It’s well-known that cardio reduces the risk of stroke, improves blood circulation, lowers hypertension and relieves stress.
However, a crucial benefit of cardio is that it boosts the body’s immunity. Regular exercise ensures constant flow of nutrients and infection-fighting cells throughout the body, and of waste products out of it.
Simply put, diseases often follow blockage in the body’s intricate mechanism. Hence, an easy defence against diseases keeps the body mechanisms ticking.
Two or three bowel movements per day ensures that the body’s defence system is not put under any excess strain. So, keep the body well-hydrated for regular and healthy bowel movements, and have food rich in fibre such as cereals, whole grains and fruits like apples .
The big ‘s’ factor also affects immunity. Keep stress under check, incorporate a relaxing practice such as meditation, yoga or deep breathing into your daily routine. You may even try Tai-chi, a Chinese martial art.
A recent Arizona State University study says that mushrooms can indeed help cement the body’s immunity. Interestingly, the common white button mushroom has stronger immunity boosting properties as compared to the exotic varieties.
Chocoholics rejoice ! Chocolate is a good source of arginine amino acid (a component of most proteins) which is crucial in boosting the body’s immunity. Besides, it is also known to play a role in weight control and is also beneficial for the liver.
Good ol’ chai fights infections attacking our body, says a study conducted by the Harvard Medical School. The study showed that the immune system of tea drinkers responded five times faster to germs, as compared to those who had coffee. The chemical in question in tea that supports immunity is L-theanine .
Apart from being a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have a host of benefits of their own, fish is also a rich source of glutamine that helps build immunity .
BREATHE RIGHT BELLY BREATHING
The most efficient way to breathe is diaphragmatic breathing or belly breathing. Most infants and young children do it easily, but as we get older, we tend to breathe using our chest and shoulder muscles and less of our diaphragm. Practise the following exercise and re-learn your breathing technique. Pick a comfortable position — sitting, standing or lying — on your back. When standing or sitting, make sure that your feet are flat on the floor, the back is straight and hands are at your side, on your lap, or on the belly. Inhale deeply thrice, through your nose and exhale from your mouth. Feel the stress leave your body with each exhalation. As you inhale, let the breath completely fill your lungs and push your belly out. Exhale completely, feeling your belly move back in. Do a series of seven breaths. Rest for two minutes and repeat
ALTERNATING NOSTRIL BREATHING
This is recommended for those suffering from chronic sinusitis, allergies and lung infections.
Sit comfortably on a chair or on the floor. Press the thumb of your left hand against the left side of your nose, blocking the air passage, the other fingers of your hand kept straight, not touching your face. Breathe in through your right nostril for a count of ten. Move your hand such that your index finger closes the air passage on the right side of your nose. Breathe out of the left nostril for a count of ten. Repeat five times. Switch hands. Inhale through the left nostril and exhale from the right nostril for a count of ten. Repeat five times.