Top 5 tips to enhance your immunity | Ask Dr Daniel Chang

Medical experts have warned that Covid 19 may well be around for the long haul. In the coming months, we may start to see a second wave from other countries. Experts noted that one the most challenging transmission modalities is a spread within the family. Hence, in my humble opinion, it is most important to learn what steps we can do, to protect ourselves and our families from this infection.

Inspired by my thoughtful buddy from Jebhealth, Jimmy Boey, this month, we will kickoff a series dedicated to #healthmatters #protectyourfamilies. We will start with discussing the TOP 5 tips to enhance your immunity. To make it easier to remember, we have coined a mnemonic WUHAN.

Dr Daniel Chang | Asia Aesthetic Dermatology
Dr Daniel Chang

TOP 5 TIPS TO ENHANCE YOUR IMMUNITY | And protect your families 🙏

  1. Workout regularly ||Fact: Studies show 30 min of exercise daily, be it brisk walking, swimming, jogging, aerobics, dancing, can help one to maintain a healthy weight and blood pressure. I strive to exercise daily, be it running, Tabata workouts or hitting the gym. The key is to keep standing, keep moving, and avoid a sedentary desk bound routine. For more exercise tips, feelfree to PM me.||Myth: The more exercise the better. Exercise is all good, but too much exercise can weaken your immune system, so always pace yourself. Last thing we want is an injury that lands us in bed and inactive for a month.
  2. Unwind and rest when your body tells you to || Fact: We need rest. We need good sleep. The duration of sleep varies from person to person, but the bottom-line is, sleep is necessary for restorative rest, to destress, reduce cortisol levels. Sleep experts advocate an average of 7 hours of sleep, and quality sleep, where one wakes up feeling refreshed and energised is the best. If you have difficulty sleeping, try a glass of warm milk and pistachios before bed =) Another mind restorative activity is mindful meditation. The mindfulness movement is the rage these days, and sitting still, taking some time to slow down, and be conscious of your breathing, emptying your mind and the numerous thoughts you have, is a practice most beneficial to your mind and body.
  3. Healthy connections || Fact: Staying in touch with family and friends boosts our immunity. Take for example Japan. Okinawans, long famed for their longevity, are a close knitted community. They stress the importance of regular laughter, sunshine and engaging in social activities. Neighbours know one another, and smiling, greeting and helping with day to day affairs is a common sight. A typical day starts with waving at your neighbours, a friendly smile and a simple catchup. Many participate in community activities like karaoke, dancing and gardening. Man was not made to live in isolation. Having strong social connections reduces risk of anxiety and depression, increases gene expression for immunity ( as per study by Steve Cole, UCLA), increases self esteem and creates a positive feedback loop of social, emotional and physical well being. Loneliness is on the rise. In 2004, over 25% of Americans saying that they have no one to confide in. Between April 2007 and 2012, a large and representative German adult population was sampled to investigate loneliness. It revealed a total of 10.5% of participants reported some degree of loneliness (4.9% slight, 3.9% moderate and 1.7% severely distressed by loneliness). All these data points to an increasingly isolated world. I am sure if we did a survey in Singapore right now, the figures would be not much better. How many close friends do you have? When was the last time you connected with a long lost friend or family member? It is never too late to do so. =)
  4. Avoid smoking and alcohol || Fact: Smoking and excessive alcohol causes the production of free radicals and in the long run, is detrimental to your health.
  5. Nutrition || Fact: A healthy diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, provides your body with the right vitamins and antioxidants to maintain optimum levels of health. Touching on the Okinawan diet, it stresses the healing properties of food together with calorie restriction. Okinawans eat less rice and less calories than the rest of Japan. Their meals consist a variety of fruits and vegetables (in the colours of the rainbow!) in small portions, and eating only until one is 80% full. I agree, eating less is not easy. I for one love my carbs haha. || Myth: The more vitamins and immune boosting supplements we take, the healthier we become. More is not necessarily better. Scientists agree that when our body has a deficit in a mineral or vitamin, taking supplement help. But it is not medically proven that taking excessive amounts of supplements, tumeric, garlic can protect ourselves against an infection. So moderation is key and dont be fooled by advertisers touting their immune boosting products.

So I hope these time tested methods are helpful to you and your family. Remember… 😉

  1. Workout regularly
  2. Unwind and rest
  3. Healthy connections
  4. Avoid alcohol and smoking
  5. Nutrition

This video is a brief summary of the above ☝️😊

Lets stay safe, stay healthy and together, we can protect our families. #sgunite #sgunited

– Dr Daniel Chang
💪💪
Dr Daniel Chang | Asia Aesthetic Dermatology
Dr Daniel Chang 🥼 – Fulltime Daddy (I wish!)| Part-time Kickass Writer 🤓| Key Opinion Leader for Medical Aesthetic Treatments 💉

References:

  1. Akerele O. WHO guideline for assessment of herbal medicines. Fitoterapia. 1992;63:99–104. 
  2. Bishop, NC, Walsh, NP, Haines, DL, Richards, EE and Gleeson, M. 2001b. Pre-exercise carbohydrate status and immune responses to prolonged cycling: II. Effect on plasma cytokine concentration. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 11: 503–512.  
  3. Calder, PC. 1996. Fatty acids, dietary lipids and lymphocyte functions. Biochemical Society Transactions, 23: 302–309.  
  4. Calder, PC and Jackson, AA. 2000. Undernutrition, infection and immune function. Nutrition Research Reviews, 13: 3–29.  
  5. Buettner, Dan (2015). The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People. National Geographic.
  6. Emma Seppälä, Ph.D, is Science Director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education and the author of The Happiness Track (HarperOne, 2016).

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