Those of us who try our best to maintain a healthy lifestyle, by eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly, typically have an immune system capable of warding off illness. From time to time, though, such as during cold and flu season, our hardworking immune systems can run out of steam. That’s where we need to help our body out with a little extra support.
This doesn’t have to include expensive vitamins or a complicated diet. Try these simple and proven ways to build a stronger, more reliable immune system.
1. Eat more fruit and vegetables. Eating five serves of vegetables and two pieces of fruit every day is a commonly known and accepted piece of advice, yet many of us fail to reach this daily requirement. It’s important to familiarise yourself with what a serve of vegetables looks like so that you can consciously work toward eating enough every day. Generally, half a cup of cook vegetables and a whole cup of raw vegetables counts as one serve. For some great tips on how to sneak more veges into your diet, click here. Including a rainbow of fruit and veg in your everyday life should provide you with all the nutrients you need, so you can forgo the expensive vitamins and supplements!
2. Limit alcohol intake. While certain studies have shown that a glass of red wine can be beneficial to our health, we all know that one too many can have the opposite effect. Alcohol disrupts our gut’s barrier, making it easier for bacteria to pass into the bloodstream, and making us more likely to get sick. It also disrupts our body’s immune pathways, making it harder for our body to defend itself from infection and making for a longer recovery process. Be conscious of how much alcohol you are consuming and adjust your intake where necessary.
3. Disinfect your phone. Along with washing your hands regularly, make a habit of wiping your phone and other high-touch objects. It may seem a little OCD at first, but it’s a quick and surefire way of reducing your contact with bad bacteria. Sanitising areas and objects such as door handles, keyboards and water bottles daily will result in fewer germs on your hands and face, making you less likely to fall ill.
4. Exercise regularly. It’s important to maintain a regular exercise routine. Exercising not only helps to flush bacteria from our lungs and airways, but it also helps us to manage stress. Stress suppresses our immune system, making it more susceptible to illness, so make sure you prioritise exercise even when busy. It doesn’t have to be rigorous, it just has to get your body moving. It could be as simple as going for a daily walk or completing an at-home workout. Plus the mental health benefits of regular exercise are incredibly beneficial.
5. Get more sleep. It sounds simple, but getting adequate sleep is something that many of us fail to do. Start by doing away with screens at nighttime and set yourself an earlier bedtime. In turn, your energy levels will spike and so too will the amount of infection-fighting antibodies in your system. Going to bed and waking up around the same time each day, will ensure you are getting enough, good quality shut-eye.
Our body is capable of amazing things, but we need to support it by making healthy choices on a daily basis. Building up your immune system with nutritious food, quality sleep and regular exercise will lower the chances of you, and your loved ones, falling ill.