Newsletter: Vol. 25 Issue 2 (March – April 2021)
5 EASY TIPS FOR STAYING STRONG AND HEALTHY ARTICLE BY METTA VOLUNTEER NICHOLAS LEE AND EDITED BY JASMINE ONG
Maintaining a strong immune system is a keystone of a healthy and happy life. Much more than just taking sufficient Vitamin C, a strong immune system is only possible with a healthy lifestyle. This is particularly relevant in our Golden Years, where the onset of some chronic illnesses become more common. With World Health Day observed in April, here are some tips that everyone can follow for strong immunity.
Maintain a well-balanced diet and drinking sufficient water
A well-balanced diet ensures that our body receives the nutrients required to effectively fight off viruses and recover quickly from infections. This can be achieved through a diet heavy in fruits and vegetables, wholegrains and lean meat, together with a low intake of salt, sugar, cholesterol and fat. Sufficient intake of fluids, water in particular, is also important as it keeps us well hydrated and is essential in nutrient transfer in our body
Avoid smoking and drinking
Smoking and alcohol consumption should be avoided as prolonged use impairs our ability to defend against infection. Alternative stress relieving activities like exercise can be a great alternative with positive effects to the body! Additionally, by removing such habits, the risks of contracting associated diseases such as lung and liver cancer is greatly reduced.
Stay active and spend time outdoors
Leading an active lifestyle and spending time outdoors not only keeps us fit, but also helps reduce the risks of developing chronic diseases. Spending time outdoors in the sun helps meet our daily Vitamin D requirement, which is essential in the absorption of calcium; Sufficient intake of both is required for strong, healthy bones.
For the elderly, strolls around the park, gardening and tai-chi are great low-intensity activities that can be enjoyed with friends and family. Such activities are also a great way to relieve stress and bring happiness into your life.
Manage stress levels and have sufficient rest
Stress is our body’s natural response to difficult situations, allowing us to respond quickly to the problems at hand. The stress hormone, cortisol, is released to direct the body’s physical and mental functions on resolving high pressure situations.
However, stress needs to be managed well in order to avoid developing chronic stress. Cortisol has a suppressive effect on the immune system, which over time, can negatively affect the body’s ability to defend against diseases.
By taking care of our mental well-being and getting sufficient sleep, we can manage the cortisol levels in our body and allow our body to mount a better immune response when necessary.
Remember to take your medication and get vaccinated
Persons with chronic conditions, such as hypertension or diabetes, should remember to take medication regularly and attend medical check-ups with doctors to ensure that their conditions are under control. By doing so, this prevents further strain on the body’s immune system, allowing it to focus on fighting off other incoming infections, rather than managing the symptoms that come with these conditions.
Finally, everyone should get vaccinated as recommended under the National Adult Immunisation Schedule (NAIS). These include vaccinations against seasonal flu and pneumococcal diseases. With the gradual roll-out of Covid-19 vaccinations to all Singaporeans, everyone should sign up for the Covid-19 Vaccination at their nearest Polyclinic or Vaccination Centres when it is available as well.
For other areas of interest that have not been covered by this article, do head over to the Health Promotion Board (HPB) website for more detailed advice on leading a healthy lifestyle and building a stronger, more robust immune system.