If you’re often feeling sick, fatigued or have other nagging symptoms you can’t figure out, it may mean your immune system is needing some attention. And in the midst of COVID-19, we’re all needing to take additional precautions to stay healthy. Your immune system does a pretty great job of defending you against illness-causing micro-organisms on its own. However, there are several lifestyle and dietary changes which can help to give your immune system a little added boost. The immune system requires balance and harmony, so a healthy lifestyle is paramount to keeping your body running to its best ability and be able ward off potential diseases.
Here are some suggestions on how to give your immune system a boost…
Maintain a healthy diet
A healthy diet is key for a strong immune system. To help support your body from free-radical damage, ensure your diet contains plenty of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, protein and healthy fats. Fruits and vegetables are high in essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which play a vital role in warding off disease and keeping your immune system ticking along. Healthy fats, like those found in olive oil and fish, are great for their anti-inflammatory properties which may help your body fight off disease-causing bacteria.
Regular workouts have a number of mental and physical benefits, including supporting a healthy immune system. Engaging in as little as 30 minutes of exercise a day can help stimulate your immune system and boost your circulation, allowing immune cells to travel through your body easily. Regular and moderate exercise may reduce inflammation and help your immune cells to regenerate regularly.
Get enough sleep
If you’re not getting enough quality sleep you may be more prone to getting sick. Infection-fighting molecules are created while you sleep - your body needs this time to recover. To give your immune system the best chance to fight off any illness, and prevent you from infection, you should aim for 8 hours of sleep a night.
Our bodies are constantly losing water (through breath, exercise, or sweat), so it’s important to drink enough water throughout the day. Water plays an important role in supporting your immune system as a fluid in your circulatory system, called lymph, is largely made up of water and carries important infection-fighting immune cells around your body. Being dehydrated can slow down the movement of lymph, affecting your immune system and its ability to fight off diseases. Aim to drink at at least 2 litres of water a day.
Manage your stress levels
Stress can have a huge impact on your health. Your body responds to stress by producing too much cortisol, the stress hormone, which, in turn, suppresses your immune system and increases your chance of getting ill. Protect yourself from stress and become familiar with activities that can help relieve it, such as deep breathing, meditation, or exercise.
Washing your hands for 20 seconds and practicing social distancing are also key to preventing the spread of germs and viruses. However, we need to have a strong immune system that can fight back against the germs. Implementing these simple lifestyle and dietary changes can help to boost your immune system and reinforce your body’s defences against harmful pathogens.