The circle of health, strength and higher immunity

Professor Canary’s (henceforth referred to as PC) class is normally highly anticipated in the corridors of SBHL (School of blissful and healthy life). A breakthrough school in terms of pedagogy, subjects, approach and vision, SBHL has been grooming the children of today so they can successfully take up the mantle of grooming the world of tomorrow. Today there is a lot of buzz in the school as PC is supposed to deliver a very important lecture. The title of the lecture is “How we can make a stronger, healthier and more immune India”.

The students are seated already in the large plush amphitheater where the lectures are normally delivered. They have their notebooks, pens, I-pads, laptops and everything else ready that they may need to record PC’s message for the future. In fact, what is this that we are seeing! There are some parents too. This looks like it will be a very promising and useful session. Oh, look, PC is here. Let’s see what she has to teach and how do the students receive it.

PC: Good morning everyone!

Audience: Good morning, PC!

PC: So, as all of you already know, today we are here to discuss a very important matter. We are here to discuss something that all of us really care about. A stronger, healthier and more immune India.

Audience: (happy movements and excitement in the crowd)

PC: Am I right in assuming all of us really care about it?

Audience: Yes!

PC: Louder!

Audience: YES!

PC: Wonderful. Buddha once said, "To keep the body in good health is a duty...otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear."

Audience: (murmur)

PC: It has been my pleasure to groom some of the finest minds of our country here at SBHL, starting from very tender ages. I have a lot of observations over the years and I feel that it is such an important topic that not only this school, this needs to go to all schools, institutions, forums and wherever there are people listening!

Audience: Observations?

PC: Yes, observations. On what you young ones are eating, drinking, doing, talking and thinking. And since you will be the future of tomorrow, it is very important that I hold up the mirror to you and guide you towards a better India. So tell me. Have you noticed how often most of you fall ill?

Students: (nod) Yes…

PC: Now a question for the parents. Have you seen your friends’ children who rarely ever fall unwell?

Parents: YES!

PC: There is no reason why your child cannot be one of them. Why do you think that is the case but?

Parents: (shrug shoulders / shake heads)

PC: This is because they are not strong enough, not healthy enough. The golden word that is behind all of this is simple: immunity. Before you ask me what is immunity, let me tell you. To be immune means to be protected. The immune system is made up of a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body, fight off sickness and against all germs.

Parent: I’m not sure if it sounds stupid, but what exactly are germs?

PC: Good question. Most of us use words like immunity, germs and antibiotics without knowing what they mean! Germs are nothing but invaders that can make plants, animals and humans sick. So there are 4 kinds of germs: bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa. All of them can live inside the body

Parent: So is there any way that the body can resist of fight these germs?

PC: Of course there are. Let me segment this session into four major parts to make it easier to understand. The first and most important part or the way in which immunity can be strengthened is food. Of all the ways we can boost our body’s immune system, eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables remains among the most important.

But before I go into my list of pointers that everyone needs to keep in mind while deciding their diet, I would like to throw this point open to the audience. Anybody has any thoughts on this?

Student: When I was a toddler, I ate a lot mashed fruit and my mom tells me that it made me really strong and healthy.

PC: Excellent, Anish! Yes fruits are a rich source of many nutrients, antioxidants and vitamins. They are a must add for any basic diet plan if we want to work on our immunity.

Parent: (raises hand)

PC: Yes please?

Parent: Breast feeding is very important for the baby. It builds baby's brain and helps protect against diseases.

PC: Wonderful! Nursing guards the infants against infections, allergies, diarrhea, pneumonia and many other illnesses. It is advisable to breastfeed babies for at least 3 months, but continuing it for the next 6-18 is said to do wonders to the babies’ immune system and overall health. let me show broadly how you should break-up your diet on this big screen here ----

