Friday, April 7, 2023

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is observing its 75th anniversary on 7th April. Like every year WHO and its member countries (presently 194) together with other partners celebrate this day as “World Health Day” and organise various events across the world in line with a specific theme. The theme for 2023 is “Health For All”.

We know health is wealth not only for the individual but also for the family, society, country and the world at large. Obviously, providing the necessary health related inputs by the government and making people aware about the benefits of staying healthy on a regular basis are very necessary and equally challenging in a big country like India. It is because of the fact that people of all ages in the country are falling sick more frequently than before. Ironically, the incidences of non-communicable diseases are very much on the rise and so is the cost of medical expenses. The perennial shortage of doctors and nurses is still a cause of concern, notwithstanding the opening of more medical colleges in the country.
Overall health and wellness of citizens are the real challenges, equally before the government and society. How to address this crucial issue within the existing constraints and also without incurring extra public expenditure is a big pertinent question? Let us discuss here at least one sure shot way in this regard through time tested motivation and awareness route.
The famous American physician, author and professional speaker Michael Greger says, "Tobacco smoke contains chemicals that weaken the body’s immune system, making it more susceptible to disease and handicapping its ability to destroy cancer cells." Similarly, the consumption of liquor, cocaine, heroin etc. damages our immune system. Another expert Kris Carr says, "If you don’t think your anxiety, depression, sadness and stress impact your physical health, think again. All of these emotions trigger chemical reactions in your body which can lead to inflammation and a weakened immune system…"

Although health and medical experts are still busy in finding out the direct link between our lifestyle, dietary habits, genetic and psychological factors etc. and the immune system, yet everyone agrees on the point that all these factors have a very reasonable impact on our overall health and medical condition.
What is this immune system is all about? The immune system is a complex network of organs, cells and proteins that defends the body against infection, while protecting the body's own cells. It is interesting to know that the immune system keeps a record of every microbe – Virus, Bacteria etc. it has ever defeated so that it can recognize and destroy the microbe quickly, if it enters the body again. In plain and simple words, our immune system denotes the status of the body's defence mechanism for fighting against microorganisms that cause a variety of diseases. The stronger the immune system, the lesser the chance of falling sick. It being so, it is desirable to know the ways and means to improve our immune system to stay healthy and medically fit.
As discussed, it is a system of body’s defence and hence depends on a number of factors as indicated by many health experts. The list of ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’ for maintaining a strong immune system is pretty long. Nevertheless, the following five simple and doable ways, if practised sincerely can go a long way in strengthening the immune system to a significant extent:

Remain Oxygenated and Hydrated: Oxygen is our life line which we breathe every second. Nature gives us oxygen free of cost. We can have this life sustaining gas in adequate quantity despite several challenges of modern living, if we can save our forest and also plant trees in good numbers all around. Moreover, if we inculcate the habit of breathing deeply to inhale more oxygen and exhale more carbon dioxide, we can keep our body amply functional and healthy. 

It is rightly said that water is equally needed as our body contains more than 60% water. Remaining always hydrated is therefore very desirable for multiple reasons. 

To say in fewer words, our health and so our immune system is very much dependent on the quantity and quality of oxygen we breathe and water we drink daily.

Practice Healthy Eating: Healthy eating means taking a balanced diet on a daily basis. In other words, a balanced diet or a good diet means consuming eatables from different food groups in the right quantities, because one single food group cannot provide everything an average healthy person needs. It is worth noting that seasonal fruits, especially citrus fruits and green vegetables must be included in your daily diet

Interestingly, even factors like how you eat your food can influence how many calories get into your system, which is very important in any case. Health experts are also of the opinion that the better we chew our food, the more calories our body retains. Saying a big no to junk, frozen, preserved and processed food items are also very necessary. In a nutshell, healthy eating should be our way of life in order to keep our immune system strong.

Physical Exercise: Health experts recommend physical exercise of 20-30 minutes a day for minimum 4-5 days in a week for better blood circulation, activation of cells, flexibility of muscles, and secretion of feel good and feel happy hormones. Including Yoga and Meditation in our daily routine are found to be extremely beneficial. All these cumulatively contribute towards improving the immune system very well.

Sleep Well: It has also been medically proved beyond any doubt that much of our body's regeneration processes take place during the sleeping hours at night. Obviously, lack of sleep, more so of quality sleep, upsets the normal hormonal balance which is one of the major causes of weak metabolism-immunity and consequently of several diseases. 

Hence, it is necessary to sleep well for 7-8 hours every night for maintaining a strong immune system which in turn can ensure better mental as well as physical health.

Be Positive: As you sow, so will you reap- goes the old saying. Thinking and acting positive in any situation will finally bring you positive results. It has a definite positive impact on your thought process, daily activities, metabolic condition and immune system. 

To say, it is always better to shun negativity, increase positivity and in the process strengthen your mental and physical wellness. Amy Morin says, ‘Positive thinking is a valuable tool that can help you overcome obstacles, deal with pain, and reach new goals.’ 

As always, I'm keen to know what you think on this subject. Hence, request you to post comments to share your views and experiences.



# Published in "Morning India" daily.

# Click here to enjoy my Blog in Hindi, "Chalte, Chalte" (चलते, चलते)

No comments:

Post a Comment

More Posts