It’s a good time of the year to be thinking about giving your immune system a boost. The fall, going into winter is prime time for the common cold, flu and a whole host of other viruses to circulate.
These changes are rather simple and take just a bit of perseverance to make them a habit by including them in your lifestyle and daily routine.
Here are six ways to naturally strengthen your immune system:
Eat More Whole Foods
Why whole foods? What are whole foods?
Whole foods are natural foods that are free from preservatives. Common whole foods include vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts and whole grains like oats. These foods are full of the nutrients and antioxidants that your body needs to stay healthy and give your immune system the strength it needs to fight off disease.
Antioxidants are particularly good at fighting inflammation in your body caused by the build-up of bad bacteria. When inflammation builds up over a period of time it can lead to serious health conditions such as heart disease and cancer.
They also are coincidentally full of fibre! This is good news as fibre fuels your gut which contains all your healthy bacteria. A healthy gut ecosystem can be a large factor in whether your immune system is strong or not.
Most people drastically underappreciate how valuable sleep is to a healthy lifestyle and body. Did you know, you can die quicker from lack of sleep than lack of water!? Or that Guinness World Records refuse to officiate any competition around staying awake the longest as it is too dangerous?
Yes, sleep is very important for your overall health as well as a healthy immune system.
It’s well documented in research that a lack of sleep or bad quality sleep is linked to an increased risk of illness.
Seven hours of sleep on a regular basis should be the absolute minimum for adults.
For those that find it hard to get good quality sleep or that find it hard to even sleep at all there are plenty of things, you can do to address this.
A good idea is to stay away from screens for some time before bed, charge your phone in another room, get a blackout curtain or get some earplugs. Investing in better sleep is the best thing you will ever do.
Cut Down on Sugar
This ties in well with eating more whole food and just generally eating a better more well-rounded diet. Research shows that the more sugar we eat the more likely we are to be overweight or obese, and people that are obese have a much greater risk of getting sick.
Cutting down on sugar can also reduce inflammation and considering the fact that obesity, heart disease and diabetes all negatively affect your immune system, scraping the sugar is a key component to a healthy immune system.
Adults should refrain from consuming more than 25 grams or about 2 tbsp of sugar on a daily basis.
I know it’s hard and it’s cold outside but just a short period of exercise a day can do your immune system a world of good.
Regularly partaking in moderate exercise improves your immune system and reduces inflammation across the body.
Easy forms of exercise include a light jog, a brisk walk, biking or swimming. This can also be replicated inside your house by doing bodyweight exercises or walking up and down the stairs.
This is a good rule in general, but especially when you want to stay healthy and keep your immune system in good shape.
Drinking more water and being hydrated doesn’t actually boost your immune system, not being dehydrated is the key.
Being dehydrated can cause a multitude of physical issues such as headaches and can even affect how your vital organs function. If organs such as your heart and kidneys aren’t performing optimally you can be increasingly open to diseases.
A good indication of your hydration level is your urine. If your urine is pale it means you are hydrated and if it is dark yellow it means you need to drink more water.
Adults should consume eight glasses of water a day as a general rule, but it is also important to remember that you should drink when you’re thirsty and don’t over drink.
We all know that vitamins are good for your health and that you need a certain amount of each vitamin. You should aim to get the majority of your vitamins and nutrients from whole foods as was discussed above.
However, this is not always possible because of the number of vitamins that we should be digesting.
Research suggests that the following vitamins and minerals can contribute to a strengthened immune system:
- Vitamin C – this common vitamin is commonly found in oranges and is actually three times more prevalent in peppers. It helps with the repair of tissue in the body.
- Vitamin D – We get this from sunlight which is harder to come by during the winter. This vitamin is very important in decreasing your chances of contracting an illness.
- Zinc – Your body doesn’t naturally produce this so it is lucky that it is found across many foods. Zinc aids in growth and development.
Pay attention to your diet and make sure you are getting enough of these vitamins, if not, then you should consider supplementing.
You can see how easy it is to give your immune system a boost! These simple changes to your diet and lifestyle can make a great impact on your quality of life.
While you may be able to strengthen your immune system through the below methods, none of these changes to lifestyle or diet will increase your immunity to Covid-19.