Now, here are some other food related pointers for you, which will help you build strength, health and a strong immune system:
  • Avoid fad diets – they are often incredibly unhealthy. To get all the nutrition the human body needs, you must eat a balanced diet including dairy, grains, protein, fruits and veggies, as well as fat. Eating highly varied foods will also help insure you get all the vitamins, minerals, oils, and enzymes your body craves.
  • Avoid skipping meals, which is hard on the body. Some dieticians even recommend eating up to six mini meals a day instead of three large ones. This has a lot of benefits. It will help the body sustain energy and steady blood-sugar levels. It won’t force the body to digest too much at once which may make it park the fat. However, many people end up turning their “mini meals” into junk food sessions and end up consuming not just more calories, but emptier ones – not good at all!
  • If you want to work on portion control, eat low energy-density foods (i.e. more substance, fewer calories). Fruits and vegetables, for example, are packed with not only vitamins and minerals, but also water and fiber, making them take longer to digest and keeping you full longer
  • Eat green leafy vegetables: One tip for young parents here. A great thing you can do for your kid’s health is to have a couple of good servings of green leafy vegetables each day. They are rich in immune boosting nutrients and antioxidants.
  • Include yoghurt in your and your children’s diets: Yoghurt is considered a probiotic food as it contains ‘friendly’ bacteria that promotes the growth and health of beneficial bacteria in the bowel.
  • Opt for whole grain wheat instead of processed wheat: Maida is processed to an extent that makes it unsuitable for our bodies. Opt for jaggery instead of white sugar. Go for unrefined rice and brown bread. Make sure everything you eat is as close to natural as possible.
  • Eat beans and legumes as they provide a host of nutrition to your bodies.

  • Garlic: One of the best ways to strengthen your child’s immune system this winter, to protect them from colds and flu, is to include garlic in their diet.
  • Berries: Bright, beautiful berries are one of your best sources of protective antioxidants and immune boosting nutrients.
  • Supplements: At a time when germs like bacteria and viruses are everywhere, your immunity system needs strengthening to be able to cope with various infections and diseases. Natural or nature identical supplements like chayawanprash have a number of herbs like Amla, known to be one of the best antioxidants, Giloy (Guduchi), known to have immuno-modulatory properties, and many other natural ingredients. Vitamin supplements, especially Vitamin C, also go a long way in improving your child's health. Dabur chyawanprash is one of the oldest and most trusted ones available in the market.
Here on the screen is a food pyramid that will put this all in perspective ----

Am I just blabbering a lot of gibberish on food or does this make sense?

Audience: Definitely makes sense!

PC: So what do you think is the next way you can be stronger and healthier?

Student: Working out?

PC: You’re close. I would rather put it as exercise. Start and stick to an exercise regimen. And this does not necessarily mean joining an expensive gym. You can start exercising effectively at your home itself. Do free hand exercises, start aerobics, yoga or anything that helps you burn excess calories and build muscle and strength. This will in turn increase your metabolism. And it will start a healthy circle which lead to each other and deliver brilliant results overall.

I see some skeptical faces, especially among the parents. What is the problem?

Parent: My children at least get to play sometimes and that is a great form of exercise for them. But I find it very difficult to make it a regular part of my life. It just seems like something that is so easy to think of but so difficult to implement.

PC: Understood. Here are some tips:
  • Workout journal: To help you stick to your regimen, keep a workout journal. Plan out when and where you will work out each week and stick to it.
  • Workout buddy: Try and get a friend to join you, preferably somebody who has the same workout objectives as you have. Urge and encourage each other to keep going on.
  • Workout incentives: Incentivize yourself each time you reach a milestone or achieve an objective. So if you wanted to reach a weight of 60 kg and you do, treat yourself to a rich chocolate ice cream. You have earned it with so much hard work. Of course in the first place this means that you should have clearly defined objectives to your workout. Even if it is overall toning, you should have something like a time frame by when you want to achieve it so that you stay on track. But remember, do allow yourself some slack. If you make it too military like, you body may revolt.
Student: Ma’am, cardio exercises really keep our heart in shape and increase our endurance.

PC: Wonderful! You’re absolutely right. Running and swift walking are two easy cardio exercises you can start with. And like a parent rightly said earlier, children get enough of it through playing anyway. Let me play a video for you here on yoga for immunity. There are loads of others available on YouTube that you can check out.

Parent: But is it okay for children to play in the mud and open? Is it not too polluted and dirty for them? I always tell my child not to go out but he hardly obeys me.

PC: Not at all! Please let the child go out! Do not deny him of the outdoors! Children need to be exposed to dirt in order for their immune systems to fully develop. That is how it was intended by nature or God, however you would like to think of origin. By moving away from it, you are confusing your bodies!

