Food Knowledge Article

Ways to Boost Your Immune System

Are you strong enough to ride out these tough times? These are the ways to boost your immune system and stay safe during an outbreak.

Taking proper trace amounts of vitamins and minerals routinely could sustain the primary barriers of the immune system such as skin, cell-mediated and humoral immune response (Farhan Aslam et al., 2017). Vitamin C in particular is capable to reduce respiratory and systemic infections by enhancing our immune cell functions. Elderlies or individuals who have vitamin C deficiency should ensure adequate intake through diet or via supplementation to secure proper immune function and resistance to infections (Carr & Maggini, 2017).

Besides Vitamin C, vitamins like B6, B9, B12, A and D can also help our body boost-up the cell-mediated immune response (Farhan Aslam et al., 2017). Zinc is crucial for optimal functioning of innate and adaptive immunity, especially lymphocyte function and antibody formation. Research shows that supplementation with vitamin C and zinc may symbolise an efficacious measure to help ameliorate the symptoms of infectious viral disease (Maggini et al., 2012).

A balanced diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables (FVs) is essential in maintaining immune health. FVs are rich in micronutrients, such as carotenoids, flavonoids, and vitamin C, and also shown to improve immune functions. Clinical study shows that an increased FVs intake improves the Pneumovax II vaccination antibody response in elderly which is linked to an achievable dietary goal with improved immune function (Gibson et al., 2012). Moreover, we can also consume probiotics to boost our immunity which is safe and effective in fighting the common cold and influenza-like respiratory infections (Zhang et al., 2018).

The next way to boost your immune system is to practice moderate exercise . Active people usually have better immune systems than their inactive counterparts (Diamond & Khaleghi, 2013). Preliminary evidence suggests that physical activity and regular structured exercise might delay or limit age-associated decline in immune competency (Campbell & Turner, 2018).

Lastly, maintaining a healthy amount of sleep is essential for both physical and mental health as well as important in modulates immune response (Kotsirilos et al., 2011). Sleep deprivation can weaken immunity, which in general increases the susceptibility to viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections. Furthermore, poor sleep quality has recently been confirmed to increase susceptibility to the common cold (Ibarra-Coronado et al., 2015).

References

Campbell, J. P., & Turner, J. E. (2018). Debunking the Myth of Exercise-Induced Immune Suppression: Redefining the Impact of Exercise on Immunological Health Across the Lifespan. Frontiers In Immunology9, 648. https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2018.00648

Carr, A., & Maggini, S. (2017). Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutrients9(11), 1211. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9111211

Diamond, C., & Khaleghi, M. (2013). The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Boosting Your Immunity: Strengthen Your Body’s Natural Defenses Through Diet, Healthy Habits, and More. New York: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Farhan Aslam, M., Majeed, S., Aslam, S., & Irfan, J. (2017). Vitamins: Key Role Players in Boosting Up Immune Response-A Mini Review. Vitamins & Minerals06(01). https://doi.org/10.4172/2376-1318.1000153

Gibson, A., Edgar, J., Neville, C., Gilchrist, S., McKinley, M., & Patterson, C. et al. (2012). Effect of fruit and vegetable consumption on immune function in older people: a randomized controlled trial. The American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition96(6), 1429-1436. https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.112.039057

Ibarra-Coronado, E., Pantaleón-Martínez, A., Velazquéz-Moctezuma, J., Prospéro-García, O., Méndez-Díaz, M., & Pérez-Tapia, M. et al. (2015). The Bidirectional Relationship between Sleep and Immunity against Infections. Journal Of Immunology Research2015, 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/678164

Kotsirilos, V., Vitetta, L., & Sali, A. (2011). A guide to evidence-based integrative and complementary medicine (p. 498). Sydney: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier.

Maggini, S., Beveridge, S., & Suter, M. (2012). A Combination of High-Dose Vitamin C plus Zinc for the Common Cold. Journal Of International Medical Research40(1), 28-42. https://doi.org/10.1177/147323001204000104

Zhang, H., Yeh, C., Jin, Z., Ding, L., Liu, B., Zhang, L., & Dannelly, H. (2018). Prospective study of probiotic supplementation results in immune stimulation and improvement of upper respiratory infection rate. Synthetic And Systems Biotechnology, 3(2), 113-120. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.synbio.2018.03.001