the cells. These antioxidants help fight these free radicals and maintain cell health which in turn boosts immunity.

The colored fruits and vegetables are antioxidant-rich by virtue of the color pigments present in them. Vitamin A-rich foods like papaya, mango, eggs, carrots, chicken are also rich antioxidants. Vitamin E rich foods like almonds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, or sea fish also work as antioxidants to heal our body. Make sure to consume at least 1 handful of nuts and 5 servings of fruits and vegetables in the day.

4. LACK OF EXERCISE:

We all know that exercise has tremendous benefits and boosting our immunity is surely one of them! Exercise causes us to sweat that releases all the toxins out of the body. It also flushes out the bacteria from the airways and the lungs. Exercising increases the body heat and helps get rid of harmful pathogens, and any kind of exercise increases our oxygen intake that helps in cell repair and boosting our immunity.

Your exercise can be both – aerobic, which includes walking, running, skipping, swimming and anaerobic, like weight training or Surya Namaskar. At least 20-30 mins of exercise are highly recommended daily.

5. SMOKING & CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL:

Smoking affects immunity in several ways. Firstly, smoking affects the lung capacity which in turn affects the uptake of oxygen. Smoking also produces oxidants in the body which affect the immune system in the ways mentioned earlier.

Alcohol almost affects the body in the same ways that smoking does, which is by the release of free radicals.  Since alcohol needs to be detoxified in the liver, excess alcohol consumption will decrease the functioning of the liver and in turn affect immunity.

6. SLEEP:

A great reason for you to get better sleep is that it helps to improve the functioning of the immune cells which specifically fight the pathogens! A sound sleep is known to reduce the stress hormones, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. The reduction in these hormones is known to improve the functioning of these immune cells which can then easily bind to the pathogens and successfully eliminate them.

Now the question is, how many hours should I be sleeping?!  A sound sleep which is anywhere between six to eight hours works wonders. So, make it point to sleep well and most importantly do not comprise it for any screen time!

7. NOT KEEPING ENOUGH  FOOD GAPS  TO HEAL THE BODY (INTERMITTENT FASTING):

We all know that our body uses energy to digest the foods that we consume. So, every time we eat food, several systems in the body like the digestive, respiratory, excretory, lymph systems are activated. Once the food is digested it is stored in the body to be further used as energy or then used for the repair of the body. We eat food which gives energy, but beyond that, if we constantly eat food the body has to keep on focusing on digesting it, which means there is a constant energy requirement. As a result, the repair of the body is impaired. At the same time if we consume extra calories it would further affect the body by the accumulation of fat which generates toxins in the body.

Another solution can be fasting, which means not consuming any food for a period ranging from 12 to 14 hours. Even a severe dry fast which means not consuming any food or even water for several hours is a way we allow our body to repair or heal itself. Since the body does not have to spend energy on digesting food, it spends all this energy in the repair of the damaged cells or removal of the toxins. Intermittent fasting has proven to be beneficial in several metabolic disorders like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular health, reducing inflammation and even improving the immune system (2)

If you have not yet practiced fasting, you need to do so at least 2 to 3 times a week, and you can be sure that the immunity gets better.

8. DIAGNOSIS OF NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCIES (MALNUTRITION):

When a body does not intake sufficient amounts of nutrients from the food it consumes, it causes a nutritional deficiency. Such deficiencies are known to cause health issues such as digestion problems, skin disorders, stunted or defective bone growth, or even dementia in some cases.

Headaches, fever, tiredness, fatigue, and joint pain are just a few symptoms of nutritional deficiency! It goes without saying that these deficiencies such as anemia, protein deficiency, Vitamin C deficiency, etc. harm our immunity overall.

It is wise to get a routine blood check-up done, once every 3 – 6 months to be sure of your health.

Taking care of our immunity should always be our priority. Given that, as you can see, it is not really that difficult to do so! Just follow these points and implement them in your daily life, and you will notice a significant difference in no time!

Feature image courtesy Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash

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