Student: Yes, I feel stronger and happier every time I play football in the ground!

PC: Wonderful! Superb! I am so glad to hear that! Any other thought or question?

Audience: (silence)

PC: Okay. So let us move to the next element. Time to talk about the next important element – lifestyle changes.

Audience: Lifestyle as in?

PC: As in basic things related to how you lead your day to day life. Examples being sleep, alcohol consumption, stress, TV, hygiene and such things. Of course it varies according to your age, but it is still relevant for you at all stages of life. So here we go:
  • Sleep adequately: Sleep is a great way to relax your body, soothe your mind and guess what? Boost your immunity!
  • Quit smoking and reduce drinking: Shocking as it may be, I see teenagers smoking behind the school compound. And I am sure that some parents among this audience smoke as well. Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 toxins, most of which can irritate or kill cells in our bodies. Even second hand smoke is highly dangerous for us. Kids are more susceptible than adults to the harmful effects of secondhand smoke because they breathe at a faster rate.
  • Do not gulp antibiotics like candies: it has been proved that the more we take antibiotics or such medicines, the more our bodies get used to it, and hence the more these medicines lose their impact. And a pointer for the parents present here: do not force your doctor to prescribe them each time you child gets a cold or a fever. 
  • Do not think that vaccinations are the answer to everything. (Food and love is still staple for your child)
  • Do not become obsessive about hygiene: If you are one of those washes his or her hands each time you touch something dirty, then let me tell you viruses are very smart. They are constantly developing and overcoming your soaps. Do not make your bodies hyper sensitive – expose them to the bacteria and virus in small quantities so that the bodies build up a smart immune system.
Audience: (nodding of heads)

PC: I see you agree with me.

Audience: (smiles)

PC: Great. And so this, dear children, is the circle of health, strength and higher immunity for you.

Audience: But ma’am, there is more to strength and good health than just our external bodies?

PC: I am so happy you people have pointed to that. These are the things that keep my faith alive in SBHL. Yes! At the end of all of this, it is of utmost importance to be happy! To smile! To laugh! It is very vital to think positive and ensure that your minds are engaged productively. A healthy body will flourish with a healthy mind and vice versa. A stronger mind will run a strong body effectively. And a mind immune to negativity will be your most powerful asset in ensuring you have not just a body with high immunity against illness and disease but also a life with immunity against failure and disappointment.

So thanks a lot for coming today and making this session so successful. I am sure that all of you will incorporate this in your lives and lead stronger, healthier, more immune and happier lives, with what you learnt today. All the best!

Audience: (cheering)

p.s. I grew up on Dabur Chyawanprash so when they offered a chance to write a contest post on it, I jumped at it! I love their colorful and informative website!
Thanks to Google images for all pictures and graphs. Thanks to YouTube for the video.


Liked the way you have written with reasons, points and the solution...all the best :)
Gunjan said…
Really like the conversational style you have adopted for this post. All the best for the contest! :)
Disha Kotak said…
Hi professor c ,
I promise I read the whole post , before voting for you :p
I promise I am not here to spam you :p
But just to appreciate the effort you put in the entry ,
All the best !
drlawrencekindo said…
The conversation was great and the reason for it even greater. Well Done and all the best.

My entry for the contest is at Towards an Immune India
Vinayak Pattar said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Canary said…
Thanks Uma! I am a fan of your writing.. had loved yours on Dove :)
Canary said…
I am so glad you appreciate my style in this post Gunjan!! :)
Canary said…
hahahahahahha, you are my favorite student from today, Disha!
Thanks for very kind words *hugs* :)
Canary said…
Thanks Dr. Lawrence, I enjoyed your entry too!
Canary said…
Thanks Vinayak - not sure how your entry got removed?
Nirvana said…
wow!! you've done your research so well. Extremely well written Canary - loved it!
Canary said…
Thanks Nirvana! I am so glad a pro blogger like you appreciated it!! :)
anitaexplorer said…
Nice cool Post, PC!
BTW, PC is Priyanka Chopra's name :)
I liked your in-depth presentation with apt pics.
Best wishes for the Contest :)
Canary said…
Hey Anita! So glad to see you here my tweep! :)
Thanks for your appreciation!! :)
Lol, wondering why I'm PC :P
Canary said…
As in wondering why I'm Priyanka ;)

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