What has become apparent in light of the recent coronavirus pandemic is the importance of looking after our body’s natural immune system. Thankfully there are simple ways in which all of us can take active measures to improve the working capacity of our immune system not just for now but for life.
Here are our top 5 tips:
1. Get a good night’s sleep
We all need our sleep as it’s the time that our body gets to work repairing itself and when the hormone melatonin stimulates new immune cells. Adequate sleep (ideally between 7 and 9 hours) is therefore essential for maintaining a strong immune system.
It helps to foster a regular routine for good sleep patterns and to do activities before going to bed that relax us such as taking a bath, listening to music or reading a book.
Exercise is vital for boosting our immune system and stimulating the lymphatic system to fight germs. Exercise also boosts the levels of serotonin, the ‘happy’ chemical in our brains and oxytocin, important for well-being.
We may not be able to follow our exercise regime of choice at the moment and exercising with others is always more fun but thankfully exercise is still very much possible even in the current climate of being advised to stay in our homes.
There are a multitude of free exercise and wellbeing videos on Youtube which we can tune into from our living rooms and even a half hour daily walk or run carries numerous health benefits.
3. Get Some Fresh Air
As long as we maintain social distancing we can go outdoors for short periods of time to exercise, whether it’s to walk the dog or simply get some fresh air.
Being outdoors and getting some natural sunlight is actually important at this time of year when our vitamin D levels, useful for balancing our immune system, tend to be at their lowest.
Naturally we are all having to restrict time spent out of doors at the moment but even having the windows open to let in fresh air or sitting out in the garden or at an open windows can help us soak up some mood boosting rays.
4. Lower stress levels
Some believe that stress can predispose us to infection and secondly that when we’re stressed we’re less likely to take care of ourselves by eating or sleeping well.
There are various things we can do to reduce our anxiety levels such as taking up yoga, learning to meditate, focusing on a hobby, laughing or in general keeping ourselves busy and distracted.
5. Eat a well-balanced diet and stay hydrated
When we’re stressed or bored we can be tempted to smoke, increase our intake of alcohol or consume processed foods high in fats, sugars and salt. Such habits may make us feel temporarily happier but actually do nothing to assist our health and in fact could impair our immune systems.
Consuming fruit and vegetables rich in vitamin C and phytonutrients are nature’s best natural defence in fighting infection. We know that individually oranges, red peppers, spinach, melons and the like contain vital nutrients….to keep it simple though just preparing a colourful plate of fresh food is an easy, sure fire way of getting a good, balanced mix of such essential minerals.
And if we stay well hydrated too we’ll be giving our bodies the best chance of being able to take care of itself.