Colds, coughs and aching muscles – flu season is here and don’t we all know it? Well Actually’s external expert, Katrina Cepinova reveals 5 immune boosting tips to see you through this winter and beyond
Our immunity is like our personal army of body guards. It continuously protects us and our body from any internal as well as external invaders.
The immune system’s job is not always visible for the most part; it functions quietly in the background by activating the so-called immune response, fighting infections, toxins and inflammations caused by pathogens like bacteria, parasites and viruses.
To avoid illnesses such as colds and flu, it is therefore very important to ensure that our immune system is strengthened and can respond efficiently.
Poor nutrition, environmental influences and lifestyle choices can weaken or compromise immunity. In a world where new infections such as the COVID 19 Virus are continually cropping up, having a robust immune system is vital.
Poor nutrition, environmental influences and lifestyle choices can weaken or compromise immunity
Strong immunity is like building a strong defence wall. We need a good base to build the wall and maintain it, ensuring it stays as strong as possible.
A robust immune system plays a fundamental role in maintaining good health. Implementing these simple steps can go a long way in boosting immunity. With every day stress and other demands, there is more pressure on our bodies to keep going and function.
The more support we can provide to our own body, the more protection it will provide to us in return. Look after your own immunity and it will look after you back.
So, what can we do to protect ourselves during the coming winter months? Here are my five simple tips on supporting your immune system this flu season…
Tip #1 Eat a well-balanced diet
Eat a well balanced diet by keeping your plate full of colour! Aim to include at least three different coloured fruit or vegetables in every meal. Red, green, orange, yellow, purple – as many colours as you can find!
Many colourful fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamin C, which is a key vitamin in boosting immunity and reducing the severity of infections. Foods with high vitamin C include kiwi, broccoli, lemons and oranges, just to name a few.
Tip #2 Self care
Take some time out for a little self care. Our bodies need time off to recuperate and regenerate. Stress is something everyone feels at times and in fact, it is proven that low-level stress can even be helpful or motivational.
However, too much stress can negatively impact our immune system. When one is under severe pressure, the body produces cortisol, the stress hormone.
Over time, cortisol reduces the number of lymphocytes or white blood cells that fight infection in the body.
Take time every day to switch off for at least 20 minutes – whether it’s a stroll around your local park, a relaxing bath, or curling up on the couch with a good book, or listening to your favourite podcast.
READ MORE: Can echinacea really prevent a cold?
Tip #3 Boost your Vitamin D
Boosting your vitamin D levels is crucial. Recent studies suggest that increasing your Vitamin D levels can in turn reduce the risk of developing influenza.
With winter months approaching, we are less likely to get exposed to adequate levels of sunshine for our body to make some much needed vitamin D.
we can only get approximately 10 per cent of vitamin D from food sources
Unless you are planning a winter holiday in the sunshine for a few weeks, you may have to rely on adding this vitamin in a form of foods or supplements.
Sadly, we can only get approximately 10 per cent of vitamin D from food sources so opt for naturally higher sources like oily fish, mushrooms and eggs.
Otherwise, I would highly recommend taking a daily supplement, such as Well Actually’s Liposomal Vitamin D3 and K2 spray, £32.50, which offers a highly absorbable, bioavailable format of vitamin D in a very palatable, easy to use spray format, convenient for all the family.
Tip #4 Reduce your alcohol intake
Limit your alcohol consumption. Aside from alcohol being directly linked to affecting our sleep quality, too much consumption of alcohol can damage immune cells in various body parts, making it hard to fight disease-causing pathogens.
Did you also know about the link between Vitamin D and how it helps with the absorption of minerals such as magnesium? This makes Vitamin D intake an excellent option for hangover prevention as we quickly head into the festive season.
try to moderate your alcohol intake to a couple of times a week
Alcohol destroys cells in the intestines, inhibiting the absorption of nutrients. It also disrupts the balance of gut microbiomes, the healthy bacteria that support the immune system in fighting off infections in the digestive tract.
With party season soon upon us, avoiding alcohol altogether may not always be possible, so try to moderate your alcohol intake to a couple of times a week and always offset with plenty of water, or again, try taking a daily Vitamin D supplement.
Tip #5 Hit the snooze button
Consistent sleep and getting in enough hours of shut eye every night, can be a massive factor towards ensuring your immune system is fighting fit.
Skimping on sleep can significantly affect the immune system and studies show that a lack of sleep affects recovery from illness, including cold and flu.
Skimping on sleep can significantly affect the immune system
A good sleep regime is based on habit, where one needs to try to go to sleep at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, even on the weekends.
Whilst we all know that getting a good night sleep can be easier said than done, try making a few simple changes such as going to bed at regular times and avoiding the disruptions of blue light from electronic devices.
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