Sleep more important for immunity than you realise. Make sure to get enough snooze hours in these uncertain times

By Radha Dhir

Eight months into thepandemic – what are some of the biggest questions that lie at the heart of this crisis? Why do some people get the infection ? Why do some of the infected people fall extremely sick and others infected by the same virus don’t? Can you contract the virus a second time? How long will this pandemic last? Will a vaccine be effective?

We don’t have answers to all the questions. What we do know is that we have to live with this virus for a while, so what we all need to do is focus on building our. This does not mean that you should throw caution to the winds and start socialising. There is no diet, exercise or vitamin supplants that will prevent you from catching the coronavirus. It is imperative to continue wearing masks, following good hygiene practices, and exercising social distancing. This remains the best means of avoiding the infection.

What is Immunity?
Theis one of the most complex bodily systems, made up of a network of cells, molecules, tissues and organs all working together to protect the body. This complexity means that it cannot be changed or modified by specific interventions. Rather, adhering to a healthy lifestyle provides ongoing support to the immune system and may protect you even if you contract an infection.

So what are some of the simple steps that one can take to build and strengthen immunity?

1) Eating Right
is key to maintaining a healthy immune function. Given there are many nutrients that are involved with the normal functioning of the immune system, maintaining a healthy balanced diet is the best way to support immunity. Some of the nutrients for effective immune function include:

  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Vitamins A, B6, B12, C and D

Further, given the symbiotic connection between the gut and the immune system, it is advisable to include foods that lead to a healthy gut and healthy microsomes. Some experts recommend a Mediterranean diet as one of the healthiest diets in the world. Recent reports suggest to include probiotics like yoghurt, that feed the good bacteria in the gut. All experts strongly advise on Vitamin D supplement and Zinc.

No one food is recommended over another and eating a variety of foods and fruits will help maintain a healthy balanced diet.

It is important to consult a registered dietitian before making any significant changes to your diet.

2) Be Active
No secret here. Exercise. Research has shown that exercise improves the immune and metabolic systems. Any form of physical activity helps remove toxins from the body, leading to more energy and increased metabolism.

Regular exercise not only releases what is widely referred to as the “happy hormones” i.e. endorphins, but it also helps reduce the body’s “stress hormones “ i.e. cortisol and adrenaline. This adds to the strength of the immunity system.

Other than physical activity, keep your mind active. Listen to podcasts, read books, learn a new skill. Mental health is as important to well-being and immunity as is physical health.

Get in touch with friends, family over Zoom/Skype, phone calls. In times of social distancing this is key to help fight of depression and will also lower your stress levels and uplift the spirits.

A seasoned banker, Radha Dhir has spent 25 years in the industry, and has also served as the first woman MD in Deutsche Bank.

3)right
Sleep and immunity are closely related. It is the most underrated aspect of our lives. I, personally, put this higher than nutrition and exercise. Why? Because if you sleep right, your body does not produce stress hormones and you have the energy to exercise and do not crave unhealthy food items. Sleep not only reboots your mind and body, it also reboots your immunity system.

Research shows sleeping for less than 6 hours per night makes you 4 times more likely to catch a cold compared with at least 7 hours of sleep per night.

Some additional tips to help protect in times of Covid-19 include:

  • Taking Vitamin D and Zinc supplements
  • Steam for 5 minutes a day – good for lungs
  • Good hygiene practice – washing hands regularly
  • Wearing a mask when in public and confined spaces
  • Social Distancing

Stay Healthy. Stay Safe !

– A seasoned banker, Radha Dhir has spent 25 years in the industry, and has also served as the first woman MD in Deutsche Bank. She has been blogging about fitness, health, nutrition and well-being since 2018. She recently made her YouTube debut on the ZipTalks channel where she interviews successful professionals on their fitness and health philosophy. She also posts regular fitness videos on Instagram @Ziptofitness.

Sound Sleep, Omega-3-Rich Diet, Stress-Free Mind: 5 Ways To Boost Body’s Immunity

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For The Healthy You

As fancy as it sounds, the idea of boosting immunity, has proven to be difficult to materialise in reality. For years, researchers from across the world have been struggling to figure out the accurate formula to achieve a good immune system. Until the formula is known, it is recommended to adopt a healthy lifestyle for an enhanced immune function, and to keep the body intact and healthy.

Making healthy lifestyle changes in terms of diet, exercise and managing stress, in addition to other factors, can go a long way in helping the immune system get the boost it requires.

On International Immunology Day, Chennai-based clinical nutritionist, lactation consultant and diabetes educator – Ramya Ramachandran – shares five tips that can give your life a healthy spin.