This is a collaborative post.
Continually defending your body from infections, your immune system needs to be kept in check. With everyone’s focus on COVID-19, staying healthy and strong is at the heart of most of our thoughts. But, that’s not the only virus threatening your immune system.
Anything from the common cold and flu, to you breathing in the humble germ, your immune system fights for you daily. It can’t do it alone.
So, what can you do to help give your immune system the boost it needs to stay fresh? Take a look at our 6 tips below:
How does your immune system work?
Made up of vital organs, cells and proteins, your immune system protects you from harmful substances and cell changes that can lead to ill health. Like an inbuilt alarm system, when your immune system detects potentially harmful microbes in your body, it works to eliminate the threat.
When your immune system fails to take care of the threat, and the microbes have won the battle, you get ill. Symptoms often appear when your immune system reacts to the invading substances. Usually, a strong or foreign germ, your immune system keeps fighting to make sense of the germs data.
Next time your immune system meets the foreign germ, it’ll be prepared to take it down. This is why we tend only to have viruses like chicken pox only once.
If you have a weakened immune system, you are more likely to get ill more regularly as you struggle to fight off the infection. But there are some simple ways to strengthen it:
Give your body the nutrients it needs
Naturally, all the best essential nutrients can be found in fresh produce as part of your diet. But to give your immune system some extra help, you can take daily supplements. You can also get IV treatments to ensure you are getting the essential vitamins you need. Phoenix IV therapy – as well as treatment options in other US cities – can bring appointments directly to your home for maximum convenience.
A free radical fighting antioxidant, vitamin c is a vital nutrient for keeping your immune system in check. Vitamin C is responsible for restoring broken tissues and keeping your teeth, bones and cartilage healthy. Found in citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables, strawberries, carrots and more, you can easily bump up your intake.
Often banded together with vitamin C in beauty products, vitamin E is another powerful antioxidant which helps your body fight off infection. So feel free to add spinach, kale and broccoli to your meals, as well as almonds and hazelnuts. Don’t hold back on the peanut butter!
Essential for keeping your immune system strong, new red cell production and transporting oxygen around your body – don’t forget to add vitamin B6 to your diet. Vitamin B6 is found in the humble chickpea, bananas, lean poultry and tuna.
Responsible for helping your body to regulate immune responses, vitamin D is essential. Unlike other vitamins, it is one of the few that you may need as a supplement. Vitamin D is naturally enhanced by exposure to daylight, fortified cereals and spreads, as well as eating fatty fish.
Extra nutrients to be aware of
Found in carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and squash, antioxidant-rich Vitamin A is excellent at restoring broken cells and vessels.
If you often feel faint or tired, you may have a folate deficiency, leading to a weakened immune system. Simply add folic acid-rich foods like leafy green veg, beans, and peas to your meals or add a supplement. There are many different supplements to boost immune system available on the market nowadays, so with a bit of research, you will be able to find one that is best suited to your needs.
Keep an eye out for zinc, selenium and iron too!
Eat a well-balanced diet
Now we know which nutrients we need, maintaining a well-balanced diet is pretty straightforward. Make sure you focus on the key food groups and avoid processed, salty, sugary and fatty foods where possible.
Adding a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables to your diet will have almost instant benefits to your immune system.
Increase your exercise
Whatever your exercise jam is, getting your heart pumping regularly can strengthen your immune system. You will also find you sleep better and feel less stressed as a result. Science has spoken.
Those that exercise often tend to have an improved immune response even with a weakened immune system.
Reduce your stress levels
Stress and anxiety have a lot to answer for when it comes to our immune systems. Each has physical impacts on our bodies, which in turn has a negative effect on our natural defences. What’s more, autoimmune diseases have had a long history with chronic-stress related conditions.
With a world of stress-busting activities out there, from yoga and meditation to boxing, find whatever works to keep you stress-free! Your immune system will thank you later!
Get your forty winks
Your body performs all kinds of magic as you sleep. Infections and inflammation are targeted, skin cells replenish, and your stressed muscles can relax. When you experience broken or little sleep, your body can’t release restorative proteins needed to heal you as you get your shut-eye.
Whatever is hindering your recommended eight hours a night, there are some techniques you use to help you sleep:
- Switch off your phone/screens an hour before bed
- Listen to calming, quiet music
- Don’t eat too late
- Have a bath
- Stop drinking caffeine after 5 pm
Personal hygiene is the real deal
Before most germs can enter our bodies, they have to latch on to something first to get there. Let’s face it; everything we touch has some form of microorganism, bacteria or virus living its best life. As soon as we eat something, rub our eyes or touch our mouth, our immune system has to turn it up a notch.
So, make sure you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap at regular intervals throughout the day. Frequent washing is key to maintaining a healthy immune system.
What first steps will you take to keep your immune system in check? With the world focused on a colossal pandemic, as well as the personal sacrifices we have all had to make, there’s no better time to take care of your body! You’re your best defence, after all.