5 Ways to Boost Your Immune System

First published 26th Jan, 2023

Summer is here, the sun is shining (some days!) and colds and flu are far from our mind. But don’t neglect your immune system - winter and its accompanying viruses will be here soon enough.

What Are The 5 Ways We Can Boost Our Immune Systems?

1.     Work on those stress levels

Stress is the biggest danger to your health in general and that includes your immune system. Stress is an everyday part of life and a little bit of it is actually good for us – it keeps us motivated and working towards our goals. The key is to manage our level of stress so that it doesn’t start to affect our physical health. Here are some things you can do to alleviate high levels of stress:

    - try and spend a little time outside every day, preferably on grass or dirt, not tar or cement. While you are there do a little deep breathing and catch a few rays. The vitamin D you get from sunshine is essential for your health. And deep breathing switches your nervous system from “fight or flight” mode to “rest, digest and recover” mode. Try taking your early morning cup of coffee or tea outside.

- instead of spending hours scrolling through social media, read a book. It can be a real book or an e-reader. The cognitive engagement from reading a book has been shown to be very relaxing for mind and body.

2.   Avoid Inflammatory Foods

Inflammatory foods like highly processed carbs, fizzy drinks and hydrogenated seed oils can weaken your immune system. When you are planning your meals or grabbing a snack bear this in mind. Choose anti-inflammatory foods like the following:

    - leafy greens and broccoli
    - tomatoes
    - fatty fish like tuna or salmon
    - berries and oranges
    - olive oil
    - nuts (preferably raw and unsalted)

When in doubt, just choose real, whole foods, made yourself from fresh ingredients.

3.   Do Not Over-Exercise

Do not over-exercise. You do need a minimum amount of exercise to stay healthy, but overdoing it will increase your levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. If you fall into the category of over-exercisers, try and add one or two rest days to your week. Rest days don’t have to mean binge-watching TV, but could include some gentle gardening, a chilled nature walk with your children or dogs or a relaxing yoga class.

4.   Get Enough Sleep

Get enough sleep - it is common knowledge that inadequate sleep raises your chances of getting sick. An adult needs 7 or more hours a night, a teenager 8 to 10 and a small child 10 to 14 hours. If you battle to sleep remember to limit your screen time after 7pm. Use a blue light filter to minimize the melatonin (the sleepy hormone) suppressing effects of a screen. Also try and go to bed at the same time each evening and sleep in a very dark room. Regular exercise also helps.

5.   Look After Your Gut Health

Your gut health and your immune system are connected. Good gut health will stand you in good stead for having a strong immune system. We covered all things gut health in this blog post - give it a read.


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