6 tips to boost your immune system
Autumn is finally here, and along with some lovely things (getting cosy, pumpkin spice lattes and crisp, colourful leaves), it also means catching that dreaded inevitable cold.
Or does it? Here are some tips to keep healthy over the colder months and boost your immune system:
1/. Don’t smoke
It probably won’t come as a surprise to hear that bad health habits make you more susceptible to illness.
Smoking causes inflammation in areas related to your immune system, making it less effective in fighting various types of infection. By causing inflammatory changes in your lungs, smoking also diverts your immune system from fighting infections elsewhere. If you make one health change this season, make quitting smoking your number one priority.
Luckily, there are now plenty of tricks and tools out there to help you. The NHS has some top tips to help, and it’s worth checking out the Nicorette website for handy products to help you stop.
2/. Keep alcohol to a minimum
Too much alcohol causes a change in the immune system by altering cells and molecules in the body. Even drinking heavily on just one occasion is enough to alter your immunity, slowing your body’s ability to fight off infections for up to 24 hours!
To be blunt, the more you drink, the more you increase your chances of getting ill… is it really worth it?
Clever apps such as the Drinkaware Drink Tracker can help you keep an eye on how many units and calories you’re consuming, and how much money you’re spending - bonus!
3/. Enjoy lots of the good
As is the case with most health issues, a good diet helps... a lot. Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains is your best bet, but keep refined sugar and saturated fat to a minimum.
Our habit of reaching for citrus fruits when we’re under the weather isn’t merely the result of some old wives’ tale either; it’s because citrus is high in vitamin C. Vitamin C increases the production of white blood cells, which are a key player in fighting infection. Check out the top tips for boosting your vitamin C intake here or make an immunity-boosting meal using these ingenious recipes from http://www.eatingwell.com
4/. Take supplements
Although a well-rounded diet should provide the vast majority of the nutrients we need, supplements can be a very welcome helping hand - especially in the colder months when we’re more prone to falling ill.
A daily multivitamin provides basic levels of all essential vitamins and minerals, acting as an ‘insurance’ tablet against vitamin and mineral deficiencies. There are also more specific supplements, such as Graviola, Cat’s Claw and Suma, which have immune-boosting properties alongside their own specific health benefits. Have a gander at our immune support range.
5/. Get active
Getting the blood pumping is a sure-fire way to help keep the immune system fighting fit. As a general goal, you should aim for at least 30 minutes a day. If that sounds a bit much to fit into your busy lifestyle, try three 10-minute walks instead, or try these mini workouts from Calorie Bee.
If the word exercise makes you want to crawl onto the sofa with a bag of crisps, try find an active hobby you really enjoy instead. Activities like gardening, playing with the kids or Geocaching (treasure hunting using your phone!) will feel more like fun than exercise.
6/. Get plenty of shut-eye
To bolster your immune system, you need to be aiming for around 8 hours’ sleep per night. This is because your body releases proteins called cytokines when you’re asleep, which help fight infection and inflammation.
Sleep deprivation decreases the production of cytokines, making it harder for your body to fight off illness and recover effectively. If you’re struggling for a good night’s kip, these top tips from the NHS could help.
Do you have any tips for staying healthy and boosting your immune system over the colder months? Let us know on social media!