What is immunity?
Immunity is the state of being immune from or insusceptible to a disease or the like. It is the protection against infectious disease conferred by the immune response. It includes the body’s capacity to distinguish foreign material from self, and to neutralize, eliminate, or metabolize that which is foreign.
When a foreign substance enters the body, complex chemical and mechanical activities are set into motion. These processes defend and protect the body's cells and tissues. The foreign substances are usually a protein, and called as antigen. The most common response to the antigen is the production of antibody, a protein synthesized by immune system that can help neutralize pathogens such as bacteria and viruses.. The antigen--antibody reaction is an important component of the overall immune response.
Ayurveda describes fasting as Langhana or Upavasa. This therapy is considered the first line of treatment for balancing imbalanced bodily humors that are vital to maintain health.
Langhana helps reinstate the vitiated digestive fire that in turns helps restore health. Ten types of
Langhana therapies have been described as the four types of Panchakarma or purifying therapies (Therapeutic emesis, purgation, medicated enemas and nasal insufflations), Controlling thirst, Exposure to wind, Exposure to sun, – Administration of foods and medicine that are hot in nature, which helps in digestion, fasting and– physical exercise.
Cycles of prolonged fasting for 48 -120 hours are considered to help protect against immune system damage, they are also reported induce immune system regeneration - shifting, cells from a dormant state to a state of self-renewal. Fasting has health benefits beyond weight loss. It may also help reduce symptoms of some auto immune diseases like multiple sclerosis.
In the elderly, immune system decline contributes to increased susceptibility to disease. Prolonged fasting cycles may help kill older and damaged immune cells and generates new ones. It may force the body to use stores of glucose, fat and ketones.. Prolonged fasting may also lower levels of certain substances like IGF-1, which are linked to aging, tumor progression and cancer risk.
During fasting, the body uses up stored glucose, fat and ketones, and also recycles worn out and damaged immune cells. The white blood cell count gets a boost when one resumes eating. However, fasting should only be done under medical supervision.
When the cells adapt to fasting, there is an enhancing effect on autophagy or the process in the body that deals with destruction of cells in the body. This helps maintains homeostasis or normal functioning by protein degradation and turnover of the destroyed cell organelles for new cell formation and may thereby exert anti-ageing effect. Autophagy is an essential part of the anti-ageing mechanism of caloric restriction. During intermittent fasting the autophagic response is triggered. It provides the cells the space and time needed to get debris and waste products out. Therefore, fasting can help repair and replenish the tear and wear in the body.
Frequent Meals, snacking, and emotional eating can go unchecked during the day. Intermittent fasting helps a person take a break from erratic eating habits. Fasting can re-route your track and tune the hunger signals your body is sending. Intermittent fasting plan can change your relationship with food. When it’s time to eat again, people respond, and relish the enjoyment gained through eating. True hunger can make the most ‘bland’ health foods taste delicious.
Immunity can also be improved by consuming natural immunity boosting foods regularly. Visit our immunity blog to learn how to increase immunity and the top home remedies to improve immunity power.
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