SHAPING UP: How to boost your immune system and ward off winter colds and flu
It’s officially Autumn! The days are getting shorter and you can feel the temperature dropping week by week, which means cold and flu season is just around the corner.
In fact, I know lots of people who’ve picked up colds over the last couple of weeks so it may already be upon us.
So, it’s important to give your immune system a boost to stay healthy and avoid being ill over the Autumn and Winter months.
Sure, the flu jab can help, but here are some natural ways to boost your immune system over the next few months:
Plenty of Exercise
Exercise is one of the most effective ways of preventing a cold. When you work out there is an increase of white blood cells circulating around your body which can improve your body’s ability to fight infection.
If you already have a cold, taking part in some light exercise can help you along on the road to recovery. However, you must take note of your body’s response to the activity. If you feel like you’re straining yourself too much, then it may be a good idea to stop.
When you’re stressed there is an increase in the hormone cortisol. High cortisol levels over a long period of time can lead to a less effective immune system.
Get Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep can be a key contributor to colds and flu because there’s a reduction of infection-fighting antibodies and cells when you’re tired.
So, if you’re feeling a little run down opt for an early night over a Netflix binge.
Drink More Water
Supermarkets are full of health-boosting drinks, but one of the most powerful drinks you can have is water.
Staying hydrated is really important for your immune system, because it helps your kidneys flush toxins out of the body.
Drink Less Alcohol
Drinking alcohol can damage the cells in the body that help the immune system. So, too much alcohol over time can increase the risk of bacterial and viral infections.
A lack of vitamin D can lead to a weak immune system.
Foods like egg yolks, mushrooms, salmon and tuna contain vitamin D, so make sure you include these in your diet. If you don’t eat those foods you could also consider a vitamin D supplement. Choose a supplement that contains D3 (cholecalciferol), because it’s better at raising your blood levels of vitamin D.
Drink Green Tea
Green tea contains a high level of antioxidants, called flavonoids, which have many health benefits, including boosting your immune system.
So, there you go… start incorporating these seven things into your lifestyle to build up your immune system and give your body the best chance of fighting colds and flus over the colder months.