Sound health is essential for a meaningful existence. So, it is no surprise that humans want to be healthy. The outbreak of the COVID19 pandemic and subsequent impact across the world is helping to reinforce the desire for sound health.
Health is defined as the state of being whole, sound, in body, mind, or soul. It is the state of being free from physical disease, pain, illness and infection.
To ensure that we remain healthy, our first duty is to improve our immune system. The immune system is a complex network of cells, organs and tissues that defends the body against germs, viruses and infections. When the body senses foreign substances (called antigens), the immune system works to recognize and get rid of them.
But staying healthy is not easy in the world of today, as there are so many health hazards out there. For starters, there are environmental pollutants, poor dietary habits (junk food), diverse diseases and infections (like the coronavirus), fake drugs and medications, malnutrition, etc. All these factors can affect the immune system unfavourably.
Choosing a healthy lifestyle is the place to start. Following general good-health guidelines is the single best step you can take toward naturally keeping your immune system strong and healthy. The body, and especially the immune system functions better when protected and bolstered by healthy-living strategies such as these:
First, eat healthy meals. Food is one of the most powerful tools we have to help prevent disease and a healthy body begins with a healthy immune system. Eat fruits, dark, leafy green vegetables, healthy carbohydrates, nuts, and high-quality protein, all day, every day. As Ruth Tongue, nutritionist at foga.co. explains “Protein is needed in every cell of the body – for growth, repair and structure.” She adds: “Not only is it an essential building block for muscle, skin, bones, teeth, blood and cartilage but it also makes up enzymes and hormones, all of which are essential for everyday functioning.”
Secondly, exercise regularly. Exercise is a physical activity that is planned, structured, and repetitive for the purpose of conditioning the body. Exercise is used to improve health, maintain fitness and sustain the muscle mass of an individual.
Of course, steps should be taken to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently, cooking meats and other animal food products thoroughly, and maintaining good personal hygiene. Good personal hygiene is important for both health and social reasons. It entails keeping your hands and nails, head and body, clean so as to stop the spread of germs and illness.
Your personal hygiene benefits your own health and impacts the lives of those around you, too.
Finally, try as much as possible to maintain a healthy weight. Your BMI (body mass index) is a calculation that is used to determine if a person is overweight or underweight, and it applies to both men and women.
To get BMI, we use a mathematical formula along with the person’s height and weight. BMI measurement of 18.5 – 24.9 is the normal weight, under 18.5 is underweight, 25 – 29.9 is overweight, and 30 and above is obese. A high BMI indicates obesity, and this is not good for the immune system. The main symptom is excessive body fat, which increases the risk of serious health problems. It is important to maintain a healthy weight, by eating nutrient-rich foods and engaging in regular exercises.
Undoubtedly, eating healthy and increasing your immunity is a key pillar of a healthy lifestyle. And the best time to start is now.
Reginald Onabu, Researcher and Public Relations Officer, Writes from Lagos.