7 Ways to Boost Your Immune System at Any Age

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7 Science-Backed Ways to Boost Your Immune System

The immune system is comprised of a complex structure of organs, cells, and tissues—and there is no stand-alone pill that can address the entirety of it. However, there are scientifically proven ways to boost your immunity overall. We explore seven of these below.

1. Get a good night's sleep

No over-the-counter drug can cure the common cold, but you might be more equipped to fight it off if you consistently sleep well. Chronic sleep loss makes you susceptible to infections and has also been linked to an increased risk of diabetes.

Dr. Michael Chee, a professor at Duke-NUS Medical School and principal investigator of the Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, notes the rise of diabetes cases in East Asia.

"While dietary changes and reduced physical activity play a part, the contribution of poor sleep has been insufficiently acknowledged," he explains. "Experimental evidence from tightly controlled laboratory studies on sleep deprivation reveal a number of physiological changes that could, in the long run, increase the risk of diabetes."

How to start: Develop a consistent sleep schedule. Stick to the same bedtime and wake-up time daily with a sleep goal of seven hours.

2. Walk, walk, and walk some more

3. Take vitamin D

4. Get vaccinated

Vaccines are powerful immune system boosters. The pandemic highlighted their importance, particularly among the elderly. COVID-19 vaccines prevent severe illness and hospitalisation, and when inoculated, you are less likely to pass the virus to others.

How to start: By now, you should have had two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and a booster shot. Keep track of your recommended booster schedule. Also, remember to get a flu shot annually.

5. Snack with purpose

6. Ease up on the worrying

The brain directly affects the stomach and intestines, and 70% of the immune system is in the gut. Chronic stress can lead to gas, abdominal cramps, and diarrhoea. No one can avoid stress altogether, but you can choose how to respond to it.

How to start: Relax with guided body scan meditation before going to sleep.

7. Know the preventive care of your gender's immune system now

Immune function and response among men and women differ as they age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and based on data from Global Health 50/50, more men than women have died of COVID-19 in 41 out of 47 countries. While men are more prone to having the worst comorbidities (i.e., cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure), women are more susceptible to auto-immune diseases (i.e., Type 1 diabetes and arthritis).

How to start: Get a health check-up with AIA Vitality, a wellness programme that helps members make the positive change needed to sustain healthy living. Its health assessments cover nutrition, stress, sleep and exercise. You can also enjoy discounts on gym memberships, workout gear, and insurance premiums —all of which can help you lead a healthier, longer, better life.

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