• The Boost Programme

    Top questions on how to build your immunity

    Day 8's (18 March) email says that yogurt contains high sugar which causes inflammation and lowers immunity, how about greek yogurt or plain yogurt? What kind of snacks would you recommend to eat?

    Answered by Clarice Goh, nutritionist at ProAge


    To get your fill of protein, probiotics, vitamin D and calcium from yoghurt as a general guide go for yoghurt without the additives and sugar, add fresh fruit. No one food or supplement can prevent illness but you may help support your immune system by including foods that are high in Vitamin A, C, E and D. Some examples such as sunflower seeds, citrus fruits (e.g. orange, grapefruits) or sweet potatoes make a great snack.

    How much sleep is necessary to keep up my immunity?

    Answered by Darwina, psychologist at ProAge


    According to the National Sleep Foundation, the recommended sleep which will help strengthen your immune system is based on your age group:

    Would naps help improve immunity if I don’t get sufficient sleep?

    Answered by Darwina, psychologist at ProAge


    Taking daytime naps of no more than 30mins does not necessarily make up for the inadequate or poor quality sleep but can help to improve your mood, alertness and performance. Continue to achieve 7-9 hours of quality, restful sleep to benefit from reduced inflammation, lowered stress levels and protection against loss of brain volume.

    Is there a cut off time for eating dinner?

    Answered by Jacquelyn Ng, clinical exercise physiologist at ProAge


    There is no specific cut off time to eat for dinner. However, to ensure that your body is able to effectively digest your food, you should not go to bed within three hours after having a large meal.


    If you are staying up late and you had your last meal more than four hours ago, you can opt for a healthy and light snack, such as a piece of fruit, to stop your stomach from rumbling.

    It’s currently dangerous for seniors to exercise because they are seen as part of the “vulnerable” age group. I’m above 50 years - should I be avoiding exercise entirely?

    Answered by Jacquelyn Ng, clinical exercise physiologist at ProAge


    The World Health Organisation (WHO) has indicated that there are two groups of people at a higher risk of getting severe COVID-19 disease.

    1. Older adults

    2. Has underlying medical conditions


    However, having said that, it’s important to continue staying healthy and fit such that our body can fight COVID-19 and any other viruses that could come in your way.


    If you’re afraid of exposure to the viruses outdoors, there are many home options i.e. Youtube video workouts and exercise apps (7-min workouts) on your mobile phones. Read our emailer on Day 10 (March 27) for best tips on staying healthy!

    What are the best nutritious and effective meals for a vegetarian who would like to build his/her body?

    Answered by Clarice Goh, nutritionist at ProAge


    Eating a wide variety of foods will make it easier to meet your nutritional requirements. Some essential dietary requirements, which could be missing from a vegetarian diet if it isn’t carefully planned, include:

    • Protein - sources include legumes such as beans, peas and lentils, nuts, seeds, soy products (soy beverages, tempeh and tofu)

    • Minerals (including iron, calcium and zinc) - Sources include: Green leafy vegetables, miso, nuts, legumes.

    • Combining foods high in vitamin C and food acids like fruit and vegetables will help your body absorb the iron.

    • Vitamin B12 - Vegans are at risk of developing vitamin B12 deficiency because it is only found in animal products. Fortified vegan foods such as some soy beverages and meat has B12. However, if you think you do not receive enough B12 requirements from foods, kindly visit the doctor as you may be advised to take B12 supplements.

    If you cook, visit the following websites, for some wholesome vegetarian recipes:

    How can an individual maintain the enthusiasm of working out?

    Answered by Joshua Kiew, fitness specialist at ProAge

    1. Find friends with common interest to embark on this journey with you so you won't feel alone and can motivate each other. Especially during this "stay home" period, exercising with friends/colleagues over the web can be pretty fun too.  We (at ProAge) have also been doing our own weekly live streaming workout before lunch to keep our people fit, healthy and motivated. 
    2. Understand the reason why you exercise. Exercise shouldn't make you feel stress but it should be a form of disconnection from the world for you to take care of yourself because no one can love you better than yourself.

    How should I choose a fitness role model who we can learn from and suit my body type?

    Answered by Joshua Kiew, fitness specialist at ProAge


    Personally, I feel that you are the best role model of yourself. Simply because if you can’t love your own body no models on earth can ever influence you to.


    Models out there tend to make us set unrealistic goals about our own body which may influence us to go into health damaging diets and exercise regimes that do more harm than good. For example, when I look in the mirror and see that I might have gained weight, I decide to take action to do something about my body because I love myself and I am the role model of my own life. In fact take time to follow the exercise videos that have been sent over the past weeks - they are suited for all body types to burn calories and build a lean, slim body

    What are some brands of affordable protein powder that you would recommend?

    Answered by Joshua Kiew, fitness specialist at ProAge


    In my opinion, having a background as an ex-runner as well as fitness model, the most affordable and healthiest protein still comes from what we eat naturally, this includes plant based protein like broccoli, tofu and beans or lean meat like chicken breast and salmon. This way of building protein is less damaging to your body as compared to taking supplements or protein shakes as can be read in this Harvard article.


    However, if you are looking to take it just for the short term as a means of boosting your muscle growth and recovery between workouts, I would recommend,

    • ON (Optimum Nutrition) as one of the most affordable and reputable brands out there

    • MusclePharm Combat Protein powder would be another highly recommended option if you can afford to stretch your budget a little. This brand has been endorsed by many UFC and world class athletes. Personally, I think it taste much better than many of the other brands in the market.

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