The Jakarta Post
As you grow older, your immune system will naturally become weaker, making you more vulnerable to diseases and infections. (Shutterstock/File)
Having a perfectly functioning immune system will guarantee a healthy, happy lifestyle.
As you grow older, your immune system will naturally become weaker, making you more vulnerable to diseases and infections. Keeping that in mind, here a couple of easy ways that you can add to your lifestyle to support your immune system:
Go to the gym
Aside from improving your waistline and benefiting your heart, lungs and bones, vigorous exercise is scientifically proven to support immune defenses in the body.
How so? The body has a type of cell called the T-cell, and they alert the white blood cells when the body detects unknown infections. T-cells are known to decline as the body get older, yet a research published by Professor Janet Lord at the University of Birmingham has confirmed that many cyclists had almost the same T-cell number as young adults.
Sleep is very important for supporting the immune system. People who are sleep deprived tend to be more likely to succumb to flu and colds as their body is less effective in dealing with the pathogens that enter the system.
Scientifically, correlation is shown between mammal species with more total sleep and their resistance against parasites. A 10 hour increase in sleep is associated with a 24 fold decrease in parasitism.
Having a varied diet
Think about the food pyramid when choosing what to eat — low fat and high fiber foods tend to boost more beneficial bacteria in the body.
A proper food diet can help with proper T-cell production and can boost the proper immune responses to prevent autoimmune diseases from affecting your body.
Utilize bacteria that can actually benefit your body
Live bacteria or yeast (also known as probiotics) are generally found in yoghurts that can be bought anywhere from your local food mart to the big supermarkets.
Probiotics have a gigantic global market, although many of the claims about probiotics are ambiguous and not credibly proven. However there are many studies that suggest small scale benefits, including a reduction in the risk of diarrhea.
Don’t overdo your alcohol intake
Be sensible with your alcohol intake and don’t overdo it. The worst of it isn’t just the hangover you might get in the morning or the looming threat of cirrhosis.
A study back in 2014 has shown that four shots of vodka is strong enough to reduce levels of white blood cells. Your body won’t be as strong as it was to combat the infectious pathogens that could threaten it — these infections also include cancer.
Throw away your cigarettes
With less ‘friendly’ bacteria in the nasopharynx and more nasty pathogens, there is a landslide of oral diseases waiting for the smoker.
Smokers are prone to respiratory problems and are more likely to succumb to infections like pneumonia and flu than non-smokers. Nicotine that is present in cigarettes could easily prevent the white blood cells' abilities to kill harmful pathogen.
Go out and enjoy the sunshine
Sunshine gives you the Vitamin D you need.
Vitamin D deserves more credit — it stimulates the development of cells that prevent autoimmune responses seen in conditions like arthritis and sclerosis. It also makes you less vulnerable to colds and the flu. (ely/kes)