New Delhi: Building and maintaining a robust immune system is important for leading healthy, wholesome lives, and this is true now more than ever. People with chronic illnesses need a healthy immune system even more so to prevent minor infections from turning into more serious consequences. While it is commonly recognised that eating a healthy, balanced diet helps create a robust immune system, most people are ignorant of the negative effects that weak muscle health can have on immunity.
The Connection Between Muscles, the Immune System and Disease Management
Since muscles are important for movement and must be preserved as we age in order to maintain strength and function, muscles matter. There is data that suggests muscles are also involved in immunological function. Compounds produced and released by muscles are crucial for the development, activation, and movement of some immune cells. Additionally, they are important suppliers of amino acids that the body needs when under stress or infected.
Both men and women’s physiologies alter after the age of 40. More crucially, between the ages of 40 and 80, the body begins to lose muscle mass more quickly-up to 33 per cent more quickly.
Recent study reveals that loss of muscle mass can contribute to weakened immunity and infections. Low muscle mass and insufficient protein consumption may also hinder the body’s reaction to an injury or infection. Everyone should put their muscle health first in order to avoid losing muscle as they age, but people with chronic diseases need to be especially careful. For instance, illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, chronic lung disorders, and others can hasten the loss of muscle and reduce power.
Can a healthy lifestyle help address muscle health concerns? The answer is yes.
Maintaining good health, supporting muscles, and aiding in blood sugar control all depend on regular exercise. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week.
The benefits of physical exercise are plenty! Research studies have shown that when we include physical activity it helps reduce abdominal obesity, improves our lipid profile; insulin sensitivity, and reduces blood pressure. A chair challenge test is an easy way to test your muscle strength, understand your muscle age and adopt any timely corrective measures. The time you take to do 5 sit-ups on a chair of approx. height 43 cms (1.4 feet) can tell you your muscle age. For example, for males between 40 and 50 years of muscle age it should take about 6.8 to 7.5 seconds and for females the time taken should be 6.9 to 7.4 seconds to perform the test. To know more about how the chair challenge test works, one can visit www.muscleagetest.in.In addition to exercising and adopting healthy lifestyle habits, incorporating good nutrition practices into daily lives is also essential.
Maintain a balanced diet full of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, proteins, and healthy fats
Eat enough protein-rich foods like chicken, seafood, eggs, nuts, beans or dairy. Adults should aim to eat about 15 to 20 grams of protein per major meal. However, adults over the age of 65 may need more protein than younger adults – particularly those with a health setback
Prioritize quality foods that contain micronutrients to support a healthy immune system, such as vitamin C, zinc, vitamin E, vitamin A and vitamin D
Getting all the nutrients required to appropriately support the health of your muscles and immune system is not always simple. This is made much more difficult for those with chronic illnesses who also need to manage their prescriptions and daily routines and who believe they don’t have enough time to prepare meals and snacks in advance. In order to fill in the gaps and guarantee adequate nutrient intake, people can choose to take disease-specific nutritional supplements as part of a healthy lifestyle programme.
(Dr. Irfan Shaikh, Head, Medical & Scientific Affairs at Abbott’s Nutrition)