#Trending: Parenting can radically rewire your immune system, says study

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A recent study says that couples who co-parent share similar immune systems. Here's what you can do to boost your immunity

Raising a child can be a challenging task. More than just giving you grey hair, it also comes with sleep deprivation, stress and even chronic infections. But did you know that all of this can collectively and radically reduce any variation in your immune system?

Well, a new study by researchers at the University of Leuven (KU Leuven) in Belgium has proved that it does.

What the study says

Researchers at VIB and KU Leuven in Belgium and the Babraham Institute in the UK, studied the immune systems of 670 people, aged 2 years to 86 years, over a period of three years, to find out about what causes diversity between individual immune systems.

Published in the Nature Immunology journal, the study made the following observations:

  • Regular monitoring indicated that individuals maintained a stable immune system even after a flu shot which only temporarily triggered some action
  • In individuals who were co-parenting, the variations in immune systems were reduced by 50 percent

Prof Adrian Liston, the researcher at VIB and KU Leuven who co-led the research, reportedly told the media that this phenomenon is a probable result of an exchange of gut microflora. He also mentioned other research indicating that a 10-second kiss exchanges 80 million bacteria.

Parenting is rewiring your immune system

Prof Liston also observed that parenting is the most severe environmental challenge and it is this difficulty that radically rewires the immune system. The researchers also found that the rewiring of immune system could be partly due to genetics and partly because of age.

He also added that apart from gut microflora, a shared environment, which normally includes socio-economic status, may also entail shared behavior such as smoking, alcohol intake, exercise and diet.

These results identify local environmental conditions as a key factor in shaping the human immune system.

Let's not forget that the immune system plays a critical role in our physical, mental and emotional well-being. While the study suggests that your couples mirror each others immune system, especially while co-parenting, there are various ways in which you can boost your immunity individually.

How to boost your immunity

You can begin by trying these:

  • Manage stress by getting enough sleeping
  • Eat immunity boosting foods like fruits, vegetables and green tea
  • Exercise and practice yoga on a regular basis
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol
  • Add probiotics like yogurt in your daily diet
  • Get some sunlight as and when you can

Boosting the body's immunity is in your hands if you follow a healthy lifestyle and keep yourself active.

Read: 7 healthy habits of a happy family

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Written by

Deepshikha Punj

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