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5 Ways to Improve Your Immune System

5 Ways to Improve Your Immune System
Taking care of your body is the most essential thing, here are 5 ways to prep your natural fight system for the battle!


1) Good Food

As the saying goes "you are what you eat", so take great care in feeding your body. Besides your regular consumption of fruits and vegetables, give your body the extra boost with superfoods.

Spirulina is rich in various nutrients and may block viral replication [1].
Pumpkin seeds are abundant in zinc, a vital mineral in the production and communication of immune cells [2].
Sunflower seeds have selenium, a key component in thyroid gland functions, which helps facilitate the maturation of immune cells [3].

Adding these foods to your diet will boost your immunity during the crisis!

2) Good Rest

Having a good nights sleep is the key to a strong immune system. Research has shown that sleep and the circadian system are strong regulators of immunological processes [4]. Getting quality sleepconsistently, will help rev up your immune system. To enhance your sleep quality, you may try massaging and stretching, which can increase blood circulation and relax muscles, getting them ready for bed. You may also try chamomile tea [5] or diffuse lavender oils [6] to help you get to sleep. 



3) Good Mood

Your body's natural response to stress is to release cortisol, a hormone that increases your heart rate and blood pressure to allow energy and nutrients to flow quickly to the areas of need. Now, short-term release of cortisol can save your butt in a pinch, but prolonged release of cortisol and curb your immune system response and increase your risk of heart diseases [7].To reduce stress, you can try doing breathing exercises, doing stretches or finding a hobbyyou enjoy. Get a hug from a loved one or even crying and reduce stress [7] [8] [9]. 



4) Good Laugh

If mood is important, then laughter is the best medicine. Laughing can help decrease stress and increase oxygen intake. Laughing will release a happy hormone called endorphins, and this hormone can increase the presence of your Natural Killer Cells (NK Cells) [10]. NK Cells are known to lyze (a fancy word for dissolve) cancer cells without affecting normal functioning cells in lab environments [11]. So take some time everyday to watch some funny videos, joke with a friend and share your laughters with your family, because laughing can be contagious!



6) Good Workout

Moderate exercising, especially cardio, can enhance your immunity. Moderate exercises not only help with blood circulation, it increases the amount of leukocytes circulation up to 400% during and immediately post exercise [12].

If you have been previously exercising, keep it up! If you've led a sedentary lifestyle, it's recommended that you start slow and easy and don't rush it, as high intensity exercise during the outbreak may compromise your immunity instead. 

You can try a 6 mins workout first and slowly build up to 10 mins and so on. Try to be consistent and your body will serve you well. 

If you have any medical history, it's best to check with your doctor to see which exercise is best suited for you. 



There are no sure ways to conquer the virus yet, but we can do our part in keeping our natural defense system in top notch. Remember to wash your hands frequently, wear your mask and do your part in social distancing.

Let's fight the coronavirus together!

 



References

[1] McCarty M, DiNicolantonio J. Nutraceuticals have potential for boosting the type 1 interferon response to RNA viruses including influenza and coronavirus. Progress in Cardiovascular Disease [Internet]. 2020 Feb [cited 2020 Apr 02]. Available from: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.pcad.2020.02.007

[2] Shankar A,  Prasad A. Zinc and immune function: the biological basis of altered resistance to infection.  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition [Internet]. 1998 Aug [cited 2020 Apr 02];68(2):447S-463S. Available from: http://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/68.2.447S

[3] Avery J, Hoffmann P. Selenium, Selenoproteins, and Immunity. Nutrients [Internet]. 2018 Sep [cited 2020 Apr 02];10(9):1203. Available from: http://doi.org/10.3390/nu10091203

[4] Besedovsky L, Lange T, Born J. Sleep and Immune function. Pflugers Archiv - European Journal of Physiology [Internet]. 2012 Jan [cited 2020 Apr 03];463:212-137. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00424-011-1044-0

[5] Srivastava J, Shankar E, Gupta S. Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future. Molecular Medicine Reports [Internet]. 2010 Sep [cited 2020 Apr 03];3(6):895-901. Available from: https://doi.org/10.3892/mmr.2010.377

[6] Moeini M, Khadibi M, Bekhradi R, Mahmoudian S, Nazari F. Effect of aromatherapy on the quality of sleep in ischemic heart disease patients hospitalized in intensive care units of heart hospitals of the Isfahan University of Medical Sciences in 2009. Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research [Internet]. 2011 Mar [cited 2020 Apr 03];15(4):234-239. Available from: http://ijnmr.mui.ac.ir/index.php/ijnmr/article/view/326/263

[7] Mayo Clinic. Chronic stress puts your health at risk. Mayo Clinic [Internet]. 2019  Mar [cited 2020 Apr 03]. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20046037

[8] ADAA. Tips to Manage Anxiety and Stress. MD USA: ADAA [Internet]; [cited 2020 Apr 03]. Available from: https://adaa.org/tips-manage-anxiety-and-stress

[9] Bordy J. Biological role of emotional tears emerges through recent studies. The New York Times [Internet]. 1982 Aug [cited 2020 Apr 03]. Available from: https://www.nytimes.com/1982/08/31/science/biological-role-of-emotional-tears-emerges-through-recent-studies.html

[10] Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Body's response to repetitive laughter is similar to the effect of repetitive exercise, study finds. ScienceDaily; 2010 Apr 26 [cited 2020 Apr 03]. Available from: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100426113058.htm

[11] Herberman R, Ortaldo J. Natural killer cells: their roles in defenses against disease. American Association for the Advancement of Science [Internet]. 1981 Oct [cited 2020 Apr 03]; 214(4516):24-10. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1126/science.7025208

[12] Jones A, Davison G. Chapter 15 - Exercise, Immunity, and Illness [Internet]. Amsterdam: Elsevier; 2019 [cited 2020 Apr 03]. 317-344p. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-814593-7.00015-3