Keep Your Immunity UP!
Do you have a weak immune system? Perhaps it's time to cultivate a healthy immunity today!
Inevitably, our lifestyle can affect how well our immune system can do to protect us from germs, viruses and chronic illnesses. As we are still in a vulnerable state with the viruses, the more we should ensure that our immune health is in tip-top condition.
Although we may be entering the endemic phase soon in Malaysia, it is still very crucial for us to do our part to curb the viruses and keep our immunity strong and healthy!
On most occasions, it is due to our bad habits/lifestyle choices that have weakened our immune system and increased the risks of getting illnesses. For example, smoking, alcohol, and eating junk foods are very harmful to our bodies and will weaken our immunity level.
Here are some signs to look out for if you have a weak immune system:
Frequent episodes of falling ill
It is perfectly normal for adults to have 2-3 times episodes of a cold infection in a year and can fully recover in 7-10 days. Those with a weaker immune system may experience frequent episodes of cold and will take a longer time to recover.
If you experience frequent diarrhea, gas or constipation, it could be a sign that your immune system is compromised. Research shows that almost 70% of your immune system is located in your digestive tract.
The good bacteria and microorganisms that live there help to defend your gut from infection and support the immune system. Low numbers of these good gut bacteria can leave you at risk of viruses, chronic inflammation and even autoimmune disorders.
It is normal to feel tired after a long day at work or school. If you are struggling to stay alert and active despite sufficient hours of sleep then perhaps your immune system is signaling something. This could happen because your body is conserving energy to fuel your immune system so it can fight off germs.
Organ inflammation can weaken the body’s immune system. Organ inflammation could be due to an injury, toxins or exposure to the external environment such as pathogens, trauma, heat, etc. Any injury to the body tissues that result in inflammation is a sign of a weakened immune system.
If you could identify with the signs above of experiencing a weaker immune system, perhaps it is time you should change your lifestyle habits. We have put up a list together for you to cultivate healthy immunity as well as to improve your overall health.
Practice proper hygiene
We cannot escape from germs because we are immediately exposed to surfaces, objects and in contact with people. However, what we can do is to minimise harmful bacteria and germs by washing our hands thoroughly with soaps and running water or taking a shower immediately upon reaching home.
If you do not have access to water outdoor, you may still use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to kill germs, but the best method would still be soap and clean water. Additionally, you may disinfect surfaces around you such as your work desk at the office or public areas before using.
Manage your stress levels
Did you know that long-term stress promotes inflammation and creates an imbalance in immune cells? If you are experiencing a high-stress level at school or work, try to find ways to manage your stress and anxiety, whether it is in the form of exercising, journaling or finding someone you trust to speak to.
Get sufficient sleep
Getting enough sleep and rest enables the body to rest, rejuvenate new cells and fight any illnesses away. By having adequate rest, your body cells are healthier and may strengthen your natural immunity. In fact, this is a reason why we need more rest when we are sick.
Sleep experts recommend adults get between 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night, while teenagers need 8–10 hours and younger children and infants up to 14 hours. If you are having trouble sleeping, try limiting screen time for an hour before bed, as the blue light emitted from your digital devices may disrupt your circadian rhythm or your body’s natural wake-sleep cycle.
Being fit and healthy by exercising regularly isn’t just for building muscles and a form of de-stress, but it can help to increase immunity too! Physical movement from exercising encourages overall circulation around the body, enabling immune cells to travel around the body easily. Additionally, individuals are encouraged to do 30 minutes of exercise a day to stimulate their immune system.
It is impossible to be following a strict healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle all the time. For this reason, we can always rely on supplements to ensure that we are filling in the vitamins and nutrients that are lacking in our bodies.
Some key supplements that can help strengthen our immunity:
- Vitamin C – encourage the production of white blood cells to protect against infection
- Vitamin D – contains anti-inflammatory properties for immune defenses activation
- Zinc – helps the immune system to fight bacteria and viruses
- Pine Bark Extract – a powerful antioxidant that provides 20x more than Vitamin C
- L-Glutathione - fight free radicals, repair DNA, inactivate toxins & regulate the immune system
Lastly, it is no surprise that eating healthily is on this list because foods play a huge role in delivering nutrients to the body. If you are feeding unhealthy food to your body, your body would not be able to absorb the healthy vitamins and nutrients that it needs.
Foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes are rich in antioxidants that will protect you against harmful pathogens. Antioxidants decrease inflammation and reduce free radicals.
Although not everyone will enjoy eating fruits and vegetables, we should still consume them in our daily diets. They are rich in Vitamin C and are very effective in reducing the duration and frequency of common colds and infections.
Besides that, plant foods rich in fibre help to maintain a healthy gut and eliminate toxins from the body. Make sure to also consume probiotic foods to increase good bacteria and maintain the right balance of good bacteria in the digestive tract. Alternatively, you can also consume probiotic supplements too for easier accessibility to probiotics daily.
While some of these tips are nothing new to us, we hope that this will set as a good reminder for you. Most importantly, it is your determination to make a difference in your life.