Your immune system is your built in defence mechanism which fights against disease. It is a complex thing consisting of many different cells which all have different rolls and it requires careful balance and harmony to be most effective.
There is still a lot to learn about the immune system. However, recent research suggests that the following lifestyle choices can give your immune system a boost and help you to remain fit and healthy.
- Stop Smoking
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable deaths and illness in the UK. Need I say more. Just Stop.
- Eat A Healthy Diet
Eating, what I call, ‘Real Food’ can seriously improve your health in many ways. Basically, that means eating food as close to its natural form as possible. The less processed the better. Include lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds and you will also help to boost your immune system. These foods are full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals which will help your body fight off disease. The fibre in fruit and vegetables will also help improve your gut microbiome, another way to improve your immune system.
- Improve Your Gut Health
There’s been a lot of talk about gut health, but what’s it all about? Put simply, our gut is made up of trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi collectively known as the microbiome. Together these microbes play a huge roll in our overall health and especially our immune system’s health. So, to boost your gut health I recommend consuming fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi or kefir.
- Exercise Regularly
Of course I am going to be an advocate of exercise, but studies have shown that regular moderate exercise can actually improve your immune system and your overall health. 30 minutes of brisk walking or equivalent a day can make all the difference. On the flip side, highly intense vigorous exercise can damage your immune system. Find your balance.
- Take Vitamin D
Vitamin D is the one vitamin which is difficult to get enough of from diet alone. In the summer we can get all the vitamin D we need from exposure to sunlight without sun protection between the hours of 11am and 3pm. Although, you must take care not to burn. In the winter I would suggest a good vitamin D supplement.
- Get A Good Night’s Sleep
Studies have shown that inadequate or poor quality sleep is linked to a higher susceptibility to becoming sick. Getting a good nights sleep of 7 or more hours per night can help boost your immunity to sickness. Ever noticed how your body wants to sleep when you are ill. This is to help the immune system fight the disease.
- Give Your System A Little Shock
OK, we all know that too much stress is bad for you. However, studies have revealed that a little amount of stress can help to increase the immune cells. A short sharp shock of cold water at the end of your nice warm shower or a small fright that gets your adrenaline pumping is all it takes.
- Minimise Alcohol Intake
The link between excessive alcohol consumption and adverse immune related health such as pneumonia has been well know amongst clinicians for a long time. Recently they have also discovered the link between alcohol consumption and acute respiratory stress syndrome, sepsis, liver disease and certain cancers as well as slower and less complete recovery from infection and physical trauma including poor wound healing.
- Get A Massage
Massage can stimulate the lymphatic system and this can help boost your immune system. Can’t get a professional massage or someone else to oblige, you can massage yourself. A great place to start is with your feet.
- Limit Sugar Intake
Added sugars and refined carbohydrates are linked to overweight and obesity. In turn overweight and obesity are linked to heart disease and type two diabetes, which can weaken the immune system. For maximum health limit your sugar intake to less than 5% of your daily calorie intake. My advise is to start reading food labels, you will be surprised what they add sugar to.